DC Curling team blogads: “momentum beyond our wildest dreams”
Saturday, February 11th, 2006
I wrote John Hlinko, one of the maestros of political viral marketing, to see what was up with the blogads he’s been buying for “the DC Curling team.” The what? Exactly. Here’s the back story:
In just two weeks, the Washington DC Olympic Curling team has gained huge momentum, explosive coverage in the blogs, and media coverage (print, TV, etc). In the process, it’s brought a wave of attention to the lack of DC voting representation in Congress — and has also been a fantastic guerrilla marketing campaign for Labatt beer, our sponsor. And blogads.com was a critical part of this success.
Here’s how it started…
Mike Panetta is my buddy and co-worker at Grassroots Enterprise. He’s also the founder of DumpSantorum.com (part of the blogad network). Anyway, back in 2004, he was watching the summer Olympics, and noticed that Puerto Rico had an Olympic team. And so did Guam and the Virgin Islands. So he thought… well heck, they don’t have Congressional representation either. So if that’s enough to justify them having teams, why not the District of Columbia as well? And specifically, he came up with the idea of the winter Olympic curling team.
And that’s really the heart of it — a creative way to raise awareness for the fact that Washington, DC has no voting Congressional representation.
Flash forward to late 2005… Mike was talking with me and some other colleagues at Grassroots who live in DC — and who were equally pissed off by the lack of representation. More importantly, we thought his idea was a riot. So we teamed together, built the web site, and launched it in late January, 2006. The heart of the site was a letter writing campaign to the International Olympic Committee, asking them to officially recognize the DC team.
Well, we decided that if we were an Olympic curling team, we probably needed to actually go curling. So we went up to the Potomac Curling Club, and the great folks there tought us how to do it. We got lots of great pictures as well, and even some video, which we now released on the site as our “inspiring” training video.
Well, one of our buddies at Grassroots, Bill McIntyre, had been in contact with some folks at Labatt Beer from an earlier effort. He told them about the DC Olympic team. They thought it was brillliant, and agreed to sponsor it. Specifically, they sent us some sweet uniforms and are sending some full on warm-up suits.
Further, they agreed to give a few thousand dollars for us to run some online advertising. Needless to say, we went with blog ads in a heartbeat — the value is great, and more important, we know the media reads them. And ultimately, the media is who we want to reach.
Well, the good news is that in just two weeks, we’ve already had momentum beyond our wildest dreams:
– Nearly 10,000 letters have been sent to the IOC, asking for recognition of the team.
– The story has been all over the blogs
– The Washington Post wrote a *huge* article on us last week, calling this the best effort on behalf of DC voting rights since 2000 (when they added “Taxation without representation” to the license plates)
– Salon followed up this week with a great article
– Last night, it ratcheted up further — with a great story on Fox 5 news, here in DC.
At our official launch party last night, in DC, the place was packed, NBC news filmed us, and a number of DC elected officials came to show their support.
When it comes to getting attention for DC’s plight, and when it comes to creative marketing for Labatt Beer, the “bang for the buck” has been off the charts. And Blogads.com has been a critical part of this.
Here is one of John’s blogads. I’ve only curled once, driving way out of NYC with a wall street buddy to some secret court or field or rink or whatever you call the place. A key play in curling is the carom, bounching your stone off the other guy’s so you wind up in a key new spot. With all the ice, weird angle, long delivery and reliance on random bounces at the other end of the court… it’s a lot like advertising.