Of Beards, Gekkos And Magazines…

The NHL Playoffs Are Here, So Grow Away: As the NHL Playoffs dawn again, so does the tradition of the unshaven, this year with a twist. It has long been a habit for players not to shave during the playoffs, and in recent years the promotion has been passed along to fans, who can grow their own facial hair for fun and charity, competing team by team. This years USA vs. Canada promotion picked up Just For Men as a natural sponsor, encouraging fans to go unshaven, join together and raise funds to support various charities as their teams advance throughout the playoffs. It is a promo that has grown from the grassroots to the mainstream, and even had the New York Rangers going one better, grabbing Norelco as a sponsor last week to sponsor fans getting one last shave before the playoffs began. With a stronger social media kick than ever behind it, the bearding can probably get even bigger and more mainstream this year, than in the past, riding the strong wave of support the NHL has garnered throughout what has been another strong season.

The Gekko Goes Along For The Ride: It is always interesting to see where the Cavemen and the Gekko for Geico will turn up next, and now it appears the crossover will be more and more for NASCAR. The Gekko made a great visit to Casey Mears garage in Charlotte in a new spot now running across many non-NASCAR platforms. It is a great promo for many reasons…it highlights Mears as a newer face for casual fans, it ties the GEICO brand even closer to NASCAR loyalists, and it opens up even more doors to get the little green guy out and about with a growing number of sports celebrities that fall under the GEICO umbrella. The spot is a little different than GEICO promos in the past, and again shows the value of what a NASCAR team can bring to the table in terms of a wider and more unique scope of partnership.

Family Circle Cup Passes Along Value Again: This past week the Family Circle Cup again made its stop in Daniel Island, South Carolina, in what remains one of the oldest events on the WTA Tour calendar. What makes the stop still so unique is its title sponsor and the ability to use the top tier event as a great activation and pass-through event for all the sponsors of both Family Circle and its current parent company, The Meredith Corporation. For years Family Circle has used the event as a spring stop for advertisers, bringing brands down for a weekend of fun and brand activation. The event’s TV footprint also becomes a showcase for elite brands, such as Dove, to launch activation programs not just around women’s tennis, but for the female and family demo as well. While most media companies will look for more of a broad band approach, Family Circle has chosen to use the annual event as their own pass through activation platform for those who partner with the magazine, an old but very effective way to gauge a corporate calendar. You know every year that this event is yours, in the same place, and build toward it with cross promotion and partnership launch programs for the rest of the year. Managed correctly, this type of event ownership can work very well, although it is somewhat of a dying breed as cost cutting makes such large scale activations more difficult to justify. Regardless, the Family Circle/WTA event is still a great example of textbook activation for an event.