It used to be that you needed to win an Olympic gold medal or play major league sports to get your face on a box of Wheaties. That may be starting to change, however, as more brands are wisening up to the fact that not everyone has connection with traditional sports. Consequently, more brands are looking to broaden their audiences, reaching out to sports “outsiders” by sponsoring niche athletic lifestyles.
Puma Social: If you love Puma but don’t typically engage in any athletic activities that are more strenuous than straddling a pinball machine or flagging down a cab, then this new initiative may be for you. The campaign is celebrating those whose passion lies in “off-the-court” amusement. Though the Puma Social site is in its beta phase, visitors can sign up for a Social Club newsletter than will alert them to where the next ping pong match or skeeball tournament is happening. Whether or not the actual site will offer much more than an underused message board remains to be seen. But doesn’t it feel good to know that a brand like Puma is noticing all the practice you’ve put into your foosball skills over the years?
Gatorade Skate: Even though gulping down electrolytes certainly doesn’t make one an athlete by default, Gatorade recently started aggressively targeting alternative athletes. They’re going after the dancers, the kite boarders, and, perhaps the most long overdue, the skateboarders. One of the first skaters to sign with Gatorade is up-and-comer Sean Malto. The brand created a cross country skate tour for Malto, showing that even the athletes who don’t have designated practices and game times still need to hydrate while being active. Gatorade’s sponsorship of Malto is not only interesting because he is one of the first alternative sports figures that the brand has endorsed, but also because he is a street skateboarder (rather than a competition skater), connecting the brand with the skateboarding lifestyle more than the primetime X Gamers who rarely earn the respect of core skaters.
Now if these brands would only recognize that girls buy products too (and spend more $$ than the guys) so therefore they shouldn’t be ignored. That would be pretty smart.