Steelers vs. Cowboys in social media co-opetition

Posted December 13th, 2012 by Pat Coyle   •   2 Comments   

Finally, two sports teams that get it!
The Steelers face the Cowboys this Sunday in Dallas, and thanks to some clever work by each team’s digital crews, the franchises are competing in social media spheres as well.

Steelers & Cowboys are evenly matched in both realms.

Both teams have 7-6 records this season, and they’re battling for playoff spots; and each has around 5 million social media fans to date. Regardless of what happens on the field, the team that adds more social followers will win the social battle. OK, this is small consolation, but fun stuff all the same!

IMO, the Steelers and Cowyboys should be commended on taking an enlightened view of digital media. The contest page lives on both teams’ sites. The page allows fans to share the contest with their friends, and vote for either team. So in theory, a Steelers fan could vote for the black and gold right from the Cowboys page. Be still my heart!

View Steelers page
View Cowboys page

What’s cool about this, to me, is that the teams are working together. They know their fans don’t like the other team, so they’re giving fans a means to “defeat” the other team. This is empowering in a weird (but good) way for fans. It’s a pride thing. And we’ve seen this type of thing work before.

Campbell’s Chunky Soup launched its “Click for Cans” promotion in 1998 and let it run for more than 10 years. The long run of this program hinged on one thing: fans want their teams to win. When I worked at Colts we used to get calls and E mails from season ticket holders every year when this campaign was running. Our fans begged us to promote the contest so Colts would win…and since Chunky wasn’t a sponsor, this presented the team with a bit of a conundrum: please fans, or toe the financial line? (And this pre-dates Facebook).

Click for Cans had one thing that this new contest is missing: a prize. The Chunky contest allowed NFL fans to earn soup for hungry people in their cities. The Steelers vs. Cowboys tilt offers no such payoff for fans. I’d like to see a tangible prize, maybe the owner of the losing team tweeting his concession with a twitpic of himself wearing opponents jersey.

I also think teams should have even more fun with this contest. Hold a press conference – or maybe record one on Google Hangout and post online. There needs to be some context, or back story built here. Let’s have the teams come right out and say “our fans are better than your fans, and we can prove it!” Then each team should be ready with quotes for the media illustrating why their fans are better than other team’s fans….poking fun in a lighthearted way at the other team as LA Kings did during playoffs last year. That’s how this program gets picked up on major media, which is what is really needed for it to tip / trend.

Anyway, I love to see campaigns like this and believe there should be more like it. Great use of social to engage and empower fans. It also reminds me of what Miracle Whip did with its “we’re not for everyone” campaign. People follow teams (and brands) because they love them. Which naturally means they “hate” the opposition. Without a worthy foe sports would be boring! Give fans a chance to express themselves along the lines of your rivalries. It’s fun for fans, and will net big results for the team.

I don’t have a dog in this fight, but I hope both teams get a million new followers out of the deal.


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2 Responses

  1. Sandy Munoz says:

    Lets Go STEELERS!!!!! I’m a die hard Steeler fan win or lose I’m faithful forever cant wait for Sunday!!! Love my men of steel ready to hold up that STEEL curtain!!!

  2. Jessica FM says:

    I think that this is such a great marketing and promotion campaign for both teams and Campbell’s. I find it surprising that more teams and companies don’t do more of this. It is crucial for teams to empower and engage fans through. I’d love to see this done by more MLB teams as the baseball season continues.

    Jessica Fonseca-Moreira
    A.B. Freeman School of Business
    Tulane University

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