During times of crisis, marketing teams are forced to rethink strategies. In this series, we examine how brand leaders across the sports industry are responding to new consumer patterns and quickly shifting social strategies to connect with their target audiences around the world.
Sometimes, the best ideas come unexpectedly.
Jared Gaon, creator of the latest internet sensation, Jordan Jamming – was watching Episode 10 of ‘The Last Dance’ when an idea sparked his mind. Inspired by a scene where Michael Jordan is jamming out to his Walkman in the back of a Chicago Bulls’ bus – Jared Gaon pulled the footage and edited different songs over it.
From Drake to Natasha Bedingfield songs, the comical account took off and gained over 8,000 followers overnight, reported ESPN. In under two weeks, the account gained 51k followers (and counting).
Social media fans are also sharing this content via #JordanJamming, demonstrating the power of user-generated content (UGC) and word-of-mouth.
Taylor Made: #DrivingRelief
Golfers Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson took on Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff in golf brand TaylorMade’s #DrivingRelief, a low-key skins match that raised $5.5 million for pandemic relief.
Farmers Insurance: #CrowdControl
To announce the TaylorMade Driving Relief, Rickie and his wife, Allison Stokke Fowler, recorded a humorous Farmers Insurance ad titled ‘Crowd Control’ in their backyard.
Miami Heat: #HeatNationUnited
Pro basketball team, Miami Heat unveiled a COVID-19 resource center on the NBA website and engages fans via various hashtags, including #HeatNationUnited and #HeatCulture.
Spurs basketball player Patty Mills teamed up with 8 local coffee shops for a Mother’s Day fundraiser, #GiveMamaCoffee, supporting the Family Violence Prevention Services and the Battered Women and Children’s Shelter. Mills doubled the number of total merchandise sales to give back to the organizations.
Athletes and ESPN personalities are sharing their love and longing for sports in #dearsports – which ESPN beautifully highlights on-site.
ESPN released The Last Dance, a docuseries that averaged 5.6 million viewers within the same day. Now the most-viewed content in ESPN history, the 10-part series features Michael Jordan and the 1997 and ’98 Chicago Bulls – his last season with the team.
Athletic brands, Nike, Jordan, and Gatorade benefited from the documentary with re-airings of historical commercials and close shots of Jordan’s shoes. This exposure alone was more valuable than the usual jersey patch mid-game – with Nike gaining $487,000 worth of brand exposure from its swoosh logo appearing 80 times in one episode alone.
State Farm: Deep-fake ad
To promote ESPN’s docuseries, State Farm produced a remarkable ad using deep-fake technology – cleverly ‘predicting’ The Last Dance in 2020. “At first, it looked like a flashback to SportsCenter in 1998, recalling the Bull’s run. But, about 10 seconds in, something felt different. It was brilliant, stop-in-your-tracks advertising,” shares Doug Zanger.
Sports leagues unite: #TheRealHeroes
Fourteen professional sports leagues – including the NFL, Nascar, the Women’s Tennis Association, and Electronic Arts – partnered up to bring #TheRealHeroes project to life.
The campaign features pro athletes replacing the name on their jerseys, racing suits, or polos with that of a frontline medical worker’s. The athletes will break into a standing ovation in a two-minute video, which was recorded and pieced together remotely from the athletes’ homes.
We will update this list as the future unfolds. If you spot a campaign worth mentioning below, please share it with us on social or via e-mail at email@example.com.