Brands are always trying to find new areas of engagement in the crowded world of team sports. What’s the investment, what’s the ROI and more importantly how can we grow the investment we have already made by annexing new territory or opportunities.
One of the more unique niche engagements around title time is the partnership Werner Ladder has with the NCAA. Every time a men or women’s hoops team climbs to cut down the nets; regional, national and even some conferences, the branded Werner Ladder is there for the cameras, smart phones, video devices to record and share. Given that it is timed right when most people are looking for such items to take outside, it’s a very smart and well timed investment for a company that does not do a great deal into the commercial space.
In the past few years yet another niche celebratory branding opportunity has arisen. Pro and college teams always head to the locker room after the win, and do the dousing of champagne, beer, other carbonated branded drinks for everyone to see, all with the lockers covered to keep the bubbly away and the lockers dry. However with all that dousing and court popping comes the risk of eye injury. So what do teams do? Everyone puts on goggles. First really noticed at the World Series, the same ritual happened at the Super Bowl, the Amare Stoudemires and now the NBA Final in Oakland. Put on the championship hat and tee shirt, grab some branded champagne and put on the protective goggles. Until this point the goggles lacked branding, which could be a big exposure point for a league partner or even a disruptive entrepreneurial brand.
So last night, as LeBron donned the protection, there it was in neon green, Nike…across the side of the goggles. It didn’t matter what shoe people had on…would Steph Curry have grabbed his own Under Armour pair?…they all took the goggles probably without noticing the swoosh and the brand on the side. Now goggles for Nike are not a stretch; they do them for many sports and have made headlines with customized goggles for players like Amare Stoudemire in the past, but to grab that highly visible celebratory space was a great get for the always progressive people with the Swoosh.
Now will other brands follow the lead and grab the goggles big and small for celebrations around the world? We shall see, but the category is now born.