tournament branding

Tournament branding chasing someone else’s cool

For strong tournament branding, resist the urge to copy others

The most frustrating request we hear regarding tournament branding is something that goes like, “I was just as such and such tournament and they did this really cool thing. Can we do that?” While the answer is almost alway, “Sure, we can do that for you,” my first question is, “Why do you want to be like everyone else?”

Google is currently running TV spots for its phones with the song “It’s a marshmallow world in the winter” as the jingle. Last year, Target used the same song to feature its holiday season.

Whenever I hear the song, I think Target and my head gets confused as I try to remember the product that Google is now advertising and it just doesn’t look like a Target ad. Then I get irritated because it wasn’t what I had been conditioned to expect through a previous, well-placed campaign.

I get it; Google saw the Target spots and thought, “Wow, that’s pretty catchy. Our OS update is called Marshmallow (though nobody know that or cares.) We should do that for our product.” It was a great set of ads for Target, well-produced, that pulled folks into a fantasy holiday season they need in order to suspend reality long enough to want to go shopping. “Come to Target where we have created this alternate universe of contentment and warm hugs in a cold world.”

Nothing kills creative like a forced repeat. Creativity is a spark of timing and vision, not just copying someone else’s great idea.

Our advice: Don’t copy other tournaments’ marketing or branding. Just because it worked for someone else, doesn’t mean it will work for you. Paradoxically, the better the first tournament was at their tournament branding, the more YOUR marketing will remind teams of them, not you. Resist the urge to copy others.

If you offer teams a different experience they can get no place else, why would you want to copy someone else? Learn from their marketing, but be true to your tournament brand.

Here’s the spot from Target in 2014:

2014 Target Marshmallow World Spot

Here’s the Google Phone spot they are now running:

2015 Google Phone spot