Video Transcript

00:12 Cal McAllister: I wanna show you how it kind of works out from another campaign that we did for the Seattle Sounders. We called it the Scarf Seattle campaign. The MLS team that is now playing in Seattle, we've been working with them for three years, and I'm gonna show you how we launched the team and we how continue working with them. Qwest Field is empty 345 days out of the year. It was built with the promise that eventually professional soccer would be played in Seattle.

00:42 McAllister: This is our membership. They were given a team by the MLS. They hired us and, in turn, they gave us nothing and we didn't have... We had a team name. We had no players, we had no coaches and we didn't have a schedule. But what we did have was a horrible sports situation in Seattle. I live in Chicago and I don't feel for Cubs fans at all. The Seahawks won four games, the Mariners lost 100, Utah lost every game for the first time in their history, Washington State Cougars won one. It was the same year that our beloved Sonics took off for Oklahoma City, so we had a very upset and desperate fan base. In fact, it was the perfect storm of total disaster of sports in one city. We did have, because of that, a population of opportunity. Just the chance to put a team on the field that had never lost was one of the most valuable things we could have ever had.

01:45 McAllister: There was an existing base of MLS fans, and we always look for an existing base of fans in any group, in any company at any client that we work for. There were 2,500 folks who went to see minor league games of this team called the Sounders, and there was an old... In 1974, there was a professional soccer team in Seattle. Seattle is a soccer city. We knew that our best chance at success was to ask the fans or the potential fans to do something. The whole premise of our first launch campaign was "Give us your full 90". As an expansion team, we didn't know if we were gonna win every game or to lose every game, and we knew that we couldn't control that. But what we could do is say that the players, we're gonna give each soccer game, 90 minutes. They were gonna play hard for 90 minutes, win or lose, they were gonna go for it. All we can ask of you as a fan base is to do exactly the same thing, 90 minutes of action.

02:39 McAllister: We started out with traditional media. As I said, it's pretty hard to build a fan base without it. We just like to do additional things with it. We used people, we used some of the existing fan base in the ads and we made the star, the ultimate symbol of what it meant to be a Sounders fan. We didn't create that. The goal was to have Seattle have the best international experience of any team in Major League Soccer. The campaign was called "Scarves Up" They already have scarves, they already hold them up in games on the premier league, but we needed to give fans an opportunity to participate. We needed to give them an opportunity to show their pride and effectively become fans. So, the idea was "Scarves up". As part of that, we hung scarves all over the city. So, on overpasses, we hung a scarf on the Space Needle. It's hard to kind of see that. We painted with lights. We painted the needle green and blue, our colors. We hung scarves from icons all over the city, and then we hung about 4,000 scarves in 10 different neighborhoods in Seattle. We hung scarves so people could... And we just gave them away. The idea was just come and grab a scarf. We're trying to outfit you to become Sounders fans, and we're probably lucky that nobody got killed.

04:05 McAllister: But it did give us an opportunity to create a home for the campaign and a home for the campaign was on the website, Scarf Seattle website. The only thing that we asked people to do, giving them a free scarf, we gave them a chance to be a Sounders fan, was to take a picture of themselves with the scarf and send it to us online, where we could aggregate it. Within weeks, people held their scarves up as proud Sounders fans all over the world, not just all over the country. And it really became the icon of the city. We used Facebook. We used Facebook as the home. We used social media, we're basically a social media company. As Bob mentioned earlier, we were sort of a social media company before, it was so easy to be a social media company, and now 170,000 fans on our Facebook page, again, by giving them opportunities to become fans. Fans, again, are more than just Facebook. Fans are people who are engaged constantly. By providing them opportunities, we just gave a hub for them to do it. And 170,000 fans for a stadium that seats about 30,000, not too bad.

05:08 McAllister: We also created in-game opportunities. One of the great things about sports in Seattle is the stadiums are downtown, so it lets you work with local retailers, it lets you create events as part of the game. This is something that we did that they do in Italy called the March to the Match. Ninety minutes before the game, we had people hold scarves over their head. We had a pep band band play blocks away. We had a procession all the way down to the stadium. Finally, the team allowed us to use this scarf for the season ticket holders to be the actual ticket for the first game. So, everyone who ordered a season ticket had this little tag stitched to it. That's how you got in the stadium. People on command, held their scarves up and it really became a fantastic opportunity for us to show what it's like to build fans. Now, it is for a sports team but I wanted to show you that for not a lot of money, for budgets that you can work with, with and without traditional media, you can affect people's lives.

06:08 McAllister: You can have them be excited about your brands in lots of different ways that you may not have thought of. You also can't just end there. What we do... This is our first year for season ticket renewal. Instead of just sending out an announcement, we send out a CD with songs sung in 90 different ways, by probably the worst singer on the team. But it gave us an opportunity for people to really like the guys and to really appreciate them, and see their human sides. To really see what it was like to be an authentic fan and learn about the authentic players. This year, we asked people to renew their vows, and Kasey Keller is our goalie. He held an online ceremony, where people could renew their vows to The Sounders. And again, here's an opportunity that's not a ticket in the mail, or not that asks for people to spend money alone. It's an opportunity for them to renew their vows, to be fans, and continually engage, and continually be impressed with what Sounders brings them and how Sounders rewards them for being fans.

Published on: Aug 26, 2012