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Questions About A Case Study. Questions and Case study are attached below. WIll need to find 2 article for one question. Very straight foward.

Case Study #4: Sponsorship
1. Take the role of the Eagles marketing director. It is October 1st, 2012, and following the success
of the Dawkins activation, there are a few things you want to consider.
a. How would you repeat this with AAA in the future?
b. How could you use this experience as a sales tool to find new corporate partners?
2. Now take the role of marketing director at AAA. It is October 10th, 2012 and you are meeting
for a postevent recap. Respond to your vice president’s questions as to:
a. Whether this was a worthwhile endeavor or not, and;
b. Come up with some other creative sponsorship ideas for AAA based on this example.
3. What can be adopted from this case study into today’s sponsorship practice? Provide three
items of advice for adopting examples from this case to apply to sponsorships and experiential
marketing in 2021 (use the Agency EA and Wasserman documents to support your response).
4. What are the best ways to measure the success or failure of this activation and all of its specific
elements? Make sure to provide responses back to the objectives of the various stakeholders
and how you might map those back to measurement metrics.
5. Find 2 Sport Business Journal articles which would be supplemental to this case. Briefly
summarize each article and the tie it has to learnings/outcomes.
case Studies
Volume 6 Case Study 1
From 70 Thousand to 7 Million: Integrated Activation
as a Driver of Sponsor and Property Reach
Gary Pasqualicchio, Norm O’Reilly, and Ed Elowson
Ohio University
For years, sport properties and corporate sponsors have struggled to develop strategies to activate their expansive
partnerships, particularly those without high-ranking national media coverage. This case analyzes a successful,
multilayered sponsorship activation tied to the 2012 retirement of Philadelphia Eagles star Brian Dawkins.
The Eagles, in partnership with AAA and Marvel, created and promoted a unique weekend around Dawkins’
retirement that included a NASCAR race, an NFL Sunday Night Football Game, and a meet-and-greet with
Dawkins; this weekend was marketed extensively across various modes of media. The partners’ goals were to
engage 7 million regionally-based Eagles fans, not just the 70,000 fans who would witness Dawkins’ retirement ceremony inside Lincoln Financial Field during the game. This case illustrates how the partners came
together to achieve common goals, using Dawkins’ image, presence, and positive affinity with Eagles fans.
The case details sponsorship and activation trends, the activation ratio, and other examples of sponsorship
activation tied to athlete retirement. The case asks students to take what they have learned about sponsorship
activation and analyze the Dawkins retirement, discussing what was successful, what was not, and what could
be done for future sponsorship activations in similar situations.
Keywords: sport sponsorship, sponsorship activation, sports advertising, professional sports
It was a cool, late summer evening in Philadelphia. The date was September 30, 2012, and the National Football
League (NFL)’s Philadelphia Eagles had squeaked out a 19–17 victory over the rival New York Giants, who missed a
last-second field goal that would have won the game. Off the field, the Eagles had recorded an even more resounding win.
In partnership with the American Automobile Association (AAA), and featuring elements with NASCAR and Marvel
Entertainment, the Eagles had pulled off an innovative and effective sponsorship activation centered around legendary
safety Brian Dawkins’ retirement (DiChiara, n.d.). AAA, an automobile service provider and long-time sponsor of the
Eagles, was in the sixth year of a seven-year deal and had just finishing working with the team and a number of other
partners on a major and innovative marketing initiative. AAA’s goal was clear and simple: They wanted their activation to reach the entire Eagles fan base, not just the television-targeted audience. Following the game, an executive
with AAA (personal communication, February 10th, 2014) recalled telling Eagles staff that, “We are thrilled with the
outcomes – thrilled. A lot of blood, sweat, and tears [went into this activation].” NASCAR, a stock car racing league
founded in 1948, was able to capitalize on the timing of Dawkins’ retirement ceremony to feature a local sports legend
at one of their races. Marvel, an entertainment company that started in the comic book industry in 1939, combined one
of their famous superheroes with a famous athlete to concurrently reach a mix of comic book and sports fans.
Philadelphia Eagles
The Philadelphia Eagles are an NFL club based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the fifth largest city in the United States
(see Appendix D [all appendices available online]). A vibrant city, Philadelphia is known for its arts and culture, tourism, technology cluster, and history. The Eagles franchise has won three NFL titles (1948, 1949, 1960) and has made
two Super Bowl appearances (losing in both 1980 and 2004). Established in 1933, the club is known for its devoted
fan base (considered one of the most passionate in the NFL) and has been home to many high-profile stars, including
22 Pro Football Hall of Famers (as of 2016). Owned since 1994 by entrepreneur Jeffrey Lurie, the club was valued by
Forbes in 2016 at US$2.5 billion. Market research agency Scarborough provided data on the Eagles fan base. Three
Gary Pasqualicchio, Norm O’Reilly, and Ed Elowson are with Ohio University, Athens, OH. Address author correspondence to Gary
Pasqualicchio at gpasqualicchio@yahoo.com.
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2  Pasqualicchio, O’Reilly, and Elowson
demographic metropolitan areas (DMAs) combine to make up what the club calls “Eagles Country.” They include the
Philadelphia DMA, the Harrisburg DMA, and the Wilkes-Barre DMA. Scarborough’s research indicates that approximately 56% of adult residents in these DMAs describe themselves as Eagles fans. In the Philadelphia DMA specifically,
that number rises to 64%. Appendix D provides further information on the three DMAs. As noted, there are more than
five million adult fans in the three DMAs; when extended to the entire population, including youth, the estimated fan
base in these DMAs grows to seven million.
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Often called “Triple-A” or AAA, the American Automobile Association is a federation of independently-operated motor
clubs throughout the United States. Its partner, the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA), extends the organization
throughout North America. AAA is a service provider with offerings in automotive, travel, insurance, finance, and discounted products. Founded in 1902, the organization has headquarters in Florida and has provided services to drivers for
over 100 years, ranging from mapping to safety programs to automobile racing support to driver training to conservation
efforts to lobbying. AAA’s marketing efforts are broad and include many elements of a comprehensive marketing mix,
including sponsorship. AAA’s Mid-Atlantic division in particular has made great use of Dawkins’ alignment with the
brand, even including Dawkins on promotional materials and in an internal “culture-building document.” Appendix E
provides further details on AAA’s involvement with the Eagles sponsorship.
Case Background
A key driver of sponsorship use by corporations is the ability to achieve their marketing objectives. Similarly, sponsorship—if implemented appropriately—provides the property (or “sponsee”) with the ability to generate revenue
through the sale of rights fees to interested sponsors (Cornwell, Roy, & Steinard, 2001). In order for the sponsorship
to be successful for both parties—sponsor and property—leveraging or activation opportunities need to be provided
(Lardinoit & Quester, 2001) and undertaken (Séguin, Teed, & O’Reilly, 2005). Activation tactics include any additional
activity undertaken by either the sponsor or the property to increase the effectiveness of the sponsorship. Examples
include, but are not limited to: concurrent television commercials, building a related public relationships campaign,
including the sponsorship on packaging, developing associated promotions to drive the sponsorship, associating social
media campaigns, hospitality, signage, sampling, merchandise, meet and greet with VIPs, cause-related tie-ins, and
giveaways. Marketing agency IEG defines activation as “the marketing activities that a company conducts to promote
its sponsorship” (IEG Sponsorship Report, 2010), while recent thinking divides activation between ‘standard’ (e.g.,
packaging, advertising, sampling) and ‘value-added’ (e.g., VIP hospitality, creative) activities (O’Reilly & Lafrance
Horning, 2013). Researchers also point to three reasons why activation aids with sponsorship effectiveness: (i) ability
to break through clutter, (ii) prevention of ambush marketing, and (iii) differentiation that is difficult for competitors to
mimic (Bal, Quester, & Plewa, 2009; Cornwell et al., 2001; Crompton, 2004; DeGaris, West, & Dodds, 2009; O’Keefe,
Titlebaum, & Hill, 2009). Another group of researchers has found that for high involvement products, such as an airline, activation is more effective than for low involvement ones. They also report that quality of activation should take
preference over quantity (Davies & Tsiantas, 2008).
In their review of the sponsorship literature, Cornwell and Maignan (1998) note the need to leverage sponsorships
actively and strategically with other promotion tactics. Other scholars (Crimmins & Horn, 1996) report that if a sponsor cannot afford to activate, then they should not undertake the sponsorship at all. Papadimitriou and Apostolopoulou
(2009) found that the acquisition of the sponsorship rights to a property with category exclusivity does not normally
provide the sought results unless additional investment and activity is undertaken beyond the rights fee spent to initially
acquire a property. Sponsor management teams typically classify these additional investments as “working” and “nonworking” costs. Working costs include media, on-site/in-store programs, and sideline promotions, while nonworking
costs include agency fees, production, and research-based activities (O’Reilly & Lafrance Horning, 2013). Results
from a series of studies report that sponsorships that are effectively activated achieve a range of objectives including awareness, combatting ambush marketing, and brand differentiation (e.g., Crompton, 2004; DeGaris et al., 2009;
Papadimitriou & Apostolopoulou, 2009).
In 2009, O’Keefe, Titlebaum, and Hill concluded that, “The world of sponsorship is rapidly escalating from simply
branding the corporate logo in the stadium towards activation.” They also found that the systems of measurement currently available are difficult to interpret, and that industry professionals across the four leagues surveyed (NFL, NBA,
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From 70 Thousand to 7 Million   3
NHL, MLB) struggle to come to a consensus to measure return on investment (ROI). In IEG’s Sponsorship Report
(2016), a guide to sponsorship, they suggest that companies would spend US$22.4 billion on sponsorship in North
America in 2016. With sponsorship budgets increasing, companies across North America are realizing the benefits of
activation and the potential for ROI. O’Keefe et al. (2009) stated that despite the significant amount of money being
spent, there were not enough resources allocated to the activation of these sponsorships outside the initial rights agreements. At the time, they reported that there may not be a perfect model to measure the full value of being linked to a
professional sports team, and that teams and sponsors must continue to strive for effective measurement to expand the
industry. With rising budgets and additional resources, properties are realizing the benefit of activation, and are able to
measure their success—to a certain extent—with the activation ratio (O’Reilly & Lafrance Horning, 2013).
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Activation Ratio
Although scholars (e.g., Chadwick & Thwaites, 2004) have reported that uncertainty exists around how much to spend
on sponsorship budgets beyond what was invested in rights fees, recent work has proposed the activation ratio as a
type of formula by which to guide these decisions (O’Reilly & Lafrance Horning, 2013). The activation ratio reflects
the magnitude of the investment by the sponsor in activation as compared with what they invested in the rights fees for
that sponsorship. Thus, an activation ratio of 1.7:1 means that the sponsor invested $1.70 in activation for every $1.00
they spent on the rights fees. Previous research has suggested that the ratio of expenditures to activate a sponsorship
investment should be at least equal to, or greater than, the amount spent on the investment itself (ideally from 1:1–8:1)
(Séguin et al., 2005; Tripodi, Hirons, Bednall, & Sutherland, 2003), which, in turn, enables the engagement of target
audiences via creative, flexible, and fully-integrated activation platforms (Davies & Tsiantas, 2008; O’Keefe et al.,
2009; Papadimitriou & Apostolopoulou, 2009; Weeks, Cornwell, & Drennan, 2008).
Activation ratios between 1:1 and 2:1 are most commonly found in the industry (CSLS, 2012; O’Keefe et al.,
2009; Seguin & O’Reilly, 2007). In addition, organizations that use agencies are shown to deliver stronger and more
strategic activation programs, with higher activation ratios. In 2009, a case study of a highly recognizable global brand’s
Canadian branch showed that hockey was found to have the highest media activation ratio (measuring spending on
activation through media channels) at 3.3, followed by basketball at 1.3, and football at only 0.4 (O’Reilly & Lafrance
Horning, 2013). It can be inferred from this study that the popularity of hockey in Canada led to a higher emphasis on
sponsorship activation and that for professional football in the United States, the numbers could be reversed. Further
analysis of the study reinforced the need to strategically activate sponsorship using specific business objectives, brand,
and past sponsorship efforts. Specific activation plans, along with a ratio of 1:1–7:1 was recommended (O’Reilly &
Lafrance Horning, 2013).
Current Trends in Professional Sport Sponsorship and Activation
Sponsorship has continued to grow in recent years despite the presence of difficult economic climates around the world.
IEG (2016) approximated that more than US$60 billion would be spent on sponsorship rights fees globally in 2016—a
4.7% increase from 2015—with even more money estimated to be spent on activation. IEG also estimated investment
in sport sponsorship rights fees in North America at about US$22.4 billion in 2016, a 4.7% growth over 2015. Recent
North American industry research (CSLS, 2016) reports on a number of important trends in sponsorship, two of which
are relevant to this case. First, the concept of ‘festivalization’ is introduced and supported by sponsors’ increasingly
reporting high proportions of their sponsorship in festivals and higher ROI from festival sponsorships than others. It
could be possible to consider the marketing elements of this case as the act of ‘festivalizing’ a typical NFL game.
Second, the CSLS (2016) analyzes its results from 2006 to 2016 to show that activation spending is trending away from
traditional promotional tactics such as advertising, public relations, and media buys toward more event-based activities such as hospitality, internal marketing, and creation of branded content. The research predicts that rights fees and
activation spend will hold steady over the coming years, but that the nature of activation will change. The academic
literature also points to a number of recent trends in activation related to digital, mobile, and online mediums, such as
sponsor websites, Twitter, and Facebook (O’Keefe et al., 2009; Weeks et al., 2008).
Sponsorship Activation, Athlete Endorsement and Retirement
Athlete endorsement is the particular context of sponsorship where the property is an athlete, as opposed to an event,
a team, a league, an association, a venue, or other sport property. In both sponsorships and endorsements, the brand
activates around the partnership to enhance its impact and ROI. Thus, the term ‘sponsorship activation’ applies to both
contexts, including athlete endorsement and retirement. As such, the term sponsor is used to describe the brand in both
the sponsorship and athlete endorsement situations. Similarly, the term sponsorship activation is used to describe efforts
to enhance the benefit of either a sponsorship or an athlete endorsement.
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4  Pasqualicchio, O’Reilly, and Elowson
For years, corporate sponsors (at the club/organization/league level) and athlete endorsers (at the individual level)
have taken advantage of the media scrutiny involved with athlete retirement to promote their brand/message(s). For
example, when New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter announced that 2014 would be his final season, two of his
key sponsors, Gatorade and Nike/Jordan, took advantage with unique campaigns. Notably, Gatorade’s “2” campaign
and Nike/Jordan’s “RE2PECT” campaign demonstrated successful sponsorship activation principles. Nike reaped
unexpected financial benefits when Jeter hit a walk-off single against the Baltimore Orioles in his final game at Yankee
Stadium, with increased traffic to Nike’s website and its trademarked “RE2PECT” baseball caps sold out within minutes (Heitner, 2014). The “RE2PECT” hashtag began trending on Facebook and Twitter and a YouTube video around
the campaign reached 8 million views. The same day of Jeter’s final home game showed Nike’s revenues up 15% to
US$8 billion. Gatorade’s “2” campaign provided one of the best advertising spots in this history of athlete retirement
sponsorship activation. The 90-s salute to Jeter, set to Frank Sinatra’s “My Way,” showed Jeter walking the streets of
New York interacting with fans. The spot garnered over 2 million views in its first 24 hours (Lee, 2014). Jeter himself
had input in the song selection and Gatorade allowed him to mingle with fans in a genuine way (McCarthy, 2014).
Gatorade followed up the wildly successful spot with a full-page ad written by Jeter in the New York Daily News and
Sports Illustrated. In addition, Gatorade placed customized cups, coolers, and towels in the Yankee dugout with Jeter’s
#2 in place of the traditional Gatorade “G” logo for a game on Sept. 22. While Gatorade was an individual endorser
of Derek Jeter and not a corporate sponsor at the club level, their process and activation strategy around an athlete’s
retirement can be mirrored for the latter.
Other examples of sponsorship activation around athlete retirements include giveaways such as replica banners,
jerseys, and bobble heads (Table 1). When Donovan McNabb, another Philadelphia Eagles legend, retired in 2013,
Caesars and Harrah’s Pool hosted a retirement party with cocktail reception (Casino Connection, 2013). In addition,
retired athletes can continue to profit from endorsements long after their playing days are over. Forbes (2016) publishes
an annual study of the sponsorship earnings of retired athletes across the globe. NBA Hall of Famer Michael Jordan
topped the list with US$110 million earnings the year before thanks to deals with Hanes, Gatorade, and Nike’s Jordan
brand. Soccer star David Beckham and golf legend Arnold Palmer rounded out the top three, with athletes from football,
racecar driving, and tennis also among the top 10.
Case Study: From 70 Thousand to 7 Million
Capitalizing on an Opportunity
On April 17th, 2012, the NFL announced its regular season schedule, including times, television coverage, and matchups. The preseason and regular season schedule for the Eagles is attached as Appendix A. Following the release of the
schedule, a key game was identified on September 30th between the Eagles and the defending Super Bowl champions,
the New York Giants. The NFC East showdown was scheduled as the nationally-televised Sunday Night Football (SNF)
game for that week. Television network NBC held the rights to that game from the NFL and has built the SNF property
into one that attracts significant national television audiences. During the 2011–2012 television season, for instance, SNF
was the top program for both adults 18–49 and total viewers in the United States. Nielsen estimated more than 20.7 million total viewers on average for each of the 15 SNF telecasts that year (Andreeva, 2012). To emphasize, in 2011–2012,
SNF knocked American Idol out of the top-watched program slot following eight straight years in that position.
Table 1 Examples of Sponsorship Activation and Athlete Retirement
Martin Brodeur
Prudential, New Jersey
Replica banner, ticket promotion, jersey
New Jersey Devils
Lisa Leslie
Farmer’s Insurance, LA
Jersey backpacks to first 5,000 fans
Ingram (2010)
Allen Iverson
Wells Fargo, Gatorade,
Philadelphia 76ers
Craig Biggio
Coca-Cola, Kroger, Houston
Retirement weekend, bobblehead, replica
jersey, replica HOF plaque, ticket package
Rohrbacher (2015)
Donovan McNabb
Harrah’s Resorts, Caesars
(Atlantic City)
Retirement weekend, cocktail reception,
pool party
Casino Connection
Mike Piazza
NY Mets, Citi, Topps, Delta
Retirement weekend, replica jersey,
bobblehead, ticket package
New York Mets
Ticket package, Iverson-themed promotional Philadelphia 76ers
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From 70 Thousand to 7 Million   5
The importance of this game for the Eagles was clear, playing a large-market rival who happened to be the defending Super Bowl champion on national television. However, the Eagles were not the only ones to notice the schedule
and the tremendous marketing potential of this game. Managers at AAA, one of the Eagles’ major, long-standing
sponsors, had also noted the marketing opportunities the game presented. In addition, AAA management recognized
the potential fit with one of their other sponsored properties, the AAA 400 NASCAR race held annually at the Dover
International Speedway in Dover, Delaware, which—coincidentally—was slotted for 2 p.m. on the same day of the
Eagles/Giants game.
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If the good fortune of having the SNF game the same day as the AAA 400 was not enough, on April 23rd, 2012—just
one week following the announcement of the 2012 NFL schedule—legendary Eagles safety Brian Dawkins announced
his retirement from the NFL following three seasons with the Denver Broncos. Before his stint in Denver, Dawkins had
played 13 memorable seasons with the Eagles, where his performances and charisma endeared him to the Philadelphia
fans. Appendix B contains additional background on Dawkins and his career.
Most agree that Dawkins is one of the most popular players in the club’s history. As an illustration of his popularity,
in 2015, 3 years after this case and his retirement, Dawkins was (still) named the “Most Popular Living Eagle” (see
Appendix B). In response to the announcement of his retirement from the Broncos and professional football, the Eagles
began planning a jersey retirement ceremony for Dawkins for the 2012 season (McPherson, 2012). When a major star
retires, a ceremony to commemorate the event is typically of interest to a sports club’s fans. Reports indicated that both
Dawkins and the Eagles were contemplating such an endeavor.
Case Stakeholders
The key stakeholders in this sponsorship are the Eagles, AAA, Marvel, the AAA 400 NASCAR race, and Dawkins
himself. The Eagles, a leading NFL club in a large market, are the sponsorship property. Their objectives include: (i) to
drive revenue by attracting and renewing sponsors, (ii) to provide their sponsors with high return on their investment,
(iii) to promote their club and players to generate increased interest in the club, and (iv) to achieve maximum exposure for the Eagles brand. AAA, a nationwide service provider to owners of automobiles, is a sponsor, as is Marvel,
an entertainment company the produces comic books, merchandise, movies, and more. AAA is an ongoing sponsor
of the Eagles, with Marvel partnering for the Dawkins activation only. Sponsors have many objectives which could
be relevant to this case including: (i) to increase sales, (ii) to build affinity with certain target markets, (iii) to engage
internal stakeholders such as staff, (iv) to enhance their reputation, (v) to build awareness of their product(s), and (vi)
to leverage existing marketing assets. Dawkins, the star athlete, is an element of the activation hired for the day. The
AAA 400 is another property that AAA sponsors integrated into the activation.
Development of the Sponsorship
Based on public reports, the Eagles, AAA, and their agencies began envisioning the summer of 2012 with the goal of
building out the concept to activate the AAA-Eagles sponsorship around the September 30th SNF game, an appearance
by Dawkins, and the AAA 400 race. Executive vice president, AAA Mid-Atlantic Marke Dickinson was excited to work
with Dawkins, referring to him as “a beloved Eagles legend and also a long-time AAA member” (AAA Mid-Atlantic,
2012). Dickinson pointed to Dawkins’ work ethic and leadership making him “the perfect person to represent the AAA
brand.” The following elements of the sponsorship were observed (Table 2).
1. Dawkins Weekend—The central point of the activation was around Brian Dawkins appearing at both the SNF
game and the AAA 400. According to reports, Dawkins was supportive—the Eagles fans had very high affinity
for him and he loved the fans back (Berman, 2012).
2. Meet & Greet Promotion with Dawkins—Dawkins Weekend was launched with a smaller event on Friday night
to build interest. A contest would be used in the weeks upcoming to create a buzz and tease the weekend. Dubbed
the “Eagles Welcome Back Brian Dawkins Sweepstakes” and promoted as the “2012 AAA Eagles Win a Night
with a Legend Sweepstakes,” the contest was open to legal adult residents of Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New
Jersey. The contest ran from April 29th to September 14th, with entry possible by completing an entry online at
www.PhiladelphiaEagles.com or by mail. A draw was planned for September 18th, where 50 winners would be
selected from the entries received. Each of the 50 winners and a guest would be able to attend a special VIP meet
and greet reception to honor Dawkins on Friday, September 28th at Lincoln Financial Field or NovaCare Complex.
The prize was valued at approximately $350. The promotion ended up being a success, with 3,216 entries received
and 500,000 web impressions on the Eagles’ splash page (internal communication, Philadelphia Eagles).
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6  Pasqualicchio, O’Reilly, and Elowson
3. Take the Brand Outside the Stadium—A key objective for the activation was to reach beyond spectators at the
SNF game and the AAA 400. It was reported that AAA, in particular, wanted to take their brand outside of the
stadium. They wanted to move the sponsorship’s reach from the 70,000 stadium spectators to the estimated Eagles
fan base of 7,000,000 fans, leading to a variety of activation elements designed to reach fans outside of the stadium
and the AAA 400 spectators.
4. AAA 400—The good fortune of the AAA 400 being scheduled on the same day as SNF was recognized by AAA,
who took advantage of the opportunity. The AAA 400 was integrated into the Dawkins Weekend and plans were
made to involve Dawkins in the car race, serving as the Grand Marshal. News of Dawkins acting as Marshal
was publicized throughout Dover, less than 100 miles from Philadelphia, reaching Eagles fans across state lines
(WGMD Radio, 2012). In addition, the news was published in several press releases and pamphlets for fans. An
additional partnership with Michael Waltrip Racing and one of their drivers, Martin Truex Jr., was formed to provide an additional element to the activation and another platform to promote AAA. One of the reasons that Truex
was selected was that he is from the Philadelphia area and an Eagles fan. Dawkins served as an honorary pit crew
member for Truex and gave the “start your engines” introduction. Truex’s car also had Dawkins’ name painted on
its side and he wore a special Philadelphia Eagles helmet.
5. Collaboration—The partners made a commitment to each other up front that they would do whatever was required
to make the Dawkins activation work. All knew from previous experience that if this agreement was not in place,
that the activation would not reach its potential. Thus, efforts were undertaken early in the process to achieve buy-in
and develop a plan to coordinate all of the moving parts that would be involved.
6. Marvel Partnership—Dawkins’ nickname of “Weapon X” and its association with the character Wolverine,
Dawkins’ favorite comic book superhero, led to a partnership with Marvel as part of the activation (Petzar, 2012).
Marvel agreed to join the activation, with a number of associated elements, including 70,000 Marvel Wolverine
prints, e-mail and social media blasts, a videoboard feature, and articles/advertisements in the local and national
media (internal communication, Philadelphia Eagles). Marvel editor, Bill Rosemann, summed up the partnership,
saying: “A peaceful family man while off the field, once he donned his #20 jersey, Brian Dawkins—inspired by
and embodying the best traits of the tenacious and unstoppable Wolverine—was one of the most intense, hardhitting, resilient and respected players in the history of the game. Marvel is excited and honored to partner with
the Eagles and AAA in honoring one of Philly’s finest” (DiChiara, n.d.).
7. Media Activations –A number of media-related activities were planned, including:
a. NBC—Sunday Night Football, the most watched television program in the United States (Appendix F). Jersey
retirement ceremony shown at halftime.
b. ESPN—Television mentions and a Front Row (2012) podcast recapping the retirement weekend.
c. SPEED TV—Two behind-the-scenes episodes on the now-defunct racing network.
d. Radio—Two spots were broadcast on 94 WIP, one on NBC, one on the Comcast Pregame Show, and one on
97.5 The Fanatic on 9/29 and 9/30.
e. Social Media—Two Facebook posts, receiving a combined 167,000 impressions (internal communication,
Philadelphia Eagles), and one Twitter contest.
f. Local Philadelphia media—Several Philadelphia area media networks, including the local CBS affiliate, picked
up the story of Brian Dawkins Weekend and promoted the schedule of events (Leon, 2012).
8. Promotional Tactics—Promotional tactics implemented included banner ads, magnets, photo marketing, overlays,
social media posts, giveaway items, billboards, and more (Appendix G). Over a 4-day period before the SNF game,
a series of seven billboards were run in the Philadelphia area promoting the game and retirement ceremony, with
AAA tagged as the “Game Presenter.” These billboards received 1,957,806 “eyes on impressions” (EOI), calculating the amount of people who saw them in that time frame (internal communication, Philadelphia Eagles).
As the eight key elements of the activation suggest, there were a large number of moving and integrated parts
involved. Coordination of these activities was vitally important for the success of the activation. To guide the coordination, the parties established their goal of reaching all seven million Eagles fans.
The Activation Weekend
Appendix C provides the planned integrated schedule for the day and Appendix G outlines the activation outcomes. The
AAA 400 had strong television ratings (Jayski, 2012) and many fans wore Dawkins jersey to the race (Smith, 2012).
The Eagles game did well on television (see Table 3 and Appendix F). Many elements of the activation were broadcast
live on PhiladelphiaEagles.com (CSN Philly, 2012) and Dawkins himself was highly engaged (Fleischman, 2012).
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From 70 Thousand to 7 Million   7
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Table 2 Activation Elements
Dawkins Weekend
AAA 400, Dawkins helicopter back to Sunday Night Football (SNF) game, jersey
retirement ceremony at halftime
Meet & greet promotion with Dawkins
“AAA Win a Night with a Legend Sweepstakes”—50 winners attend an exclusive
reception with Dawkins
Take the Brand Outside the Stadium
Activation elements designed beyond the SNF game to reach all seven million
Eagles fans
AAA 400
Dawkins as Grand Marshal, honorary pit crew member for Martin Truex, “start your
engines” introduction
Buy-in and a plan from all sponsorship activation partners
Marvel partnership
Dawkins “Weapon X” prints, e-mail and social media blasts, videoboard feature
Media activation
TV and radio spots on national and local networks, social media
Promotional tactics
Banner ads, magnets, photo marketing, giveaways, billboards, etc.
Table 3 NFL Ratings for Sunday 9/30/12 (Philadelphia DMA Only)
P2+ (Viewers)
Patriots vs. Bills
1:00 PM
49ers vs. Jets
1:00 PM
Saints vs. Packers
4:30 PM
Abbreviations: NFL = National Football League; DMA = demographic metropolitan area.
Discussion Questions
The activities around the September 30th, 2012 game activation provide for important education for the case stakeholders. Specifically, the following decision points can be considered for future learning:
Case Questions: Eagles
• Take the role of the Eagles marketing director. It is October 1st, 2012, and following the success of the Dawkins
activation, three questions are important for you to consider. First, how would you repeat this with AAA in the
future? Second, how could this learning inform other activations with other sponsorship partners? Finally, how
could you use this experience as a sales tool to find new corporate partners?
Case Questions: AAA
• Now take the role of marketing director at AAA. It is October 10th, 2012 and you are meeting as a postevent recap.
Respond to your vice president’s questions as to (i) whether this was a worthwhile endeavor or not, and (ii) come
up with some other creative sponsorship ideas for AAA based on this example.
Case Questions: External Agency
• Now take the role of the principal consultant for an agency hired by both the Eagles and AAA to assess the sponsorship and make recommendations for the future. Answer the following questions:
i. Based on the info you have in the case, was the sponsorship a success?
ii. If you could go back in time, what methods and metrics would you put in place to measure the sponsorship?
iii. What other activation elements or activities could be implemented around a retired star athlete with a very high
fan following?
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8  Pasqualicchio, O’Reilly, and Elowson
Case Questions: General
What can be learned from a successful sponsorship activation case such as this?
In your opinion, could this activation be repeated by the Eagles or was it a one-off? Explain your answer.
What can be adopted from this case study into everyday sponsorship practice? Provide three items of advice.
How can an activation such as this one help with future sponsorship renewals and acquisitions?
How could these eight elements of the sponsorship (listed in the case) be coordinated in a further execution to
achieve the goal of reaching seven million?
vi. What are the best ways to measure the success or failure of this activation and all of its specific elements?
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From 70 Thousand to 7 Million   9
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