Today’s sports landscape is more intertwined with mainstream culture than ever before, providing extensive storytelling opportunities on and off the field. We know that relationship building across an ecosystem of reporters, sponsors, properties and fans is the fuel that will bring these stories to life in a massive sea of sports headlines.
Allison+Sports is a sports marketing specialty that leverages deep media relationships and works collaboratively with brands' existing marketing operations to drive communications value. The specialty works with brands’ existing and planned sports sponsorships, athlete and celebrity endorsements and other marketing relationships to deliver integrated marketing strategy and execution, using an earned-first lens.
OUR TEAM EXPERIENCE AND CASE STUDIES
The Allison+Sports team is a group of storytellers who are connected across the sports landscape.
When the news broke in December that a COVID-19 vaccine had been authorized for emergency use, Budweiser scrapped its existing Super Bowl plans and decided to take action to help support vaccine awareness and education. For the first time in 37 years, Budweiser decided to forego its iconic in-game Super Bowl airtime and reallocate its significant ad media spend to help support vaccine awareness and education through a partnership with the Ad Council and COVID Collaborative’s COVID-19 Vaccine Education Initiative.
Budweiser launched its Super Bowl LV campaign with a moving film entitled “Bigger Picture,” that ran digitally in the weeks leading up to the game, but pressed pause on game day to stay true to our decision to sit out. The film, narrated by actress, writer and advocate Rashida Jones, celebrates the individual acts of resilience that sparked hope during a trying year and spotlights a group of first responders who were among the first people to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. The film ends with an announcement that Budweiser would sit out the Super Bowl to reallocate its advertising funds to COVID-19 vaccine awareness and education in 2021.
Budweiser’s decision not to run an ad during the Super Bowl and instead make a multimillion-dollar commitment to COVID-19 vaccines awareness and education is a message that resonated with both media and consumers. Virtually every media outlet took notice, with coverage of our message resulting in more than 32.1 billion earned media impressions, the most of any Budweiser Super Bowl campaign ever. Consumer engagement was equally strong with over 75 million views of the film, with a video completion rate of 25%, and 668K social mentions, the most ever for any Budweiser campaign. The campaign succeeded in changing public perception and generated a 3.2% lift in consumer likelihood to get vaccinated. Numerous news outlets declared that Budweiser “won Super Bowl” and called “Bigger Picture” their #1 pick in Super Bowl ad roundups. All this, without a single second of airtime.
Aflac chose to partner with Coach Deion “Prime” Sanders for the 2021 college football season to elevate their shared commitment of supporting HBCU’s and communities of color. Aflac has a long history of supporting HBCUs on and off the field and felt a partnership with Coach Prime provided a greater platform for HBCU awareness with college football. Coach Prime stands in the gap for those who need greater support and connects them with the institutions who can provide it; Aflac stands in the gap every day for policyholders with unexpected medical bills that health insurance doesn’t cover.
To launch Aflac’s partnership announcement with Coach Prime, the A+P team secured an exclusive with the Associated Press that was syndicated to 171 media outlets, totaling 370+ million impressions. It included direct links back to the company’s advertisements and message pull-through rarely seen in a top-tier syndicated media outlet. Later that day, the agency secured four consecutive media interviews for Coach Prime to plug the company with high-visibility media across different mediums.
To date, the campaign has garnered more than 1.5 billion earned media impressions with key stories in ESPN, Sports Illustrated, Fox Sports 1, FoxSports.com, Ad Age, Sports Business Journal and numerous other top tier sports outlets.
Hot off the heels of the first-ever Groupon Day the Allison+Partners team led in December, the team was tasked with helping Groupon hack the Super Bowl and again insert the brand into the cultural conversations and showcase the company’s experiences marketplace.
The brand’s “Party Like a Player” campaign was a partnership between Groupon and NFL legend Rob Gronkowski that included an over-the-top Big Game party experience at the player’s home for a winner and their friends on February 13. This was an exciting campaign but logistically challenging with different versions of the communication plan, ad creative, and press materials needed to allow for 2 scenarios: Gronk being in or out of the Big Game, and our team needed to be ready to launch on several different dates.
Working against a variety of different scenarios, our team developed a strong media relations strategy that allowed us to book our talent interviews under embargo and pitch weeks in advance to top-tier media. As a result, we were able to secure back-to-back interviews with the 2.5 hours we had of Gronk’s time – with USA Today, TMZ Sports, Fox Sports, Yahoo! Sports, ABC Audio, and ESPN, among others. We were also on the ready with materials over the weekends as needed until January 23 when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were defeated, and Gronk was out of the game, allowing us to officially launch on January 24.
In an era when news cycles move at the speed of fastballs, it’s difficult to fully capture the impact of sports-focused earned media campaigns. Is that ESPN story a game-winning hit or does it leave the brand stranded on first?
Just like a typical margin of victory is irrelevant so long as your team wins, the era of feeling fuzzy about billions of impressions has passed. Let Allison+Sports pitch-hit with its strategic data and insights tool, the Earned Performance Scorecard. You may just end up putting us in the starting lineup. Here’s how it works:
- SCOUTING REPORT:
The Earned Performance Scorecard aligns the field by diagnosing best-in-class sports campaigns to serve as performance benchmarks. Think of these as the retired-number banners you look up to, hung in the arena rafters.
- FILM STUDY: We’ll review the tape to study your most recent campaign successes and areas for growth by score and rank. Think money-ball for your brand, but we’ll make sense of the numbers, so we know where to aim.
- WINNING PLAYBOOK: Finally, we’ll bring the team together to turn the final Scorecard into a winning Playbook. All hands in the middle, armed with a plan for your brand to reach and clinch the title with an actionable plan based on data and insights.
History is on the side of athletes, teams and coaches who consistently deliver exceptional results because they know exactly who they are and what they are good at. Allison+Sports is the best earned media team on the planet. Let’s build your legacy together and aim at the arena rafters.
our approach to an integrated sponsorshipWhether you have existing sponsorships that you want to expand, or are just looking to enter the sponsorship fold, we have the tools to guide you through the process. We take a data-first approach to recommend sports and properties that align with your target audience, and work collaboratively with partners to select assets and negotiate a package that will impact all marketing channels. We know that properties tend to focus heavily on in venue assets, but we'll work to ensure an integrated story is told across all touchpoints. We believe partnership is at the core of any good sponsorship relationship, and we want to help you craft a unique role for your brand that gives you authenticity in the space.
We kick off 2023 Allison+Sports interviewing Mack Hollins, current Wide Receiver for the Las Vegas Raiders!
We discuss NFL playoffs picture and road to the Super Bowl, his first season in Vegas, being a Special Olympics ambassador, dream brands he'd love to work with and why, and of course, snakes..