Good Ideas: Bald and Blimps

Chuckstrong Gains Strength: It didn’t take long for the Indianapolis Colts to again be back in the national spotlight. From the successful run of Peyton Manning, to a horrific season to the tearful parting with Manning by owner Jim Irsay to the drafting of Andrew Luck to the team’s surprising start, it seems like you can’t really keep Indy down.

However the best story they have woven is the support of coach Chuck Pagano. The fiery Pagano in his first head coaching stint in the NFL has had a much documented battle with leukemia, which has kept him off the sidelines as Indy returned to playoff contention. What of course has made the story so strong is the grassroots support of the Colts and their fans for the stricken coach as he battles back, from the “Chuckstrong” campaign to the recent photos of the team members shaving their head as a sign of unity. It has not had big commercial overtones, it has been very genuine, the kind of appeal that can go even further than large brand campaigns.

Then this week the team  took the fundraising to another level, announcing one of their cheerleaders will shave her head should the team raise raise $10,000 for cancer research. The team’s mascot jumped in with a viral video, and a campaign to reach the casual fan around the world was born. If it happens, the viral effect and the call to action will be immeasurable for the cause.  In addition, brands like Headblade, always looking for an opportunity, or King of Shaves, who has worked on events with athletes around St. Baldricks every spring, are also prime to join in and support. Bald caps as a Colts merchandise item should also not be that far away. It all has to be tasteful and in the spirit of course, but what a great grassroots campaign the team has created for their ailing coach, and for a team that fans now want to root for again.

Good Idea, Goodyear: It’s not easy getting blimp PR. The thing kind of sits up there and delivers its messages and its pictures, but it certainly isn’t sexy or easy to be innovative with. However Goodyear continues to find ways to draw value to its floating marketing icon.

The company is teaming up with ESPN’s SportsNation to allow the fans the opportunity to decide which of this weekend’s college football games will receive aerial coverage from the Goodyear Blimp. Voters can vote on Goodyear’s website or through ESPN’s web portal for one of three games taking place on November 24th — Notre Dame at USC; Michigan at Ohio State; or Florida at Florida State.

Their ‘Blimpworthy’ campaign will let fans be innovative in coming up with ways to drive votes, and the winner will have a series of fun ways to enjoy the blimp as it rises over the gridiron of choice. Usually the blimp is just kind of “there,” now its arrival becomes part of the gameday fanfare, creating an event and a marketing tool for Goodyear that it would not have if it didn’t run the contest. It’s nice to be wanted, whether you are brand or blimp.