TRANSLATING EMOTION, TRANSFORMING SPONSORSHIP
Team Epic is a sponsorship & lifestyle marketing partner to iconic brands
activating the biggest sports and entertainment properties.
IBM Tony Award’s Watch Party
Challenge or Insight:Utilizing proprietary social listening techniques, Team Epic identified two key insights about theatre aficionados: 1) there is a strong desire to share their Tony Awards viewing experience with others, and 2) to do so within either a physical and digital community where they could all come together under one umbrella. From these insights, #WatchPartyIBM was born. Team Epic acted as the driving force behind IBM, The Broadway League, and other partners to create the first ever official Tony Awards watch party.
Idea:The event consisted of a VIP experience for 29 key social influencers (and their guests), hand selected from the online intersection of theatre and technology. We fulfilled their desire to come together to enjoy the show, and hosted the event from a gorgeous NYC penthouse with incredible views overlooking New York City. We further supported their digital influence by inviting them to share their experience with their vast social communities utilizing the event hashtag. As part of the evening’s offering, Team Epic delivered unique activations to enhance the experience and encourage social content sharing including: a 360 ̊ “selfie” video utilizing the OrcaVue system, a digital caricature artist bringing guests to life within their favorite Playbill, a photo opportunity with an actual Tony Award, interactive Tony themed games and contests awarding signed Broadway memorabilia. Also included was premium, tech inspired food and delicious signature drinks. Following the live broadcast, as the punctuation to the VIP experience, guests were transported to the Tony Awards Gala at the Plaza Hotel to rub shoulders with the stars.
Impact:The results surpassed expectations; the event generated 850 total conversations from over 500 unique users equating to nearly 27 million potential impressions. Seven influencers were also interviewed for IBM’s Game Changers video content series which will allow for the conversation to continue online, expanding the life of the event beyond the four hour broadcast window.
FedEx/NFL “Air & Ground”
Challenge or Insight:When FedEx became our client in 1993, the company was dominated by its Express Air service. However, it’s no longer simply the company that delivers “absolutely, positively, overnight” but rather it competes in a highly complex environment that includes Express, Ground, Freight, and International delivery services and it owns and operates the FedEx Office retail network.
Idea:The foundation of the FedEx sponsorship portfolio is the NFL. FedEx needed a breakthrough promotional program that reinforced the leadership position of its two primary brands FedEx Express (overnight air delivery) and FedEx Ground, would resonate with fans and be relevant for years to come. Our rationale for selecting the NFL was driven by research identifying it as the most popular sport for FedEx’s key targets, and we were convinced the Air & Ground platform we created would allow us to develop programming that was highly relevant to our business (Express & Ground) and it corresponded perfectly with the attributes of passing and rushing so important in football. Team Epic worked with FedEx to ensure that the Air & Ground campaign was fully integrated within almost every aspect of its business by utilizing a through-the-line channel activation approach which included Air & Ground weekly player voting programs, content development, social media programming, local market events, retail promotions, themed user group promotions, an aggressive PR outreach program…and more. And as the business needs of FedEx have evolved we have refined programming that has elevated the brand, generated revenue, impacted key markets and promoted new services.
Impact:The Air & Ground campaign has generated billions of impressions, tens of millions of dollars in incremental revenues, themed campaigns that are 5-7 times more effective than similar non-themed promotions, and has impacted hundreds of thousands of VIP customers. And while a business success for FedEx, the campaign has consistently been named by the Promotional Marketing Association (PMA) as one of the most effective long term campaigns in the industry
Head & Shoulders – Season of the #Whiff
Challenge or Insight:In the past, consumers perceived Head & Shoulders as a medicinal shampoo with an unpleasant scent. Using Head & Shoulders’ partnership with Major League Baseball (MLB), the goal was to shift consumer perception and establish Head & Shoulders as a handsome scented, multi-benefit men’s hair care option for everyday use.
Idea:Head & Shoulders’ fundamental goal was the creation and implementation of an MLB season-long program that drove awareness, consumer engagement and trial of Head & Shoulders with the Handsome Scent of Old Spice. Our solution was Head & Shoulders Season of the #Whiff – a Twitter based program encouraging fans to tweet #Whiff with their favorite MLB club's Twitter handle to earn monthly donations for their local community's youth baseball program. This strategy allowed Head & Shoulders to extend its League sponsorship down to the individual team level without having to secure individual team partnerships, which ultimately added significant scale to the program. We also sought to leverage Major League Baseball digital and social channels to grow Head & Shoulders Twitter following from 2,000 to 50,000 + followers.
Impact:To date, Head & Shoulders has added over 50,000 followers to the H&S Twitter account and generated nearly 8 billion media impressions since the start of the program in 2013. When compared to the amount of strikeouts during the season, at its peak, #Whiff was tweeted an average of 73 times each time a strikeout occurred during a Major League Baseball game. As a result, MLB’s premier youth initiative, and primary Season of the #Whiff recipient, Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) has benefited greatly from #Whiff generated donations. The program’s overwhelming engagement has delivered – over 662,000 unique contributors, 4.3 million mentions and over $500,000 donated to RBI… and counting.
Challenge or Insight:FedEx, a Team Epic client since 1993, was looking for dynamic new ways to demonstrate the relevance of FedEx shipping services to millennial consumers - a target audience which takes shipping for granted as a free commodity. Team Epic paired FedEx with EA SPORTS to launch their flagship video game, Madden NFL 16, in the “most talked about” manner ever done.
Idea:In order to make FedEx deliveries remarkable and share-worthy, Team Epic executed a simple, fan-focused surprise and delight campaign for 800 highly influential millennial “super fans.” In what became known on social media as “Christmas Morning,” FedEx delivered advance copies of Madden NFL 16 to each “super fan” a week before the game was available to the public. Each FedEx package was customized with FedEx/Madden messaging and the hashtag #FedExDeliversMadden which quickly lit up the social airways as every Madden gamer rejoiced when they received their package – or waited anxiously in the hope that FedEx would deliver to them. FedEx and EA stoked the fires with social intercepts and promoted “unboxing videos” using Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. Once in action, truck-spotting and FedEx anticipation soared. Fans created their own memes and were actively sharing posts of FedEx trucks they saw driving down streets. Fans were actively wishing for FedEx and - only FedEx - to deliver to them.
Impact:This initiative sparked an “OMG Phenomenon” around Madden and FedEx, generating 1,300 organic conversations in the first 36 hours for a combined 14 million impressions. FedEx’s fan engagement across Instagram and Twitter with custom responses resulting in above average engagement rates of over 5% and created a personal connection with 800 gamers who will never think of another priority shipper.
TOYOTA in NASCAR
Challenge or Insight:In 2007, with limited marketing and activation options due to competitor exclusivity and facing a fan base fiercely loyal to domestic manufacturers, Toyota tapped Team Epic to help navigate its entry into NASCAR’s top series. From that point on Team Epic has worked side by side with Toyota, creating a strategic and sustainable marketing platform focused on creating innovative consumer programs and partnerships that amplify the brand via relevant and memorable engagement.
Ideas:Over the past 10 years, this strategy has led Toyota and Team Epic to a number of groundbreaking and “industry-first” accomplishments within the sport, including:
- The first manufacturer to pace an entire NASCAR Sprint Cup race with both a hybrid (Camry) AND a zero emissions vehicle (Mirai)
- Progressive track partnerships providing Toyota unparalleled access to fans across the US
- Toyota Owners Hospitality – debuting in 2008, a complimentary hospitality experience just for owners that has hosted over 75,000 owners to date
- The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota Owners 400 – created in 2013, the first major event entitlement of its kind, solely focused on celebrating owners
Impact:Toyota is no longer an outsider in what still is a very domestic sport – they lead from the front. Fan consideration for Toyota is now commensurate to domestic manufacturers and the motorsports program permeates into every facet of Toyota’s US operations.
AT&T at the 2015 CMA Music Festival