Where Is the Brand Activation for Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos Sponsors?
UFC on FOX Sponsorship Activation Non-Existent Leading Into Their UFC Heavyweight Championship Bout
We keep waiting and waiting but it never comes. This next weekend marks one of the biggest events in Mixed Martial Arts history and yet there is little to no activation. Since it is obvious that most of the MMA industry does not seem to understand what that word means, here is a brief description:
“Activation includes events, promotions, retail display, outdoor, digital, CRM (customer relationship management), direct, and other such services.”
Why have these athletes and their agencies missed the boat? Is it because the UFC has strict guidelines against any ambush marketing for this Fox debut? Or have the managers of Dos Santos and Velasquez failed at executing on this tremendous opportunity?
Even the brands that have been supporting Cain Velasquez from the start of his career, before his fame and before the championship belt have not made the push to connect their brand to the upcoming event. Aren’t they hoping that the wider reach will sell more shirts? Is this not the opportunity of a lifetime for Dethrone? They invested heavily into Cain and having Cain at the forefront of their marketing long before he was a star. Shouldn’t they be connecting the dots?
I know it is a bad economy. That excuse only flies here in the United States. The UFC and Cain’s management have gone to great lengths to sell Cain as a Hispanic fighter (even ignoring the fact that he was born in the US) yet where are the Hispanic brands? There was no housing bust in Mexico. As a matter of fact a lot of the money from the housing boom here in the US was sent back to Mexico. So where are the Mexican brands?
The endemic brands are not taking credit or touting the investment made and their success of that investment and the non-endemic brands that have signed on are not activating leading up to this historical event. Why not? What am I missing? Is this not a dream come true?
Look at how well Anderson Silva is doing in his home country of Brazil. He is landing marquee deals with Nike and Burger King. Junior is a very likable and marketable guy, especially in Brazil. Both Mexico and Brazil would be ecstatic to have their Countrymen as the reigning UFC Champion. Yet it appears that nothing is happening. If it is happening and the activation is coming post the event, then that is just a recipe for disaster.
We are never going to attract the NASCAR type of sponsors if what we call marketing is ironing a decal on a pair of shorts. Here at Ingrained Media we have brought in main stream electronic companies, main stream boating companies, large auto manufacturers, drink companies, huge musical talent and more. We have brought them into the sport of Mixed Martial Arts. Provided them with activation and total marketing solutions. All of these companies expected activation and marketing solutions that went above and beyond logo placement. That is why we have talent on the preliminary cards getting bigger name sponsorship deals then most of the main card talent.
MMA Athletes are not commodities and these opportunities that are being created by others (mainly Zuffa) can be life changing events. What does it matter if you are fighting for the UFC Heavyweight Belt, if the guy you beat is busy counting his cash, paying off his homes (yes homes) and cars? What is the actual goal? To be a World Champion or to be able to support your family and not be in the struggle? I would rather have my talent be rich than famous. The sad part of the UFC on Fox event is that you could actually have both. These managers or agents had an opportunity to change the lives of their fighters, open flood gates for their talent, and the future of the sport. They have not done that and I guess I just do not understand why.