There is no bigger promotional engine than the one that ESPN has. Once the folks at the hands of the controls get started, the buzz, brand-building and good will that can be spread to sports fans die hard and casual around the world is almost unparalleled. Yes all the other networks can do it well, but few can reach with every medium on a global level as effectively as ESPN.
So it is with that in mind that I took great interest in the Bowls For Bowls promotion the network launched this week. “The Worldwide Leader” visited Auburn and Florida State with Kenny Mayne and made this simple offer: Receive a bowl haircut for a chance to win bowl tickets. The response was tremendous and a great deal of fun, and the video is growing virally. So the question becomes, what’s next? Well…maybe a lot…of hair anyway.
One of the biggest platforms ESPN works with every year is the V Foundation for cancer research. The recently completed Coaches vs. Cancer events are always huge hits and go a long way to raising dollars and awareness to fight all kinds of cancer. Few platforms have been as successful and as innovative with sports fans and charity. As most know, one of the biggest side effects with cancer is the loss of hair by the patient, and there are countless foundations…Locks For Love, St. Baldricks…that do programs where people shave their heads for loved ones who have cancer, and the hair is donated many times to making wigs or hair pieces for patients.
So why not tie #BowlsForBowls with the V Foundation, and take the program nationally to every school who is involved in any bowl. The Playoff system next year will amp up the casual interest in the Bowls, and every school and promoter of a lesser bowl is looking for a hook. ESPN already televises most of the system, so finding ways to cross promote could be a natural. How about a sponsor? Men’s grooming products are spending more and more in sports, and even customized hair places like “Sports Cuts” are investing in radio to promo their franchises. The payoff for those who do the promo could be tickets or other prizes, and a great way to show support for the school and do some giving back.
It all seems like a great way to flow promotion, charity, and brand building into one, all starting with a highly successful launch done this week.
Maybe BowlsForBowl was a one off..maybe it can be something bigger and grander. It usually starts with a simple idea and then it grows. Just like all that hair.