It is now the dog days for most indoor sports like hockey and hoops, so keeping fans at any level engaged in a long season with mixed results is always a challenge. So bravo once again to Northwestern and Georgetown, two programs which continue to generate buzz with some fun repeat promos.
First there are the Wildcats, who last year staged their social media night and rolled out emoji laden t-shirts of their squad as they headed toward their date with March Madness destiny for the first time. This year the school will go the alumni route, featuring a tee this week with some of the prominent media stars who have grabbed degrees from Evanston. Great collectable, great fun and great extension of the brand to have such big names sharing the images on social.
Then you have the rebounding Hoyas under Patrick Ewing who will be going with an “Actual Reality (AR) Seating Section” at the Jan. 20 game against St. John’s at Capital One Arena.
The AR section is the latest from the uber creative assistant athletics director for marketing Chris Grosse, who has championed Hail to Kale Night, Millennial Day and several other events that are social worthy and filled with creative fun and no downside.
Fans have to pick up paper tickets at will call, drop their mobile devices, and wear name tags to encourage conversation with others in the section. Polaroid photo and letter-writing stations will also be present to document the night and then…maybe…share those images once you leave the building.
Do either of these promos have a hard cost? Not really. Do they expand the brand and help get both schools some creative notes where they may not have? Absolutely. Do they show that no one is asleep at the switch in trying to drum support and get some butts in the seats? No doubt.
Now there are a host of schools doing the traditional to fill distressed inventory and garner success. What Northwestern and Georgetown do well is find and exploit an old fashioned story telling niche to a larger audience. That’s not easy given the grind of a long winter season, but it is fun and generates ROI on the idea vs. the investment. That resonance helps amplify all the stakeholders and shows all involved that those responsible are always looking for an extra, and in crowded markets like Chicago and DC, extra get the reward.
Nice job by both, hopefully more to come!