Archive for June, 2014

Cincy goes loco for fútbol

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The Cincinnati MKTG INC office invited an especially lucky group of clients to catch the Colombia-Japan World Cup matchup at the downtown office on June 24.

“As Colombians we grow up living soccer and loving soccer. It’s part of our family, part of our childhood, so to see Colombia do so well in this World Cup and qualify in the first two games brings a lot of pride,” said Colombian native Luis Restrepo, Orgullosa Brand Manager at P&G. “It also means that there is an amazing party somewhere in Colombia.”

With help from her compadres y comadres, Orgullosa Account Supervisor Natalia Salces organized the Cincinnati event, which featured a photo booth, foosball table, Caipirinha drinks, arepas, and, of course, televised viewing of the game (because we couldn’t afford to send everyone to Rio).

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The fiesta drew inspiration from the #MyHouseIsMyStadium campaign for Orgullosa, P&G’s online word-of-mouth community for Latinas living in the U.S. Except in this case the office was our stadium.

Approximately one-half of all attendees were rooting for “those guys in the yellow jerseys” to win. The other half showed up for the refreshments.

Colombia bested Japan 4-1 and advanced to the round of 16. Restrepo used that good luck to propel him in his own foosball victory over Todd Laabs, SVP Marketing & Operations for MKTG INC. Laabs mumbled something about “a couple of sloppy goals” and vowed redemption in the form of ping pong.

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NIKE RISK EVERYTHING – WINNER STAYS

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It’s that special time in the sports world that only arrives every 4 years, when Americans realize that the beautiful game is back and ready to fill their Summer sports malaise, where the only other news of note is the exciting stretch run of only 92 games to go in the baseball season.

To capitalize on the energy around the World Cup and the world’s most popular sport (deal with it, America), Nike launched the latest in a series of innovative soccer-based campaigns with RISK EVERYTHING: a challenge to all footballers to take chances and play with a creativity that takes the game to its highest and most entertaining level (deal with it, Spain).

To harness and amplify that creativity, NIKE developed a 4 v 4 tournament unlike any other: Winner Stays. With a unique set of rules and a winner stays on mentality that throws brackets to the curb, Nike and MKTG INC set out to the crown the best in NYC amidst concrete arenas in the heart of the city.

Nike Risk Everything              Pearl St. Plaza – Brooklyn Qualifier                                            Pier 26 – Manhattan Qualifier

Over 680 players and 120 teams battled it out at the Brooklyn and Manhattan Qualifiers for a chance to advance to the Finals. Set against iconic, unexpected locations in the two boroughs, the events drove home the city-based inspiration with locally relevant artists and food trucks. With 5 teams from each Qualifier moving on to the Finals, it was time to prepare for a championship setting unlike any other.

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With the flight deck of the USS Intrepid playing host to the Finals and conjuring up memories of one of the best NIKE Soccer campaigns of all time, the Risk Everything mantra reached a fever pitch (pun intended), as players battled it out in front of 1,100 fans. The NY Finals were held first, as the top 10 teams from the qualifiers fought to be crowned the NY Champion. After The Wild emerged victorious, it was time to take on the LA champion (who had been flown in for the evening) to be crowned the best in the USA. As a precursor to the Stanley Cup Finals, LA (got lucky and) took home the victory. Finally, a trophy celebration amidst a 3-minute firework show that would wow even the boldest of pyros brought the Winner Stays tournament to a close.

Nike’s campaign for creativity and boldness keeps rolling as the World Cup kicks into high gear, and with the Group Stage on pace to provide the highest scoring tournament of all time, it seems like the world has heard the message.*

*Unless you’re from Spain. 

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US Open 2014: Domination, Evolution and a Bigger Banana

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martin_kaymer_champion_usatsiPhoto Credit: cbssports.com

The US Open was already rewriting the history books after Friday’s play. No one had ever posted a 65-65 on the first two days. This record was set by Martin Kaymer, who held the lead from start-to-finish, yet another feat, which only seven players had accomplished in US Open history. The win was doubly memorable for Kaymer, who also won the Players Championship to complete the bout of winning on both Mother’s and Father’s day. When asked how he felt about winning during the holidays, Kaymer noted,

“It was nice to win on Mother’s Day and our Father’s Day [in Germany] was a couple of weeks ago and I didn’t get him anything,” said Kaymer after a gargantuan eight-shot victory at Pinehurst on Sunday. “Maybe this works today.”

Yet another milestone to note, this time for the course, was Pinehurst’s first US Open back in its old form. Originally designed by famed architect Donald Ross in 1907, Pinehurst had seen a forward evolution through the years. As seen in the 2005 US Open, the fairways had become tight, the Kentucky bluegrass roughs were among the most formidable of any tour stop, and the bunkers were clean cut-outs, but quite scary, even for the most regarded professionals.

Back in 2010, the team of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw were brought in to bring #2 back to its original lore. Their goal for the renovation was to bring the course back to Donald Ross’ original intent for his home course, epitomizing the philosophy of providing golfers “strategic choices” on every hole. They increased fairway widths, removed that bluegrass rough (approximately 35 acres, leaving native areas made up of sane, pine needs and wiry grass), simplified turf maintenance leading to firmer, faster fairways, and what was probably the most noticeable, reformed bunkers to make them more natural. All work was done following aerial images from the 1940s.

The “strategic choice” philosophy that Donald Ross aimed at providing golfers as personified by the shot of the weekend, Kenny Perry’s bender on the par-four 14th, a 479-yard hole. Perry, 53, and the oldest player in the field, had an errant drive that ended up in the native area that was part of the refresh in 2010. After pulling a hybrid from his bag, and peering around the trees at the pin that was 220 yards away, he proceeded to record the first eagle of the week on 14, with a shot that would rival the famous banana that Bubba had during his Master win in 2012. While Parry didn’t win, his shot immediately became the best of the weekend.

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All things considered, this year’s US Open was one for the storybooks. Next year’s US Open will be held at yet another throwback, the Robert Trent Jones II designed Chamber’s Bay Golf Course in University Place, Washington. Much akin to Pinehurst from a standpoint of keeping native features alive, Chamber’s Bay is a links course that also tests the “strategic choice” philosophy. And with a hole named “Humpback,” you never know: another big bender could happen anytime.

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