Champ, Champ! Are you an online sports marketer looking for ways to help your brand or activations? 1920’s-style reporter, Scoops Callahan, is a great example to learn from. Scoops Callahan is a legitimate journalist, played by Tom Gribble of The Ticket (1310 AM) in Dallas, who transforms otherwise ordinary press conferences into viral content by adding a historical angle to his questions.
Scoops Callahan has captured remarkable sound bites with superstar athletes such as Wayne Gretzky, Roger Clemens, Peyton Manning, Kobe Bryant, and Lebron James, just to name a few. He has also been caught on film interviewing Tom Brady, Mack Brown, Sidney Crosby, David Beckham, and most recently, received a spike in fame by asking Lakers Head Coach, Phil Jackson, his very last press conference question. Here is a compilation of some of Scoop’s best work:
So how does a guy who has his credentials and legitimacy questioned by Ernie Johnson and Greg Popovich, respectively, get away with this brilliant marketing? Scoops Callahan accomplishes this by fitting into the regular sports marketing schema by being an actual journalist and producer of a popular sports radio show, but adds a differentiating twist.
In his book, Differentiate or Die, Jack Trout warns of the growing lack of differentiation that is accompanying the exploding spread of products and product categories. Sports marketers are well aware that competing entertainment options, in and out of sports, are poaching valuable customer segments. In order to combat this, Trout argues that marketers must build their brand with a “Unique Selling Proposition” if they want to survive. Here are some steps Trout offers:
1. Make sense in context. What you really want to get is a quick snapshot of the perceptions that exist in the mind.
2. Find the differentiating idea. You have to be unique and one of a kind and find something that separates you from the competitors.
3. Have credentials: Be able to demonstrate your product’s difference.
4. Communicate your difference. Change the perceptions of the consumer.
Scoops Callahan does a masterful job of accomplishing this. With little to no marketing dollars, the 1920’s reporter has created content that has garnered hundreds of thousands of viral video views and earned a 90 to 1 followers to following ratio on Twitter. Riding the extra attention from his Phil Jackson “interview”, Scoops Callahan also started a Facebook fan page last week. It will be interesting to see if this humor will translate to social media and if The Ticket will be able to leverage Facebook as an additional low-cost marketing channel. If you check out the Facebook page, note the uncanny resemblance between Scoops’ logo and Online Sports Marketing Guy’s logo – handsome fellow.
But I digress….
Differentiating seems like an obvious goal, but why is it then, that I see every fan wearing the same-colored shirt, swinging towels, and clapping thundersticks at every NBA Playoff game? Teams within leagues are becoming less and less differentiated from each other exactly as Jack Trout warned at the turn of the millennium. I’ll never forget the horror I experienced when I heard the Black Eyed Peas’ “Let’s Get It Started” within the sacred walls of Arrowhead Stadium; a football shrine that was always known for classic rock before everything became so commercialized.
The closest thing the major sports leagues have left to differentiating ideas are found in minor league baseball. I have heard about several minor league baseball promotions being criticized nationally in the news for their wackiness and distraction from the game, but executives on these teams know that they stand no chance of putting butts in seats without differentiating.
If you are looking for marketing help for a major sports brand, you have the resources to take a risk and create something really special. The marketplace is becoming more crowded by the day, and “being the only game in town” is no longer going to sustain your position, much less grow it.
If you are working on a niche brand, the digital space has made it possible for anybody to create a differentiating idea that gets noticed. Take advantage of this and grab your piece of the sports market share.
If your online sports marketing efforts are trapped in the 1920’s, take note from the 1920’s sports reporter, Scoops Callahan.