We’ve hired a lot of people over the years and not surprisingly, most were former athletes either at the high school or college level. It seems only natural that an agency that specializes in sports marketing would hire athletes. After all, people tend to work in fields that they have a passion for or some experience in. It might seem counter intuitive, in the technology era, to hire people who spent more time in the gym or on the field than in front of a computer, but sports has a way of preparing people for the realities of the workplace that we find invaluable.
There are many reasons why we hire athletes.
They are resilient. Anyone who plays sports has had to deal with loss, injury, failure, competition and defeat. We tend to learn more from our hardships and mistakes than from our victories and anyone who has competed in sports has learned plenty.
They are focused. Okay, so some are more focused than others, but successful athletes need more than just athletic ability. They must be able to ignore distractions, channel their emotions and focus on the task at hand.
They are team oriented. Athletes understand and appreciate the value of working together to achieve goals. As a small business, we have no choice but to work as a team and like all teams, we are only as strong as our weakest player.
They are committed. If you are going to be successful at something, you need to dedicate yourself to improving your skills (practice) in order to master your craft. I’ve seen a lot of “natural ability” wasted on people who simply take their talent for granted and fail to prepare.
They are competitive. I’ve never, ever met an athlete who enjoyed losing. Competition is healthy and can bring out both the best and worst in people. The business world is a dog eat dog environment and while you don’t always win, you have to compete.
Whatever happened to sex sells? It used to be if you wanted to market something, you put a pretty woman or handsome man in the ad, air-brushed it (that’s like Photoshop to anyone under 40) and blanketed print and TV with as much reach and frequency as you could afford. Pretty people have been used to sell cars, beer, clothes, electronics and even pet food. You name it, sex sold it and still does to a certain extent. Recently, however, I have noticed a distinct trend I like to call, Dogvertising.
While animals have been used extensively in marketing campaigns over the years, lately the advertising world has gone completely to the dogs. Dogs have become the advertising industry’s go to strategy. And I’m not just talking about pet food and supplies. You cannot turn on the TV or your connected device lately and not see dozens of dogs a day in ads for everything from vodka to life insurance. For people in the media business, the old rule of thumb, “Never work with children or animals” has evolved.
Where celebrity pitch dogs like Spuds Mackenzie (Bud Light) and Bullseye (Target) were trendsetters, now we have Rigsbee, Aaron Rogers’ sidekick in all those the State Farm ads who probably has a larger social following than Flo from Progressive or Mayhem from Allstate.
How did we get here and why have dogs become the darlings of the ad world?
As the humanization of pets has exploded over the last two decades, dogs have come to embody the qualities we appreciate in humans but which are sadly lacking in most people. Qualities like joy, humor, enthusiasm, loyalty, companionship and yes, Subaru…even love. Dogs evoke emotion, pure and simple. This holds true whether you’re a middle-aged boomer with a labradoodle or a 25 year old single working woman with a rescue dog.
Our go-go mobile lifestyle has also impacted the way marketers must think. Technology has made our lives simpler and more complicated all at the same time and for all our “connectedness”, we are at times very disconnected from one another. Everything at a distance. People don’t communicate with one another face to face or even voice to voice much anymore. Conversations take place in quickly typed sound bites with no real consequences or emotional context. Our social skills are eroding and we are losing a little bit of our humanity. Dogs offer a safe and welcome alternative to dealing with our friends, co-workers, family or god forbid, the outside world. They make us feel, well…human and that’s what good advertising does.
December 15th by Echo Marketing
We love sports because at its best, sports can exemplify high achievement and success. Sports is a great parable for life itself and there are a number of things one can observe on the athletic field that translate to the classroom, the boardroom or even personal relationships.
There are many intangibles in sports. Above and beyond athleticism, coaching and preparation there are some less obvious factors which can ultimately determine success. Things like desire or heart as it is often referred to cannot be defined by a tape measure or a speed gun. It does not show up on a stat sheet. But you know it when you see it. Chemistry, while scientific by nature, is one of sports many hard to define characteristics when it comes to team sports. It’s not a formula that can be easily duplicated or everyone would. It is instead an amalgam of selflessness, positivity, generosity and sometimes even luck that slow cooks over time to create a strong bond among athletes. How many times have we seen good teams become great and the sum of its parts grow exponentially when athletes come together and buy into the plan. The San Francisco Giants and Kansas City Royals are two excellent and recent examples of great team chemistry and success.
Then there is confidence. Maybe above all else, the most critical element to an athlete’s or team’s success is not only believing you can win, but knowing it. Before the fall, there was perhaps no more confident athlete on the planet than Tiger Woods. Yes, he was skilled. He practiced his craft tirelessly and received the best coaching available. His desire was second to none. The thing that separated him from the rest of the field though was confidence. Every time he stepped between the ropes he expected to win because he knew he could and believed he was the best player out there. For more than a decade he dominated his sport like few before him. He was the man. We knew it. The other players knew it; but most importantly, he knew it. Others hit the ball farther or reached more greens in regulation, but when it came down to winning, nobody did it with more regularity and confidence than the guy in the red Nike golf shirt. For years, he seemingly never missed a putt within 15 feet and as any golfer can tell you, putting is all about confidence.
In terms of team sports, there are few better examples of confidence these days than that being exhibited by the New England Patriots and Golden State Warriors. Sure, both teams are well coached and have excellent players including maybe the best quarterback, Tom Brady and point guard, Steph Curry to ever play the game, but the thing that separates these teams is confidence. Every player on these teams goes into each game knowing they will win. There is no doubt they are better than their opponent and this gives them a decided edge. Some would call this being cocky, but there is a big difference between being cocky and being confident. Cocky talks the talk. Confidence walks the walk. Winning certainly builds confidence and both of these teams are winning with regularity, but I would argue that without supreme confidence these would just be better than average teams.
So whether it is sports or business or simply living life, we can all create success by listening to our coaches, practicing hard, having heart, nurturing chemistry and most importantly, being confident.
Lights. Camera. Action!
December 15th by Echo Marketing
Sports has been the backdrop for numerous films over the years. Some have been among the best films ever committed to celluloid or hard drives as the case may be now. The good ones usually say something about our culture that is so much deeper than sports. They are about family, friendship, commitment, sacrifice, perseverance, hope, dreams, violence and love. They are in short about America which is why I have purposely left out any foreign films or movies about soccer. Here is my current list of the top 10 sports movies of all time.
Bad News Bears – Bad language, bad acting, bad baseball, great story with a ton of heart. Walter Matthau is perfectly cast and the kids are just classic. Doesn’t hurt that I was 12 when this movie came out. I thought it was great then and upon further review, this movie has only gotten better with age.
North Dallas Forty – Fun with a capital “F”. This film takes a less than romantic look behind the scenes of a professional football franchise filled with over the top characters who sacrifice their bodies and play the game for the love of the sport. Probably modeled after the Raiders teams of the 60’s and 70’s.
Brian’s Song – Sure it’s kinda cheesy but the true story of friendship between two remarkable athlete’s is enough to make a grown man weep…every time.
Bull Durham – Quirky, romantic and full of great characters, this movie works on a lot of levels. Kevin Costner actually swings the bat and throws the ball like a baseball player and that authenticity holds the whole thing together.
Rocky – I never get tired of the loser makes good story line and Sylvester Stallone created an iconic character that will forever live in the hearts and minds of movie goers. America was in the dumper when this film came out and I think the theme song alone gave people a sense of hope.
Breaking Away – While not your typical sports film, this is one of the truly great movies of the 70’s. A beautiful script, great performances and a killer cast make this one shine even 35 years later.
Field of Dreams – Anyone who loves baseball, loves this movie because it taps into the pure and romantic notion of the great American game. Nostalgic and heartfelt, this film proved that if you make a good movie, they will come to see it.
The Pride of the Yankees – Gary Cooper played Lou Gherig in this Classic film about one of the greatest athletes in American history. Filmed shortly after Gherig’s death from ALS, the film even includes a cameo by Babe Ruth. Another tear jerker!
Hoosiers – An epic tale about a team of destiny that perfectly captures small town America and the spirit of high school sports. Gene Hackman is typically great. Dennis Hopper steals the show and the kids look like they were transported directly from the 1950s.
Raging Bull – Take a great story about a flawed hero. Shoot it in highly contrasted black and white with Scorsese at his technical peak. Mix in DeNiro, Pesci and a few other good fellas and BAM….Pure magic. The fight scenes are brutal poetry and the story is Shakespearean tragedy from start to finish. Never get tired of watching this one. Okay I left a bunch out, so sue me or better yet, write your own damn list. This is America after all.