05/23/22: The Famous Group talks about its marketing innovations

 

Medias First Morning Read

 

Monday May 23, 2022

Last week saw Chipotle make a big entrance during the Colorado Avalanche’s second round Stanley Cup Playoff series against the Blues at Ball Arena in Denver. Teaming up with The Famous Group, the award-winning fan experience technology company, the brand debuted a new mixed-reality ad that made history as the first time the NHL leveraged mixed-reality technology for broadcast viewers. The move continues a string of recent innovations from The Famous Group, such as the giant mixed-reality panther that pounced throughout the stadium for the Carolina Panthers.

In this case, during the game’s second intermission, a Chipotle branded Zamboni pushed out a giant burrito bowl and fork to the middle of the rink before a giant hockey glove burst through the ice, grabbed the bowl, and submerged itself back under the ice. Cynopsis Sports spoke with Jon Slusser, Owner & Partner at The Famous Group, about the activations and his company’s approach to marketing.

Slusser on his approach to the marketplace: Engaging the live audience, in venue or on broadcast, and reaching new fans is increasingly reliant on technology, and so our business has changed dramatically over the past decade from a traditional production company into what we call a “creative technology” company. Whether that’s mixed reality, projection mapping or video streaming platforms, we’re simply obsessed with the fan experience and creating “wow moments” for our clients.

On trends: Things are changing very quickly, and the two biggest trends we’re seeing are video streaming experiences and Mixed Reality activations. People are realizing that we can transform the environment within the venue to entertain, inform and create unprecedented sponsorship opportunities. We can manipulate structural elements within the venue that create new ad inventory or create virtual product placement that’s realistic and subtle. We feel like our Mixed Reality partnership with Chipotle last week was just the tip of the iceberg for sponsors, brands and agencies to take advantage of this completely undiscovered opportunity. We also built Vixi Live™, which is a live video platform that allows fans to scan a QR code and instantly stream video to the jumbotron. This new technology is already being used by sponsorship groups within the NBA, NHL, and MLB teams, and fans and sponsors love it.

On the Chipotle activation: Chipotle is a very forward-thinking brand and they realized that this type of technology could be used to truly break through the clutter of traditional sponsorship. This was a live commercial and used broadcast commercial time for this moment. It worked well as we’re seeing that clip go viral on social media. It was a lot of fun!

On reaction: Although we’ve been doing successful Mixed Reality for a few years, we think the Chipotle activation showed the marketing world how you could use this technology in a new way for brands and sponsorship. Lightbulbs went off in marketer’s heads about how they could use this technology to really push the creative possibilities.

PROGRAMMING

ESPN’s coverage of the opening round of the PGA Championship on Thursday averaged 1.5 million viewers for the company to mark the largest first-round viewership for the tournament in 20 years with average viewership up 23% over the first round of last year’s tournament. The debut of the new alternate telecast hosted by Joe Buck and Michael Collins averaged 684,000 viewers in its first hour on ESPN and then 96,000 viewers between 2-5p on ESPN2. Las Vegas led all markets with a 1.4 metered market rating.

Game 2 of the 2022 NBA Eastern Conference Finals, in which the Celtics topped the Heat, became the most-watched Eastern Conference Finals Game 2 since 2018, according to Nielsen. The ESPN telecast averaged 6,049,000 viewers and was up 59% over last year’s Eastern Conference Finals Game 2 between the Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks. Game 2 generated a 12.6 rating in the Boston market and a 7.5 rating in the Miami market. In addition, Thursday’s edition of the NBA Countdown pregame show was the most-watched in four years on ESPN. The show generated an average audience of 1,873,000 viewers, the most since the pregame show for the 2018 NBA Eastern Conference Finals between the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers.

Speaking of shows, NASCAR Race Hub, the nightly studio show, is currently up 32% in average viewership over where it was at this point last year (131,000 vs. 99,000). Hub is also pacing 19% ahead of 2020 and 14% ahead of 2019, according to Nielsen Media Research.

Tomorrow is the CMO Exchange! We’ve put together a lineup of marketing royalty, all you have to do is show up (and its free). Hurry, hurry, hurry and get your tickets now by clicking here.

June 16 will see FIFA will make its announcement about the staging of the FIFA World Cup 2026 across Canada, Mexico and the United States. Twenty-two candidate host cities are currently vying for the right to stage matches for the 48-team tournament hosted by three nations – both firsts for a FIFA World Cup. “In line with the previous stages of the FIFA World Cup 2026 selection process, any announcement will be made in the best interests of football, taking into consideration the needs of all stakeholders involved, as we aim to lay the foundations for the tournament to be delivered successfully across all three countries,” said FIFA Vice-President and Concacaf President Victor Montagliani. “We can only reiterate our appreciation to all the cities and the three member associations for their efforts and dedication to this process.”

DirecTV is serving up seven separate channels of action from the Roland Garros French Open tennis tournament. The company also announced plans to carry one women’s semifinal and one men’s semifinal and the men’s final and women’s final in 4K ultra high definition produced by NBC Sports. On-demand enhancements incude up-to-the-minute match results; an onscreen ticker with real-time scores; the updated women’s and men’s tournament draw; individual player bios; and recent results.

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SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

 

UPS reportedly cut ties with long-time spokesperson Lee Westwood, after he’d applied for a conflicting-event release to play the first LIV Golf event, per SI.com. In addition, the global courier and logistics company also cut ties “as of now” with Louis Oosthuizen, a member of the South African’s management team told GolfChannel.com. Oosthuizen has also been linked to the LIV Golf series although the field for the first event, which is set to be played June 9-11 at the Centurion Golf Club in London, has not been announced.

Meanwhile, golfing legend Sir Nick Faldo is partnering with scotch whisky company Duncan Taylor and their Black Bull blend that will result in a content play. The Tale of Two Legends series “will celebrate Sir Nick’s illustrious career and the whisky’s highly acclaimed heritage in a series of exceptional whisky releases.”

Austin FC named KLM Royal Dutch Airlines as an official Club partner. The airline becomes the first official airline partner for Austin FC, and as part of launching the partnership, the Austin FC Academy plans to use KLM’s non-stop flights from Austin to Amsterdam for European-based competition this upcoming Summer. “We are thrilled to announce our partnership with Austin FC,” said Boaz Hulsman, Head of Commercial, Air France-KLM North America. “As the first official airline partner of Austin FC, KLM looks forward to providing unmatched transatlantic connectivity and seamless travel direct from Austin to Amsterdam and beyond. With the great news we are extending service year-round, Austin FC will be able to easily travel to all their European games aboard KLM’s exemplary fleet.”

The Kansas City Outlaws announced Bad Boy Mowers as an official team sponsor as they compete in the PBR Team Series. The Outlaws are based at the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City, Missouri where the team’s inaugural homestand will be held August 5-7.

DIGITAL, DATA & TECH

Amid fluidity in the NFT marketplace, Dapper Labs’ NBA Top Shot surpassed $1 billion in sales. Some of Top Shot’s best months were in early 2021 with the all-time high of monthly sales coming in February of last year when the platform saw $244 million exchanged.

ESPORTS

FACEIT announced the launch of the Gucci Gaming Academy, a new initiative with the Gucci brand designed to support the development of up-and-coming gaming talent and help accelerate their career path. Launching with CS:GO, four “promising” players were selected from FPL to take part. Players will receive full-time mentorship from coaches, mental health support, hardware and access to other programs which help enhance in-game performance and well-being. Also representing the platform are ambassadors, commentator James Bardolph, pro CS:GO legend Christopher “GeT_RiGhT” Alesund and Stephanie “missharvey” Harvey. “Gucci is at the forefront of the luxury industry’s foray into the world of gaming and as part of our mission to build meaningful relationships with communities in a genuinely authentic way, we are dedicated to supporting the up-and-coming generations of players to help manage the challenges they may face as a result of participating in esports,” said Nicolas Oudinot, EVP New Business and Gucci VAULT CEO. “Understanding the issues that are relevant to them and learning about these from the people they affect are at the core of this collaboration.”

DreamHack is going for another round of the all-digital, at-home, interactive experience DreamHack Beyond beginning May 27, continuing through June 2. The week-long online celebration of gaming will feature tournaments, contests, streams and challenges to complete. “DreamHack Beyond continues to be part of evolving DreamHack into a year-round gaming lifestyle brand for the community,” said Shahin Zarrabi, VP of Strategy & Growth at DreamHack. “The goal for all of us at DreamHack is to provide great experiences for our fans, which have traditionally thrived by bringing communities together for these shared and beloved DreamHack festivals all around the globe. This is a week where we will celebrate gaming and the gaming community with activities and tournaments for everyone, every day of the week.”

FaZe Clan is continuing its music injections as FaZe Kaysan releases his second single “MVP” featuring Sheck Wes & Fivio Foreign. The track, available via FaZe Clan/UnitedMasters, was co-produced with WondaGurl. The release of “MVP” is the follow up to Kaysan’s debut single “Made A Way” which gained over 21 million streams within its first three months.

Ubisoft is opening the doors to its new tournament licensing platform. The initiative is available directly on the Rainbow Six Esports website with an eye toward streamlining the process to grant licenses to organize Rainbow Six Siege tournaments “faster than ever before.”

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ON THIS DAY in
1973: The first Preakness Stakes are held.

IN THE KNOW
In bowling, how many strikes in a row does it take to first get a bagger? (Email cpursell@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city).

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question
Name a pro quarterback who appeared in one of the Cannonball Run movies. Answer: Terry Bradshaw/Joe Theismann. Kudos: Cory Angerthal-AMC Networks/NY; Rick Ramage-UTA/NY; Rob Casalaina-ITN/NY; Michael Ritz-Lenox Advisors/NY; Art Salisch-Nielsen/New Jersey; Louis Lewow-FITE/Atlanta/Willy Gibson-WTG Sports/Columbus; Joe Lyons-ESPN/Dallas; Will Allmendinger-WLEY-FM/Chicago; Jason Brist-Outdoor Sportsman Group/Chicago; John Kukla-KDFW/KDFI/Dallas; Brian Robin-South Coast Repertory/Costa Mesa; Scott Brofman/LA; Sean Devlin-Netflix/Hollywood; Nick Monroe-Monroe Photography/San Diego

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MANAGER, MULTI-PLATFORM RESEARCH & ANALYTICS >>
FUSE MEDIA/NYC, HYBRID:
Create, analyze, and distribute regular daily, weekly and monthly reporting, covering TV, Digital (TVOD, AVOD, SVOD) and social media. Validate the accuracy of data in reports, communicate issues/anomalies to designated support teams and monitor the status of outstanding issues. 3+ yrs of research and analytics exp., preferably in digital media. Full info HERE (6/4)

SE ADVERTISING MGR
TODAY’S HOMEOWNER MEDIA
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Develops custom advertising solutions for current/new clients by integrating media assets and platforms to drive results & generate revenue for the brand. Direct sales exp, 7+ yrs. Home improvement, digital &TV exp a plus. Full info HERE (6/1)

PR & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER >>
ROBIN/LA (PREFERRED) OR NYC: Maintain active relationships w/media to share news & pitch client stories to relevant reporters. Maintain active media database across sports, technology, venture capital & entrepreneurship & develop; execute on holistic communications campaigns for clients. 2-6 yrs of exp working in public relations, publicity and communications, agency exp a +. Full info HERE (6/1)

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SPECTRUM NEWS NY1/NYC:
Produces for assigned newscasts & news inserts making decisions on story lineup, video/audio elements, graphics & timing to construct show. Writes news stories for an assigned newscasts; ensuring content is factually correct & written in a clear & concise conversational style. 5+ yrs of editorial exp producing news, sports and lifestyle content. Full info HERE (5/31)

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Produces for “Inside City Hall” and news inserts making decisions on story lineup, video/audio elements, graphics & timing to construct show. Writes news stories for assigned newscasts; ensuring content is factually correct & written in a clear & concise conversational style. 5+ yrs of editorial exp producing news, sports and lifestyle content. Full info HERE (5/31)

MEDIA OPERATOR >>
PBS NORTH CAROLINA/RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK NC:
PBS North Carolina is actively seeking a Media Operator. The primary purpose of this position is to employ state-of-the-art technology to ensure that video and audio media is recorded, archived, duplicated, and delivered in such a way as to provide all PBS North Carolina customers with the highest technical video and audio quality possible. Full info HERE (5/31)

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EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, AWARDS & TALENT RELATIONS
LIONSGATE/STARZ
SANTA MONCIA CA
Leads the strategic development & execution of awards campaigns supporting STARZ Original Series & talent through all phases on an ongoing basis. Budgets, plans & executes a wide range of awards related tactics to maximize exposure & recognition for STARZ Originals Series and talent. 7+ yrs awards & talent relations exp, preferably in television. Full info HERE (5/26)

AD OPERATIONS MANAGER >>
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Lead production management across HISTORY and A&E on-air and off-air campaigns. Support creative on long-term campaign planning/tracking/oversight. Min of 5 yrs exp working on fast-paced team with demonstrated in-house television or agency production management experience. Expertise of design/video/graphics production from concept thru completion. Full info HERE (5/25)

AD SALES PLANNER, DIRECT RESPONSE
TV ONE
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Maintain client relationships and process client requests. Negotiate client rates and provide weekly budget reports. Provide quarterly agency/account budget tracking reports and summaries. Analyze and report average unit rates on a weekly/monthly basis. Bachelor’s degree with a minimum of two years of relevant advertising/media experience required. Full info HERE (5/25)

SR. MANAGER, EVENTS
LIONSGATE/STARZ
SANTA MONCIA CA

Budgets, plans and executes a wide range of events to maximize STARZ Originals programming initiatives and reinforce the STARZ brand strategy. Manages all aspects of Publicity Events in the following areas for both International and Domestic. 6 yrs event planning and PR related experience, preferably within the entertainment industry. Full info HERE (5/24)

DIRECTOR, GLOBAL RIGHTS, RIGHTS LICENSING
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Oversee the Rights Licensing vertical for the Global Rights team. Will provide licensing guidance, oversee the renewals business & formulate licensing strategies. 12+ yrs req exp actively negotiating & acquiring rights of third party owned material for a television, media or music company with strong Intellectual Property & negotiation experience. Full info HERE
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AVALON Studio/ NYC or LA:
Responsible for managing smaller internal Development or “one-off” shoots. Maintain relationships w/vendors, production staffs & crews. Communicate & distribute project-related information and deliverables to all internal departments. Knowledge of Network, Studio and Show level department structure needed as well as Union and Guild contracts. Full info HERE (5/23)

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PARAMOUNT
NYC

Focused on deal negotiation and execution of new media rights as well as operations and delivery of content. Lead ongoing distribution commitments, terms compliance and assist with traditional distribution renewals and new deals! Understand the market landscape and industry trends. Working with other brands and 4+ yrs of working exp. required. Full info HERE (5/23)

DIRECTOR, CONTENT STRATEGY AND PROGRAMMING, STREAMING TV >>
TRUSTED MEDIA BRANDS/CULVER CITY:
The Jukin Media/TMB Streaming TV team is seeking an experienced Director of Content Strategy and Programming for our Growth Channels. This position will work with the SVP, Streaming TV to grow our FAST/CTV channel business by launching new O&O channels, building out our CTV app programming and supporting new Streaming TV opportunities. Full info HERE (5/23)

IMPLEMENTATION SPECIALIST >>
WIDEORBIT/REMOTE:
WideOrbit is seeking an Implementation Specialist to educate and train clients on WO Network or WO Omni products. A strong preference for WideOrbit product experience and an understanding of Sales Planning/Pricing/Traffic in the international landscape in Canada. Willingness to travel required, and French fluency highly desired. Full info HERE (5/23)

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