Tacos, Sharks and Crickets…

Some best practices and ideas for a weekend…

Take A Base, Get A Taco: Taco Bell has been known to tie their partnerships with professional sports to some outlandish giveaways over the years, some of which they have had demand exceed supply. So this time out for the World Series they placed a bet on a promo that has some risk and some reward, but also one that could slide through the cracks, or at least to a close base.

The chain announced it will give all comers a free Doritos Locos Taco if any player steals a base during the World Series. If the first stolen base occurred during games one through four, the free tacos (one per person) will be given out on Oct. 30 from 2 pm to 6 pm local time at all participating Taco Bell locations (those in San Fran and Detroit included). If the first stolen base occurred during games five through seven, the tacos will be given away on Nov. 5 from 2 pm to 6 pm local time. Taco Bell will support the “Steal a Base, Steal a Taco” promotion with advertising (television, radio, online), social media and public relations. Customers will also be encouraged to share their predictions on when the stolen base will happen, on Taco Bell’s Facebook page. On Twitter, they can join @TacoBell in supporting their favorite baseball players (via their handles) and campaigning for #stealataco.

So what happens, the Giants Angel Pagan swipes second in the eighth inning of Game Two, which led to FOX’s Joe Back proclaiming free tacos almost immediately on the network.  The twitter world immediately went crazy with the added TV boost, with questions that also included a potential date switch for the promo because of the anticipated bad weather in the Northeast early in the week. Will the promotion generate millions of dollars and new customers for the brand? Some but not a great deal of newbies. Will it generate buzz? For sure, that has already happened.

However most importantly Taco Bell found a way to cut through the clutter and create an at-risk promotion that was well timed and well received by consumers. They now get a great bounce when the promotion executes to report numbers given out, which will give the MLB partner additional life away from the ballpark and the World Series itself. Smart and chancy promotion for a brand that likes to run on the edge.

Sharks Try To Ease Pain: The NHL Lockout has negatively affected thousands of businesses across North America, and the partners of the San Jose Sharks found a way to support those businesses on night when hockey was supposed to be played this fall. Content Magazine and Mayberry Workshop created a Sharks Cash Mob on Wednesday Evening, October 24, 2012 at San Pedro Square Market and surrounding downtown San Jose businesses.

A “cash mob” is an event created to support businesses by encouraging people to buy locally and “do a little to do a lot” for the community. The two invited  all Sharks fans and members of the community who want to support downtown businesses to spend their evening at a downtown restaurant or bar on October 24th.  They also supported the event with drawings for Sharks merchandise to serve as a reminder that the community and the team are still united to be a positive influence in San Jose.

The Cash Mob idea came at a time when teams are looking to give added value to those directly affected by the lockout…season subscribers and business partners…but those indirectly effected with no direct stake or spend in the team may not see relief. Those businesses are perhaps even more at risk because the team partners will have something to come back to when the lockout ends. The local businesses? That revenue is gone forever. The promotion found a way to generate good will and revenue and not make dark NHL night as dark in San Jose as they maybe are elsewhere. Good idea with replication.

Cricket In the States? Cricket is the number one sport in four countries that account for over a fifth of the world’s population – India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka – and has strong pockets of popularity across four other continents. The already high levels of interest in cricket means that future growth in mature markets is likely to be organic, so in order to build the ‘bigger, better, global game’ the International Cricket Council is working with a number of partners to find a place for the sport in the United States.

Seem crazy? Some ideas as to why the ICC doesn’t think so. The growing immigrant population in the U.S., especially in urban markets, is from the countries listed, the enjoy follow and understand cricket already. Although not on a domestic carrier yet, ESPN saw record traffic on ESPN3 and on all their mobile channels during the recently-completed World Cup. That traffic was driven from areas across the U.S. vs the rest of the world.

The introduction of an exciting new format of cricket – Twenty20 – combined with the increasing globalization of the sports and media industries and the growing size and influence of the Asian diaspora presents cricket with a much stronger platform from which to target growth in these markets than it has had in the past.

Now in a challenged economy can investors find millions of dollars, build stadia and then attract both brands and casual fans to shorter cricket matches? The TV audience, the digital audience and brand sponsors may be very intrigued if the infrastructure arrives. Plans are for increased activity and education of the game to take place in 2013, and if that is successful, who knows. There are many in Europe scratching their heads as they see the NFL take a stakehold there with the Jacksonville Jaguars, so cricket as a U.S. success may be not that far off, if the deep pockets arrive with the game.