American Activation Case Studies

After the pandemic forced the 2020 US Open to take place behind closed doors, USTA partner IBM conceived, created and executed a consumer and business-to-business virtual tournament experience in just three months.

In Q1 2020, UT beer partner Corona leveraged its rights around the Texas Longhorns basketball team with a programme led by a pair of limited edition co-branded sneakers.

With fans stuck at home during Covid-19 lockdowns of 2020, Midea ran a three-month social media engagement campaign that saw Man City players and legends encourage fans to take part in a series of at-home skills challenges.

As Covid-19 struck the UK, West Ham and its Official Destination Partner created a branded virtual activation that brought contest winners and club legends together to watch home Premier League matches.

The 2019 TCS New York City marathon official app became the races’ most downloaded ever by offering features including a set of augmented reality experiences, unlimited real-time runner tracking, an interactive course guide, digital cheer cards and a finishing-time predictor.

JP Morgan Chase pivoted to digital for its 2020 US Open activation programme, which ran between August and September 2020 and spanned an online hub, a card members’ digital lounge, invite-only interviews and Q&A, a daily livestream show, a social sweepstake, a virtual concert and even a cooking series.

Amid the 2019-20 NBA/WNBA season, the ‘Nike Game Growers’ initiative saw the sportswear giant work with the league to close the basketball participation gap for girls.

Between 2018 and 2020, Walt Disney World activated its Orlando Magic jersey patch partnership through a free jersey promotion aimed at boosting sales of Disney Park Passes among the fan base.

In 2017, NFL official beauty partner CoverGirl created first all-female pre-game show to tackle sports media stereotypes and speak directly to the 69 million female American Football fans.

On February 29th, 2020, Bose teamed up with NFL franchise the Green Bay Packers and quarterback Aaron Rodgers to offer 29 fans to attempt their own version of the famous ‘Lambeau Leap’ celebration.

Given the limited capacity of the New York Marathon, title sponsor Tata Consultancy Services activated its rights in 2018 and 2019 with a 3D game letting visitors to the Marathon Expo compete over the marathon’s final 100m.

Grant Thornton leveraged its rights at the 2020 Players Championship with a Rickie Fowler-fronted ad campaign.

In May 2020, Cisco stepped in as a ‘content integration’ partner of ‘The Match: Champions for Charity’, the blockbuster live golf matchplay event featuring Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Tom Brady, and Peyton Manning.

Kraft’s Hockeyville is an annual search for the most passionate hockey community, with the winners hosting an NHL pre-season game and getting $150,000 in local rink upgrades.

For the delayed 2020 US Open, long-time sponsor Rolex activated through a testimony-led campaign centred on its 40-year relationship with the tournament.

At 2020’s Super Bowl LIV in Miami, NFL telecoms partner Verizon showcased the capability of 5G with an immersive experience.

The North America Activation Casebook is a round up of the best and most innovative sponsorship activation campaigns from the US & Canada in the past 12 months. Read it now

To celebrate the start of the Vancouver Canucks’ 50th season in 2019-20, the team linked up with coffee and donut chain Tim Hortons as presenting partner of a pre-season scavenger hunt.

As the Toronto Maple Leafs took on the Bruins in the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs, Tim Horton’s launched a local OOH, in-store and social campaign that reversed the name of the brand’s famous Boston Cream donut.

In January 2020, Dunkin’ Donuts launched a player-fronted campaign around the NHL Winter Classic to promote its Cold Brew Coffee.

Late July 2020 saw NHL partner Apple mark the return of hockey after its pandemic shutdown with a campaign called ‘Hockey Tape’, part of its ongoing ‘Shot On iPhone’ marketing platform.

For the 2019-20 NFL season, hotel partner Courtyard by Marriot’s season-long activation programme climaxed with the fifth iteration of its ‘Super Bowl Sleepover’ contest.

To promote its new personalised delivery service, US used car retailer CarMax penned a partnership with the NBPA for an autumn/winter campaign led by a series of TV ads, social spots and surprise stunts.

Deloitte’s activation around the 2020 US Open involved designing an augmented reality app experience for golf fans unable to attend the event due to coronavirus restrictions.

Budweiser’s 2020 Super Bowl campaign was a patriotic, 60-second commercial driving home the message that the American spirit is still alive and thriving.

This mobile first, GIF-led campaign leveraged the 2020 All-Star Weekend through a collection of Joel Embiid GIFs and encouraged fans to celebrate the three-day event via Giphy.

Rakuten House was a branded space erected in Chicago to leverage the ecommerce brand’s rights around the 2020 All-Star Weekend.

Through the 2019 season, AAB activated its rights as the title partner of the Formula E racing series through a short-form content series based on solving contemporary urban challenges.

Filmed at an empty Churchill Downs racecourse, Woodford Reserve’s ‘My Old Kentucky Home’ spot was an homage to the delayed 2020 Kentucky Derby.

P&G detergent brand Tide used the start of the 2019 NFL – and its NBC media partnership – to kickstart a national debate about the best night to do laundry.