You had to have heard about it this week: Chicago area car salesman was fired for wearing a Green Bay Packer tie to his job on the Monday after Green Bay defeated the Chicago Bears for the NFC Championship.
If you didn’t — the gist of the story is that the dealership manager asked the salesman, John Stone, to remove his tie or be fired. What the manager didn’t tell him was that he thought the tie would negatively affect the dealership’s relationship with the Bears. What Stone didn’t say was that he was wearing the tie to honor his late grandmother, who taught him to root for Green Bay.
But the details don’t matter. When media – both traditional and social — got wind of this incident, only one thing mattered: every consumer who heard it could relate to team affinity. Whether you love the Oakland Raiders or (heaven forbid) the New England Patriots, you recognize the passion of loving “your” team. You honor it.
The story set off a wave of social media chatter, responding to online stories, posts and tweets. Some say: who cares? But “fan power” (just like “likes” on Facebook) is powerful. In fact, Stone immediately got a new sales job at another area dealership and Packer fans from all over the U.S. are calling him to buy vehicles.
Head & Shoulders (partly commandeered by my previous employer, Marina Maher Communications) has done a great job of tapping this fan frenzy with marketing efforts surrounding spokesperson, Pittsburgh Steeler Troy Polamalu. Apparently Suave likes the idea so much, its tapped Green Bay Packers’ Clay Matthews, hoping for the same type of success.
So just remember marketers, you’re not just working with or sponsoring a team, you’re tapping passion. Leverage it.