Campbell’s Connects With Grassroot Tribes

Thursday, November 27th, 2008

Campbell’s Chunky Soup brand is launching a new initiative, Chunky MVC, that activates local participation.

Campbell’s Chunky soup brand and the Coaching Association of Canada have teamed up to honour Canada’s coaches with a new campaign that asks athletes, parents and community members to nominate coaches for the Chunky MVC title: Most Valuable Coach.

The company will accept entries at until late January, when four finalists will be chosen. TSN, Campbell’s media partner, will then create spots featuring the finalists and ask consumers to vote for a winner online.

 As mentioned by David Allard, a Sr. Brand Manager at Campbell’s:

“We wanted something that was going to allow us to connect with consumers,” he said. “Coaches play an important role for a lot of consumers, and often they are the unrecognized heroes behind the sport.”

“Everyone seems to have a story of coach who inspired them,” he added, noting that the coaching initiative is an evolution of Campbell’s past sponsorship of grassroots sports programs, as well as big leagues like the NHL, the NFL and the most recently the CFL.

The initiative should also remind consumers of the soup’s nutritional value, he said. “Chunky is known for being a hearty soup,” said Allard. “Its relationship with sports reinforces that it is hearty as a product.”

I think this is a very smart move and I congratulate Campbell’s for identifying the tribes that exist in communities across the country.  By infusing Tribal Elements into their marketing strategy, Campbell’s has found an effective way to connect with and support these tribes.  The next step is for Campbell’s to seriously consider developing a Tribal Strategy.

Combining Tribes: Harley-Davidson and Milwaukee Brewers Do It Right

Monday, November 24th, 2008

As I blogged earlier, it is a good idea to seek opportunities to combine tribes.  Another example I came across is the partnership between H-D and the Milwaukee Brewers.

A big part of the renovation of Miller Park is the addition of a Harley-Davidson Deck.

The focal point of the deal is construction of the Harley-Davidson Deck, to be located beyond left-centerfield. Slated to open prior to the 2009 season, the deck will seat up to 42 people and feature actual Harley motorcycles built into the structure.

A new entry gate-called “Gate H-D” and a motorcycle-exclusive parking lot are two other amenities included in the deal.

The partnership goes beyond branding assets and includes ticketing opportunities.

The two Milwaukee mainstays also have a joint ticket plan in the works. Under the proposed plan, they will team up to offer ticket packages that include game tickets and admission to Harley’s new museum.

Members of the Harley Owners Group will receive discounted tickets to the Harley Deck. The deck will be used for both groups and individuals, depending on the game date. H.O.G members will also be able to use Gate H-D and the parking lot.

This is one of the best examples I have seen of two organizations looking at their tribes and determining how to support them in their passions.  The real win-win will be when a member of the Harley tribe and a die-hard fan of the Brewers sees the results.

Harley owner and Milwaukee resident Michael Reynolds is enthusiastic about the merger.

“Being a Brewers fan, I’m happy to see the two interact,” Reynolds said. “I go to Miller (Park) a few times a year.”

“I think it’ll be successful,” he said. “Those are two huge attractions. It’ll be fun to see what they do with this.”

There will be nothing better for Michael than riding his Harley to the Brewers game, parking in a designated lot and enjoying the game from the Harley Deck - at a discounted price of course.

Nike - Gutsy Cricket Ad

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

I came across this great ad by Nike on Indian cricket as part of their national campaign. Launched in early 2007, this is a perfect example of how a tribal approach enabled Nike to really understand what it means to be a cricket fan in India - you play hard , you play to win and you play wherever you can - after all that’s just good cricket!

The ad was done by JWT India . You can read more about the ad and the results on the Coffee and Donuts blog.

Seth Is Right!

Friday, November 14th, 2008

As I was reading Seth Godin’s blog I came across a post made on January 30th, 2008 on Tribal Management.  The one line in that post that caught my attention was the following:

People form tribes with or without us. The challenge is to work for the tribe and make it something even better.

From our experience meeting dozens of marketers and brand managers, this is the one major misconception many people have about tribes.  It is not something that can be built - they naturally form.  It is up to the organization how to strategically tap into and support the tribe. 

Unfortunately, as Seth mentions, that means that the days of the brand manager leading the charge are over.  Your brand is defined and driven by your tribe.  The brands that manage the tribes well will be the ones that prosper in the future.

I recommend reading Seth’s entire post.

Social Media Sites - Should I Build or Rent?

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

Operation Sports is a leading online community dedicated to sports video game enthusiasts.  As a member of the community myself, I got an email announcing the launch of their own social media site called the OS Arena.

As soon as you login you’ll immediately gain access to:

  • your own customizable trading card
  • stats tracking and your own OVR (Overall Rating)
  • your own blog
  • friends lists
  • video albums for all of your videos from EA Sports World, 2K Sports Community, Youtube etc.
  • screenshot albums
  • comments and messages on your chalkboard
  • customizable backgrounds allowing you to give your Arena its own unique style
  • your own unique address at

And this is just the beginning. Over the coming months we will be adding exciting new features designed to expand your sports gaming experience.

This brings up the question about whether or not an organization should try to build its own social media site (as it is in this case) or tap into existing media such as Facebook or MySpace.  The answer is, it depends. 

In this case I think it made sense for OS to go ahead and build their own since they have become a key online rallying point for the sports gaming tribe:

  • Operation Sports has been around for about 10 years and they have built up a substantial member base (There are almost 800 member online at this moment)
  • OS focuses on a specific interest, thus they quickly became the number one destination for enthusiasts.
  • The existing site already had very active discussion forums thus enabling them to more safely take this risk

A critical mistake many make is building the tool before understanding whether or not it is relevant for your tribe.  Often times using existing media may be more appropriate.  Ultimately, you truly need to understand your tribe before proceeding.

In Game Advertising - Could Be The Best Advertising Vehicle Available

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008

I still remember early attempts at in game product placement and advertising in the game Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory.  In that game, you can read virtual AXE body spray billboards and see AXE products displayed in bathrooms throughout the game.  The subsequent Splinter Cell: Double Agent game had Nivea for Men products.

I agree with what is said in this article, the key is to make advertising seamless and a part of the action:

“It has to be organic and seamless,” said Jeffrey Dickstein, digital advertising sales director for video game designer Ubisoft, which integrated a Dyson vacuum into a CSI game, targeting women over 35 who were avid fans of the TV show.

The prospect of in game advertising should get any marketer excited.  Video games provide a key attribute rarely found in any other media; interactivity.  Where else can someone drive a 3D rendered Ford Mustang? or power up on a can of Pepsi from a virtual vending machine?

Of course, certain genres such as sports or realistic locations such as a subway station are easier to integrate ads into than fantasy or sci-fi titles.

The possibilities are bound by the creativity of the agency and the game developer.  Although games should not be centred around advertising, building sponsorship and product placement opportunities should be in the minds of both developers and marketers.