Milwaukee company sponsors U.S. Olympic hopeful in quest for Games
In the ongoing efforts to get your name known to the public, Milwaukee companies resort to all kinds of things.
They paint city buses. They buy huge billboards. They try to solve the mysteries of social media exposure. Some of these gimmicks work, others do not.
Well, how about buying your very own Olympic athlete?
That's what Hanson Dodge Creative, one of Milwaukee's leading design and marketing ﬁrms has done with some surprising results. They've gotten mentions in both Time magazine and Sports Illustrated.
Not a bad deal for $11,000.
Here's how this whole thing started.
Nick Symmonds is the top ranked 800-meter runner in the United States and a favorite for the Olympic team. He's also the sixth ranked 800-meter runner in the world. He's also a smart and savvy athlete, well versed in the miasma that is funding for our Olympic hopefuls.
To raise money, and to also bring attention to how ridiculous those funding rules are, he placed his name on eBay and offered to wear a company logo for the biggest bid. Hanson Dodge Creative saw the opportunity, bid $11,000, and a marriage was born.
HDC, which was started in the back room of a duplex on Maryland Avenue by Ken Hanson about 30 years ago, is one of the leading active lifestyle agencies in the country. Among their clients are Wilson Sporting Goods and Trek, two major forces in the active lifestyle industry. Its Third Ward headquarters is a bustling hub of creative energy.
Symmonds has agreed to wear the agency's @HansonDodge Twitter name on his shoulder at events throughout the world. This guy is no slouch, with a personal best of 1-minute, 43.76-seconds – one of the world's fastest times.
"We liked Nick's innovative approach to leveraging the power of social media in support of his racing efforts," said Hanson.
He said the company was going to engage Symmonds in the creation of an Active Lifestyle Advisory Board to develop a synergy between athletes, corporations and the strategic marketing of Hanson-Dodge.
"Nick is a climber, hiker, ﬁsherman, kayaker and outdoor enthusiast," Hanson said. "We share the same mission, to make the world more active and work with the world's best brands to do that."
Symmonds recognizes that his deal is unique, but hardly singular.
Olympic hopefuls who are not big name stars with tons of sponsorships scramble all the time to raise funds for their training. And he's trying to use his sponsorship with Hanson-Dodge to improve conditions for athletes who aren't as famous as he is.
"I can't watch these governing bodies let all the advertising dollars pass through them, and only allow a fraction to trickle down to the athletes," he said. "It's not right."
What this amounts to for one Milwaukee company is a creative way to get their name out there, to help one athlete fulﬁll an Olympic dream, and call attention to the inequities of funding support for all athletes.
All in all, not a bad business, and moral, decision.
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