It’s a seemingly simple leather ball that is kicked, tossed and caught on youth, college and professional football fields across the country, but there’s a rich story to be told for this product that’s as American as apple pie. For Wilson Sporting Goods, which has supplied the Official Leather Game Football for the NFL since 1941, and manufactures 700,000 leather game footballs from its factory in Ada, OH, each year, it’s a story best told through an experiential platform. Enter: The Wilson Experience.
This mobile museum, which is activating out of a 16-foot refurbished Airstream Bambi trailer, takes the activation strategy behind Wilson’s NFL Experience at the Super Bowl each year on the road. The Wilson Experience kicked off at the College Football Playoff National Championship in the Playoff Fan Central zone Jan. 8 in Atlanta, and will make stops at sporting events and venues across the country this season.
“One of the things we’ve been focused on is consumers can go find a Wilson football in a big box store like a Dick’s Sporting Goods or Walmart, but what we can’t often do is create this intimate experience with our consumer,” says Amanda Lamb, global marketing director at Wilson Sporting Goods. “It’s about how can we show one of the coolest assets we have, which is how a football is made from beginning to end—it’s a handcrafted process with a rich history—how can we give that to fans. So, we’re really creating an immersion into the brand and our history and heritage.”
Within the activation, fans have the opportunity to experience several of the steps in making a Wilson leather game football, including turning and sewing. They can customize their own Wilson football by laser-etching the logo of their favorite college team, their name or a phrase on the ball of their choice. Brand ambassadors walk consumers through the intimate details of each particular part of the process.
“Mobility was a big factor in how do we create an experience that gets to more places, more frequently, but at the same time, maintains that level of intimacy,” Lamb says. “What we’ve landed on is a mini museum on wheels and people get to feel and touch and smell what this process is up close.” Agency: OutCold, Chicago.