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.
Then of course you had the thousands in Moet Champagne sprayed all over the Warriors locker room Monday night, which got the brand high price tag exposure to offset the cost of the pricey bubbly.
However 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, and the Final Four and the Stanley Cup Finals, and now full circle in Oakland. Put on the championship hat and tee shirt branded by adidas, grab the 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.
Last year, as LeBron James 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…they all took the goggles probably without noticing the swoosh and the brand on the side. Now goggles from 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.
This year; Nothing. Is it because of Steph Curry and his Under Armour deal and the need to avoid the Swoosh? Last year during the playoffs for MLB, a broad Oakley logo came up on the side of the goggles. At Oracle Arena, a clean view with just a tad of neon.
Now while it helps to make the goggles and there are any number of brands that do, that doesn’t mean that the category could be sponsored by someone else…how about Bausch and Lomb for eye care? With microcameras being dropped in everywhere, how about a tech company to provide giggle view at the celebration? This year it was expensive bubbly and nary a brand.
Don’t count on it staying that way, as those goggles were an attention grabber. Who grabs the territory if Nike doesn’t? Worth watching.