Traditional marketing needs a caffeine boost

Attended and competed (well sort of) in an open water swim event over the weekend. Had a wonderful day out, the weather was glorious, had the honour of swimming in our national lake with its beautiful golden amber water that, with the reflection of light, gave you the feeling of swimming in liquid gold. Overall a well organised event sponsored by a national coffee brand, an institution more than a brand.

An institution that didn’t maximise on the sponsorship opportunity. The execution of this sponsorship investment was a little lazy and uninspired.

I would suggest the following improvements:

  • The swim hats are not really suitable for open water swimmers as we need higher visibility hats – I appreciate the importance of brand colours yet any logo would have looked fine and consistent on a yellow or orange hat. If it were luminous, it would be more likely to be used repeatedly with free branding.
  • The contents of the goodie bag. Generally companies use goodies bags as a way of giving out samples of new products to encourage product trial and adoption. Filling the bag with a box of 80 standard tea bags was uninspired. I’m sure the company have plenty of new blends/flavours of both tea bags, leaves and coffee beans that could have been used to give 300 people an indication of the range of their products. I also presume they  have a range of snacks/biscuits that could have been included.
  • The t-shirt. Generally at these events, we receive a branded quick dry/polyester t-shirt that will be worn when running (many participants will be triathletes). The old fashioned cotton t-shirts are not suitable for us and will probably never be worn only when painting or doing DIY. Again another lost opportunity for it to be used repeatedly with free branding.
  • Possible flask or reusable cup? All open water swimmers take a flask or a thermo cup when training as we need warm drinks afterwards. Perhaps including one of these in the goodie bag would have been a good idea, again getting much more brand association than just the day of the event.

However, the biggest surprise was that the only coffee available was instant. Giving visitors a taste of real coffee blends might convert some drinkers away from competing brands. An instant coffee hasn’t passed my lips since 1992, after a year studying abroad, it’s Americanos only for me. So I didn’t get to taste the sponsor’s brand but if I had and had liked it, I might well have switched particularly given the drive towards buying Irish.

Alas, I’m still a Lavazza loyal, your loss.

Lastly, I was also surprised on the lost pre-event, during and post event activity on social media. Not a mention or tweet on the social networks before, during of after the event. With almost 3,000 followers on the organiser’s Facebook, there would have been lots of opportunities to run competitions etc. A few tweets leading up to and on the day with pictures of the hordes of people wearing hats, bags and drinking take-outs would have also been good for the brand.

Anyway, it was a great day despite the sponsor’s uninspired marketing, it’s just a pity they didn’t get the rewards due and it’s a terrible pity I didn’t have a double shot of espresso before the whistle as I may have taken a few minutes off my PW, (yup that’s a personal worst.)

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