Philippe Marquis is a World cup winning Canadian mogul skier and Olympian. His astute sense of business and marketing has led him to what I believe may be one of the most creative and well-rounded sponsorship campaigns an Olympic athlete has come up with.
In a nutshell, his partnership with Sushi Taxi, an eclectic local sushi spot, is nothing short of a master stroke. It is a true win-win. On one side, Phil gets funding, social recognition and exposure. On the other side, Sushi Taxi gets more business while also getting the positive vibe from supporting an athlete.
Build your network
I think one of the smartest move athletes can do, especially earlier in their career is to surround themselves with good mentors and advisors.
In Phil’s case, he partnered up to boost up his branding with Steeve Marin, a retired skier that founded 32Mars – a marketing firm based in Quebec City.
It is actually 32Mars that came with the idea of creating a cross marketing campaign involving Phil and one of their existing client: Sushi Taxi.
Thinking outside the box
The deal brought forward was a $10,000 sponsorship by Sushi Taxi but there’s a twist to it. 32Mars came up with a pretty clever proposition: if you donate $20 to Philippe Marquis, you get $40 at Sushi Taxi.
In other words, there was $20,000 worth of sushi up for grabs at half the price.
Supporters and sushi aficionados were invited, on a given date, to donate and get sushis via a crowdfunding-like platform built for the campaign.
Hat tips to Steeve and 32Mars, the campaign was executed flawlessly with the release of the promo video online, on social media and at Sushi Taxi locations in the weeks leading to it creating buzz around both brands.
The campaign sold out in 3 days. Needless to say, the 'Philippe Marquis - Sushi Taxi' promo was a hit.
After it’s success in the first edition of the promotion, it was a no brainer to replicate the tasy promo year over year.
It took less than 24 hours for the second edition to sold out and less than 30 minutes(!) the third year.
Crafting the win-win partnership
On top of the success of the campaign, there are many keys that made it profitable for both parties.
Sushi Taxi was aiming to inject vitality in its brand. Partnering with a local mogul skier heading to the Olympics was a no brainer given that they were in the works to open new location minutes away from Stoneham – Philippe’s home ski hill. The partnership was also aligned with their will to be great a corporate citizen.
For Philippe, it’s obviously a win. The campaign gave him a boost of visibility and sealed his place as a household name in the city.
Often overlooked is also the value of the sponsorship deal as a stepping stone for the next one. In which sense, the Sushi Taxi campaign established him as an athlete that can actually deliver and execute a profitable campaign.
Thinking outside the box goes a long way. Surround yourself with smart people that can help you reach your goals and bolster your offering. ( Everybody loves sushi!)