BLOG: A convergence of experiential marketing and social media at the World Junior Hockey Championship in Edmonton

Major brand names partnering with big sporting events is nothing new. National brand advertisers have supported sporting events for decades. Sports themselves have come to rely on the BIG money sponsorship revenue.

What’s new is how brands are leveraging often very newsworthy content from the major events they sponsor – especially on social media channels. And why not. It’s usually great content and a little newsjacking can be damn good marketing. With a previously established relationship between sponsor and event – access to getting content can usually be arranged.

My recent work on Chevrolet Canada‘s partnership with Hockey Canada and the World Junior Hockey Championship in Alberta provides a good example of sharing on social media a very newsworthy event – and also using social media channels to promote Chevrolet’s presence there.

Because of Chevrolet’s partnership with Hockey Canada – we had access to tournament tickets. We used a pair of Gold medal game tickets to drive engagement with Chevrolet Canada’s facebook page by holding a contest. Using the Wildfire app platform – we built a custom facebook app that allowed people to enter the contest. Thousands entered the contest resulting in hundreds of facebook Likes for the page.

The IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship has a Fan Zone adjacent to where the games are played. Chevrolet has an activation display in the zone. A great experiential idea was having fans wish Team Canada good luck by signing a custom decaled Camaro SS.

Throughout the tournament we used the Chevrolet Canada social media channels to ensure people were aware of the activities in the fan zone. And not just leveraging the Chevrolet social properties – but also using the partnership with Hockey Canada to get mentions for Chevrolet on their social channels as well. A few times the official Twitter account for the games (and its over 10,000 followers) re-tweeted @ChevroletCanada messages. We ensured Chevrolet stayed active on two official Tweet streams for the tournament – #WJC2012 and #IwasThere.

Great examples of a convergence of experiential marketing and social media to expand the reach of an event.


(all photos Richard Budman)

Facebook photo albums from Live, newsworthy events usually make for great stuff to share on brand pages. Engagement and “Likes” are usually high. But the photos need to be very good quality, tell the story of the event, and be posted to social channels in timely ways.