Sep 01, 2009 at 02:19 PM
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One Good Lesson From Day 1 @ the U.S. Open

Take note wily ambushers: Powerade's endlessly long Venus Williams Zero Ferry up the east river and wretched bus ride to Flushing Meadows (an hour door to door) just goes to prove that it's not the first sponsor message you see, it's the lasting one. Once we finally got there, plenty of tennis to see. Nevermind that fact, we got a chance to look at all of the U.S. Open activations! Rather than talk about them, we figured we'd just show you what we saw through some pictures and video broken down into four categories: Mobile Activations, Just for Fun, Utility and the Remnants. Did we miss something? Which activation do you like the best? Vote at the end for the first annual SponsorPitch sponsorship activation award.

  • Going Mobile

    First... a mobile spin on some old standby's, American Express and Chase. Chase allows you to text to win tickets, the American Express iPhone App will bring live scores and results to your phone and American Express Radio Live lets cardholders pick up a radio that lets them see all the action in their seats, while listening to expert commentary. The radio is cool, but I think Chase wins for simplicity. Consumers simply text the word "WIN" to 24273. Chase will immediately text back to notify them if they've won and direct them to the Web site where they can redeem their tickets.


  • Just for Fun

    Games are fun, but they have to be tied to a a message to be an effective activation. The entries in this category: American Express Rally with a Pro Experience, Mass Mutual's half a racket game and the Continental Tennis Ball Plane. The Amex text to play game was fun - and can't miss - but didn't really say anything. On the other hand, Mass Mutual's half a racket game was annoying, frustrating, F@#%& ... but it got the intended message across: "can you live on half?"


  • Utility

    There's nothing better than a sponsor's product in action, providing a real utility to either fans or the players themselves. Unless one of your major competitors (i.e. Lacoste) has a larger store than you on-site. In this category: Lexus, the official vehicle; Continental Check In to Win; American Express Concierge; Polo, the official clothing; the Heineken Pub, IBM and Citizen Watches.

  • The Remnants

    Finally, you can generally tell the remnant inventory because it's primarily media and some basic activation. That said, Oikos Greek Yogurt and SpongeTech might be laughing all the way to the bank when they break down the spend/media ROI. With that said, how on earth do you make a booth full of sponges sexy?

    Takeaway from Day 1: no matter how clever and cost efficient your ambush is, it can never recreate the power and atmosphere of the live experience. Creative, but constrained gorilla marketers will have a hard time ambushing sponsors that look to add value to that.

    photo credit via Twitter on Continental Airplane: TJ Cohen