The Winter Olympics have always been a challenge to draw attention in the run up to the games, and this year in the US, given the crowded marketplace and the fact that the Games are in South Korea, the buzz seems to be even less so thus far. Still early, but it is a little quiet.
So bravo to the creative folks at USA Bobsled and Skeleton, who brought us a sponsored “Colbert Report” sled in the past and always seem to have some of the best crossover storytellers at least going into the Winter Olympics, to find a no lose publicity play in early October, just as baseball turns into the postseason.
This week, USA Bobsled and Skeleton, invited “The Freeze” to one of its training camps, On Thursday, the organization revealed it recruited the famous Atlanta Braves groundsman Nigel Talton, who became an Internet sensation for racing fans at games while wearing a sky blue bodysuit and ski goggles, and invited him to rookie push training camp. The Freeze ran for Iowa Wesleyan University and joined the Braves grounds crew in 2012, but became an internet sensation this summer for his blistering speed around the warning track in Atlanta, right up until, alas, he lost. Still “The Freeze” was one of the brightest promotional lights for MLB this past year and extending that window into the winter, at least for the tryout, creates great buzz for both the NGB and for the Braves into a quiet offseason.
It’s a really solid and creative awareness play for a sport which needs the exposure, and can lead to a nice bounce for some of its elite athletes as well. Little risk, high reward and well-played for all.