The Ochocinco Plan: Rogue Behavior, Brilliant Marketing or Both?
Aug 27, 2009
Chad Ochocinco is pushing the limits again. (For those that don’t know, Ochocinco is the outspoken-yet-uber-talented wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals.) The NFL bans cell phones during the game and creates policy to quell Facebook and Twitter interaction, and he comes up with a plan to still Tweet during a game. So should this be deemed another publicity stunt by a player with a history of controversial behavior? Or should it be viewed as a player better understanding social media marketing than his employer, and setting out to prove it? I’m going with both.
I understand where the NFL is coming from in respect to their fear of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and the like. It’s based mostly on the owner’s and coach’s views that this could lead to spilling the beans on game tactics and the real health of players, and it could draw unwanted media distractions among other things. But let’s be serious for a second… why would a player want to divulge these things? It would hurt his team, his wallet (’cause if he did post things like that, he would surely be fined) and his future marketability.
Where the NFL is being terribly myopic is in regard to marketing. Fans want to get closer to the game. They want to feel like the wall between field and fans is being erased. You can witness this via fans willingness to stand outside a chain-link fence to watch training camp, and in the popularity of fantasy football leagues. (I’m in five leagues this year myself.)
Ochocinco has a much better grasp on this. Letting people get a “first person” view of what’s going on under the helmet and on the turf is bound to make fans pay more attention to the game… and that means more TV viewers and therefore, exposure to the NFL’s advertisers. And it will probably bring new fans to the game, if even out of curiosity.
The NFL should follow his lead. They should mandate team sponsored sideline Twitter agents to post player quotes during the game. They should post video highlights to YouTube during the game—a “look what you just missed, you oughta tune in” tact. Something tells me they won’t… but they should.
Watching TV as a kid, I used to run to the bathroom during the shows so I could make it back for the commercials. Those days launched me down a path that included layout and writing for the college paper; communications strategy for political campaigns; marketing strategy and graphic design for Gensler (a global design and architecture firm); and the implementation of new programming, animation and design techniques for Centerline. Today I specialize in content marketing strategy and building digital deliverables to execute those strategies. But it’s about more than just creating killer digital content. At Centerline, we help clients succeed in the digital marketplace using a three-pronged approach: strategic (message creation, brand strategy), tactical (design, development), and analytical (measurement and adaptation). This experience-tested approach allows me to build campaigns that are both well-designed and effective for clients like IBM, GE and National Instruments.