U.S. Army Ignites its American Bowl with a Mobile Tour
The United States Army went way beyond the typical ticket-selling proprietary event with its two-year-old All-American Bowl, which is quickly becoming a case study for the right way to start your own property and integrate it and integrate it and integrate it.
Things got cookin’ in September when the top 400 high school football players were named. The Army then implemented a 78-market Mobile Selection Tour. Coaches and principals were contacted and the Army invaded each educational venue with full-school pep rallies taking place in gymnasiums or at football games. The recruiter handed the selectee his game jersey, made a speech, and the entire school went crazy. Moms baked cakes with the Army’s logo on them, cheerleaders chanted for the All-American Bowl, and an authentic brand connection was made, sealed, and engrained in the minds of thousands.
“Event marketing has unbelievable legs,” says Colonel Thomas Nickerson, U.S. Army Accessions Command’s energetic director of strategic outreach. “It provides image and awareness, as well as the offshoots.”
At the game, cheerleading and band competitions allowed students to step into the Army’s world. Group events for players and family events for fans connected the dots and moved the needle. “It’s more than just a three-hour football game,” says Relay ceo Wally Hayward.
The game essentially became a three-hour Army infomercial, with players living out the brand attributes of the biggest and best military force on the planet. On-site fan experiences, ubiquitous signage, and a multitude of organic, cleverly-planned events brought months of separate marketing flights together in Texas.
Attendance of 25,318 was 37 percent higher than the ’02 Bowl debut, thousands of leads were funneled to Army recruiters, and 412 million impressions were generated (plus $4.3 million in free media value). Touchdown.