Archive for the ‘2018’ tag

LeBron James Changed My Life – by Elliot Gerard

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LeBron James changed my life.

Every year during the NBA playoffs, he takes a break from social media to 100% focus on the game with the aim of taking home another championship. His social media blackout has been officially coined “Zero Dark 30” and rather than tweet, he posts an image with the hashtag #StriveForGreatness.

Well…much to my total surprise, during the 2017 playoffs, he chose my work to grace his page the entire playoffs.

MKTG’s Elliot Gerard and John “Graph” Boyce’s piece chosen by LeBron during the 2017 NBA Finals

Right then and there, I knew that my life was about to change and I had to seize the moment and truly Strive or Greatness. And just like LeBron does, I would give every ounce of myself to make sure I could do so.

I was already somewhat established as an artist in the sports industry working with teams like the Knicks and media brands like ESPN. I knew I could do more though.

This was an opportunity to take the ball and run with it.

I reached out to organizations like Sports Illustrated, Turner Sports and most importantly The Cleveland Cavaliers and to see if they could be a part of this journey. There were many people that told me they were not interested or did not respond. But every time I would look at LeBron’s post, it fueled me to continue to strive for greatness.

The Cavaliers were the first to get back to me. After talking with their lead art director, Kevin Johnson on the phone, we were already coming up with the idea of creating a mural that helped recapture the energy of my image that LeBron had chosen.

I had created the original image in collaboration with a talented artist John “Graph” Boyce, so I made sure that he was a part of any project centered around the Zero Dark 30. Keeping the authenticity of the original piece in all artwork we created together for this campaign was key.

While each playoff round went by, the more nervous I got. However, as the Cavaliers looked more and more likely to reach their straight third trip to the Finals, and LeBron’s historic 7th straight trip, things started to come into place. With no budget for a PR team, I spent many late nights reaching out and finding ways to get interviews with podcasts, publications and blogs. Then slowly, we started booking projects for media outlets like FanSided and Bleacher Report, creating artwork celebrating LeBron’s historic run to the finals.

The major turning point came when the Cavaliers called me after winning Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals with the final approval on the project. We were asked to create a mural coined “Defend the Land” of the entire Cavaliers team interacting with the cityscape and literally defending the city of Cleveland. This larger-than-life piece would be displayed outside of The Q Arena (and in front of the entrance to the Cavaliers’ Fan Fast) for games 3 and 4 of the NBA Finals.

I honestly couldn’t have dreamt of a bigger honor. And while it was hard for me to believe this string of events was real, it was time to get to work. Graph and I spent multiple all-nighters getting all the artwork ready, and wouldn’t rest until every piece had achieved greatness.

The mural at The Q (Quicken Loans Arena) — Home of the Cavs

Next up, it was wheels up to Cleveland for the mural unveiling. Besides personally needing to be there to see this moment in person, the Cavs organization made it even more special having me interviewed by local news outlets and making a big deal out of the piece. The most enjoyment I got, however, was watching the fans take pictures in front of the artwork get excited and inspired before the game.

Getting to “The Land” was a once-in-a-lifetime adventure… I was far from done though.

“Strive For Greatness” was now my philosophy. For so many years I was okay being unsatisfied with my day job and putting all my energy into my personal side sports art business. No more – I wanted to be a part of a winning culture, merge my passions with my career and be a leader in my industry.

MKTG was an agency I had freelanced for and they had always impressed me not only with their top-notch clients, but also with the excellent culture they displayed. I knew if the opportunity arose, MKTG was the company I could continue this journey with.

Before LeBron James chose my artwork, I would not have even thought to reach out and engage them to discuss joining the team. But I had the confidence I had always been seeking and know that my passion could add another dimension to the already great team I had worked with. A few months later, as I sit at my desk at MKTG as VP/Creative Director, I realize that the moment I learned that my work was chosen by someone I’ve always admired, that it was time to take a leap and change my life.

Thank you LeBron James. You opened my eyes and lit a fire within me. I will always continue to heed your words. The striving never ends and greatness always awaits.

Here’s to another Championship run!

–contributed by: Elliot Gerard, MKTG Westport

 

 

 

 

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Written by The Wolf
The Wolf

February 5th, 2018 at 11:16 am

TopSpin 2017

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The ninth annual TopSpin table tennis tournament and fundraiser, benefitting educational nonprofits, a favorite among industry marketers and athletes, has already raised more than $300,000 in sponsorships — above 2016 to date. The highest yield was 2014, when $400,000 was raised; this year’s “stretch goal” is $500,000, said Peter Farnsworth, a founder of TopSpin and founder/CEO of business development, cause marketing and brand consultancy Foxrock Partners.

Sponsorships range from $10,000 to $50,000. EverFi, Ticketmaster, the Mets and Oak View Group are all new sponsors. Returning sponsors include industry pillars like Anheuser-Busch InBev, JPMorgan Chase, the NBA, NFL, MLS, NHL, MLBAM, AEG, Madison Square Garden, Harman, AmEx, Coke, CAA, IMG, Octagon and Wasserman.

Over the years, TopSpin has raised more than $3 million, which has benefitted 22 educational nonprofits. This year’s event is scheduled for Dec. 6 at the Metropolitan Pavilion in New York City. MKTG produces the event gratis for TopSpin, and supports sponsorship sales.

Article written by Terry Lefton, Sports Business Journal

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Written by The Wolf
The Wolf

October 2nd, 2017 at 10:50 am

3 Key Trends in NBA Jersey Patch Sponsorship

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The NBA has become the first North American major professional sports league to allow ads on jerseys. During the 2017-2018 season, players in the NBA will sport corporate logos on their team uniforms. The ad space will be sold as part of a three-year pilot program where each team will have the right to sell its own ad space to sponsors. In consideration of the foregoing, MKTG has outlined the state of jersey sponsorship in the NBA, common activation strategies around the patch and potential implications for the league.

JERSEY PATCH SPONSORS STEM FROM CONSISTENT SOURCES; TECHNOLOGY BRANDS, FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS AND LOCAL EMPLOYERS

There are clear commonalities in the roster of sponsors who have invested in the NBA jersey patch. Firstly, technology brands are leveraging their patch sponsorship to drive mass awareness for their digital initiatives such as Sharecare and the Atlanta Hawks that are teaming up to improve healthcare for Georgia. Secondly, F.I.’s like Flagstar Bank (Pistons) and Western Union (Nuggets) are mass brands that historically have greater permission to invest in signature branding assets that reach mass audiences. Finally, employers with a large presence in the region of their local NBA team (Goodyear in Cleveland, Harley Davidson in Milwaukee) have invested back into properties that can be positioned as supporting local passion points, be a source of pride for employees, and block competitors from gaining traction in an HQ market.

BRANDS OUTLINE THEIR SUPPORTING ACTIVATION PROGRAMS TO COMPLEMENT JERSEY SPONSORSHIPS

In the majority of jersey sponsorships announced to date, brands are clear in their messaging; jersey patches are part of a broader commitment to the property. Brands are showcasing videos that highlight the brand synergies, collaborative tactics and creative activation strategies for teams and sponsor. Both Sharecare and Fitbit are leveraging their partnership to tackle health and wellness through their digital platforms. Sharecare is activating around their jersey sponsorship with their Sharecare Movement in collaboration with the Atlanta Hawks. In contrast, FitBit and the Minnesota Timberwolves are exploring ways to leverage and integrate their technology to improve player’s performance, and assist fans in making healthier choices during games. Jersey patch sponsorship is isolation can be perceived as an awareness-driving media buy. By complementing the asset with an integrated activation, sponsors will resonate deeper with fans.

Read the rest of the article here

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Written by The Wolf
The Wolf

September 25th, 2017 at 11:33 am