Scoring Points on the Web

January 18th, 2008

Toronto Raptor Chris Bosh is one of the best young players in the NBA but he’s still very much an unknown to the sports-watching public. But now he’s finally making a name for himself… as a hysterical used car salesman asking fans to vote him into the NBA All-Star Game.

Bosh’s video, posted less than a month ago, has already been viewed close to 400,000 times. What’s impressive is that Bosh – young multi-millionaire who may very well have better things to do – wrote and shot the video himself.

It’s the best example of today’s athletes doing what so many web-savvy people are doing – they’re taking matters into their own hands. Bosh’s Internet sensation drew the attention of yesterday’s Wall Street Journal. The notion of self-promotion for athletes is not a novel concept by any means – whether it’s through appearances, the web, blogs, etc. But YouTube is giving them more control – allowing athletes to go as far as creating their own ads and publicity.

Phoenix Suns star Steve Nash also is playing the new game. Nash wears and promotes Nike, but felt their ad campaign for him didn’t quite give his fans enough. So he took matters into his own hands, with Nike’s blessing. The end result is “Training Day” – a documentary-type look of Nash on the court.

It turned out so well that Nike is now welcoming other athletes to follow Nash’s lead.

With more and more user-generated content popping up every day, there is always a risk that someone, somewhere will go too far with their content – but it might be worth the risk. Consider Bosh. A week after his self-made YouTube video was posted, he saw an 86% jump in his All-Star votes. Even better, Bosh now has his own Brand Channel on the site – allowing him to earn 55% of ad revenue earned there – not that he needs the cash. If Bosh’s campaign proves to be a success and he winds up in New Orleans next month, there might be a lot more athletes lining up to see where YouTube can get them – regardless of any reputation risks.

Ain’t that right, Bubba?

Posted Under: Digital & Social Media, Viral & Guerilla Marketing
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