AdSport Shoots To Score With Events And Geo-Targeting Tactics

The sports marketing agency offers a range of services to help brands reach sports fans on the national, regional, and local levels.

When you think of advertising for a gas station, the classic billboard near the freeway might come to mind; or, perhaps, its modern equivalent: a targeted mobile ad. But the image of five amateur chefs competing head-to-head at the Rose Bowl to cook up the best tailgate dish using… only ingredients purchased from a Chevron gas station convenience store probably doesn’t come immediately to mind. But that’s exactly what AdSport did for its client Chevron.

The west coast sports marketing agency, operating in its current buy-side iteration since ’99, aims to push the boundaries of traditional marketing tactics while still walking the fine line between improving a fan’s sports experience with a brand message and distracting from it.

Gary Knudson
AdSport CEO Gary Knudson

“[Our goal] is to enhance a fan’s experience at a game,” says Gary Knudson, CEO and Founder at AdSport. “We ask, what can we do, what can we think of that can add value to those fans that are in attendance, and not distract them away from what they’re there in the first place to do: cheer for their team.”

This philosophy informs AdSport’s brainstorming process for each of its campaigns, Knudson says. In the case of the Chevron cook-off, tailgating is a part of many fans’ pregame rituals. Therefore, the contest took place before kickoff; the grand prizewinner of the five finalists pocketed the $25,000 Chevron card, and all participants and spectators headed into the stadium in plenty of time.

A ‘Touchdown’ For Targeting

But while creative activation is indeed an important part of AdSport’s skill set, the agency’s appeal to brands can be boiled down quite simply: it provides a way to reach a key demographic — sports fans — on a regional level at events like the Rose Bowl, down to the local level at a high school or college football playoff game. And new technologies, Knudson says, are making that targeting even better.

“We can take advantage of geo-targeting on the devices [of fans] in a particular stadium,” Knudson says. A recent mobile game, also deployed as part of a campaign for Chevron, targeted [attendees], asking them to confirm their location at an Arizona Cardinals game. It then allowed them to pick one of three cars to win in a race in a 60-second simulation, letting them push a button on their phone screen to drive “their” car.

Those who picked the winning car received a branded digital prize and were entered to win a $100 gas gift card. Non-winners received a message that thanked them for playing and referenced the next week’s game.

Location Drive

AdSport promotes its client’s sponsorships with a mix of events and mobile marketing tactics, but its primary goal is always the same: reach fans in a way that gets them to go to a physical location and make a purchase. Promotions like the cook-off contest, requiring the purchase of food from Chevron for a “fun” payoff, aim to accomplish this.

“Chevron isn’t involved in sponsorship merely for branding. Its primary goal is to borrow equity from these sports teams, and then use that to invite those fans to [physical] locations to purchase gasoline or buy something at the convenience store. Our primary goal is how can we borrow equity from any team, [be it] a college or event or pro sports team, and use it to show [our client] in a favorable light.”

Looking To Grow Nationally — With New Technology

As Knudson and co. look at 2015, expansion seems to be the order of the day. With offices in Texas and Arizona, the agency is primarily west-focused, but Knudson feels that it could be time to take some of its bigger campaigns national.

“With Chevron, we’re evaluating the possibilities of potentially expanding the Game Day Chef cooking competition to go beyond the West Coast markets that we were in this year. To the extent that Chevron has a national footprint, we’re analyzing and discussing whether or not it makes sense to roll it out to more markets next year.”

And Knudson plans to move with the changing tech landscape, looking at ways to incorporate some of the tools that came onto the scene in a big way in 2014, like beacons.

“We’re always exploring unique and different ways to incorporate technology into allowing our clients to communicate with fans. Whether it’s incorporating some sort of near field communication, RFID chips, iBeacons at retail or in stadiums… we’re always looking at ways that we can provide our clients a better way to communicate and offer up value to the fans.”

About The Author
Lauryn Chamberlain Lauryn Chamberlain @laurynchamberla

Lauryn Chamberlain is the Associate Editor of A New York City based journalist, she specializes in stories related to retail, dining, hospitality, and travel.