The Sounders ad campaign

I've read the sports section of the Seattle Times for years. As a five year old, it was the first thing I began reading. And throughout all the years I've been doing that, I can't remember any time an advertisement was on the front page of the sports section.

Monday, though, I was shocked and delighted to see a huge Sounders ad in glorious full color, green and blue. It's just a incredibly well done ad. First off, it takes up probably a sixth of the entire front page. In large block letters are the words 'every minute counts,' a reference to both the teams 'give us your full 90!' slogan as well as the scarcity of Sounders tickets. The date of the next match (Saturday!) is given, along with information on how to get tickets. Alongside is a picture of a fan, green-clad, standing, yelling and holding a scarf. Finally, the slogan and a stylized logo are in the corner. [EDIT] And upon reading the sports today, another similar ad was on the front page. Damn. Pictures of both below - Monday's is on top, Wednesday's is on the bottom. Click below for a better quality image.So basically what these ads have done is tell every single literate sports fan in Seattle that the Sounders have hugely passionate fans, that it's going to be difficult to get tickets to join them, and - oh yeah - there just happens to be a game this weekend, so you should probably act fast. It's a brilliant bit of advertising.

Every Sounders fan really has to give huge props to both the ownership and the marketing departments/firms they've hired. The ownership because ads in the front page of the sports can't come cheap. Not only that, I've seen Sounders ads on the front page of the Times website, billboard ads, bus-side ads, you name it, they've done it. Joe Roth and co. are willing to spend big bucks to get big recognition, sacrificing short-term revenue for long-term popularity. And that's on top of the thousand or so scarves that have been distributed across the city for free. Which is where marketing comes in. Whoever thought up the 'scarf Seattle' campaign needs a raise. I've heard many people, not soccer fans, talk about the free scarves, and that's contributed to the overall interest in the Sounders. Guerilla marketing works and the Sounders are going about it wonderfully.
And hanging a giant scarf from a downtown building, from a bridge over Aurora Avenue, to catch the eyes of thousands as they drive by? It's just incredible stuff, especially for a soccer team in America, to be doing.

We're only one game into the history of Sounders FC. We shouldn't be patting ourselves on the back quite yet. There's a lot of stuff we, as fans, still have to learn, and we probably shouldn't be singing praises of everything Sounders related and thinking of ourselves as God's or Allah's or Xenu's gift to MLS. We aren't. But I can say with utter certainty that we have the best marketing in the league. The other 14 MLS teams would do well to take notice.


Jordan said...

The guys at Wexley School For Girls are flat out geniuses. They are the main marketing firm behind the Sounders. Roth and co. did it right when they hired them.

Please upload the picture if you can as I'm in Idaho and would love to see it.

Ness said...

Got your back, Jordan.

Seriously, my hat goes off to the people at Wexley. You all should go to their absurdly creative website and give them some love.

Brandon Hansen said...

I agree. The Sounders marketing has been fantastic so far. Lets hope the crowds continue to be big and supportive!

Brandon Hansen
Just South of North

Anonymous said...

The scarf campaign is being run by posterGIANT in Seattle. ;-)

posterGIANT is a one-stop shop for your guerilla and digital marketing needs. From wild postings to publicity stunts to web portals, they will do whatever it takes to get clients noticed.


glovin said...

I agree. The Sounders marketing has been fantastic so far.

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