Author Archives: Sharon

Super Bowl is Turning 50 – the NFL Makes a Big Change

“Brand marketing” aren’t just words – they can seriously impact a business. In a somewhat surprising move, the NFL has determined that the letter “L” – which equates to the Roman numeral 50 – could not stand on it’s own as part of the Super Bowl’s 2016 mark for the 50th anniversary of the world’s most popular sporting event. Using this milestone event, they developed 73 different logos before they landed on a national and local version.  Check out the new national logo.  In a related move, the Atlantic Coast Conference also unveiled a new logo this week to somewhat mixed reviews.  Will these moves hurt or help the organizations?

Anniversaries and milestones are a great opportunity to take a step back and review an organization’s brand to determine if it still embodies the mission, vision and culture.  We updated our brand for our 15th anniversary, and believe it captures our bold yet bottom line nature.

What do you think of the NFL’s anniversary logo and the ACC’s new logo?  (or ours for that matter!)  Are there others you love or hate?  Let us know!

Roman numeral falls for Super Bowl 50

Roman numeral falls for Super Bowl 50



Remembering March Madness™ – A Year Ago

March Madness logo

It’s hard to remember the level of stress going on about this time last year at c21– but there was stress. We were knee deep in executing the 75th anniversary of the NCAA® Men’s Final Four®.  Louisville, Wichita State, Syracuse and Michigan had just experienced their night with Jim Nance at the Final Four Salute, and big fan events like BracketTown and The Big Dance (renamed March Madness Music Festival this year) were kicking off.  Community events were happening and you couldn’t stop the train even if you wanted to!

It’s 18 months of working hand-in-hand with some of the best and brightest at the NCAA, but most don’t realize that much of the planning and preparation rests on the shoulders of volunteers.  The Atlanta Local Organizing Committee was comprised of a small, but smart and efficient army of individuals who were, what I call “doers.”  They got stuff done – a lot of stuff!  And it was an amazing, record-breaking weekend!

As I look at this year’s match ups (with my busted bracket!) – for me, it’s not about the teams – no offense to Florida, UConn, Wisconsin or Kentucky who worked their tails off to get to the Final Four.  It’s about wishing the volunteers and the organizers of this year’s host city – Dallas – all the luck and good weather in the world for a truly successful event.  Don’t get me wrong – Atlanta broke every record in the book, and my competitive personality would like to keep it that way, but I wish Dallas all of our success and then some.

Good luck and Atlanta is thinking about you, Dallas!

Is Atlanta the Worst Sports Town? I say NO WAY!

BasketballOn January 6, 2012, Rob Parker, a writer with ESPN New York, called Atlanta the worst sports town in America.  Here’s an excerpt – “If the New York Yankees are the standard for excellence in baseball, Atlanta is the epitome of the bottom of the barrel when it comes to fan support.”

I happen to disagree.  I was here when the 90’s Braves team won the pennant and went to the World Series, and I had never seen Atlanta more fanatical and proud.  And while Atlanta may not have the deep pockets New York has to get the best players and assemble the strongest teams year in and out – I see a great deal of passion for our sports teams and for sports in general in this city.  Witness the crowds for SEC and ACC games, the Chick-Fil-A Bowl and more – the Georgia Dome sells out every time.

I personally have seen this passion around the NCAA® Men’s Final Four® when it was last here in Atlanta in 2007, and the South regional just this past weekend.  Final Four tickets are hard to get, but the NCAA has created a Super Bowl-like experience during the event, and in my opinion, it doesn’t matter if you can’t see the games.  The experience of participating in ALL the NCAA offers around Final Four is fantastic and incredibly fun!  For example, this year, New Orleans is hosting the Final Four, and KISS, The Black Keys and Jimmy Buffett are playing FREE concerts as part of the Big Dance.  These are A-list acts who are giving more than 50,000 fans the chance to see them play for zero dollars – I think that is cool, and can’t wait to hear about the line-up for Atlanta!

And speaking of 2013, it will be huge.  Atlanta will host its fourth NCAA Men’s Final Four tournament, which also happens to be the tournament’s 75th anniversary.  Now, the NCAA had 10 cities from which to choose to host this historic tournament and they selected Atlanta.  Why? Atlanta not only has great facilities, an abundance of fantastic hotels (12,000 rooms in the downtown area), shopping and dining and accessibility to the airport and MARTA, but also it has a town of enthusiastic, sports-loving fans and volunteers.

Many people don’t know that big events like the Men’s Final Four and the Super Bowl are actually run by volunteers – but they are.  And I’m excited to be part of a city that has thousands of ready, willing and able volunteers who will create the most memorable Final Four in history.

If you’re interested in volunteering for the Final Four, and more importantly proving Rob Parker (who only has 27 likes on Facebook) wrong, then go to the web form and fill in your information.  Atlanta will need approximately 3,000 volunteers to help with everything from greeting teams and guests to handing basketballs to kids participating in the Dome Dribble walk/run event and more!  Visit


Let’s face it: Vampires can rack up a lot of sexual partners…

Traditional PR is dead – or is it?  I remember hearing stories of publicity stunts like growing a peach tree, or was it a dogwood, in a hothouse to make it bloom first so this particular client could get the first media coverage.  But today, it’s a little different.  If you’re familiar with the CDC’s campaign on zombie preparedness, you should also know Planned Parenthood sent a press release on having sex with a vampire this halloween.

As a loyal fan of True Blood, I found the release to be trendy, timely and hilarious.  Traditional PR – or should I say – effective media relations has always needed smart, even clever thinking to get media pick up and ultimately educate – and today is no different.  There is just a serious amount of competition to cut through the clutter.  I think Planned Parenthood succeeded.  I will think twice before having sex with a vampire – I hope everyone will too!

Weiner Spirit

I thought about drafting a blog post yesterday when I saw the first Spirit Airlines email slip into my inbox with the following subject line “Want to see our Weiner?”  But as normal, I got busy and didn’t get to it.  However, when I received a second email today with the subject line “The Weiner Sale Expansion – Bigger and Better!”  I was moved to write. 

Now, here is a company that charges to be a member of their airline club in that, you can’t access their $9 fares unless you pay for an annual membership.  In addition, you pay for everything else – baggage, seat selection – maybe even walking onto the jetway.  This model may appeal to some (mostly college students and seniors who have the time to fly at odd times to off beat destinations, etc.), but for most, Spirit is not an airline you would use for business travel.  However, based on the email campaigns I might consider it now.

Spirit figured out how to boost their email open rates by using a “trending topic” for its subject line, which makes them smart marketers (and I like smart marketers).  With all the news focused on Anthony Weiner’s weiner – using “weiner” in the subject line was a brilliant move.  While the content of both emails was a stretch… (Check out our BIG Weiner Sale boasting fares just too hard to resist! This scandalous sale is no secret so get socially connected with fares from just $9* each way, based on roundtrip purchase! Hurry to book now before this sale gets hacked!) – I opened it solely because of the subject line – where as most times, I just hit delete.

Email marketing continues to lead the way as the number one marketing tool, and when used correctly (A/B testing, subject line relevance, etc.)  – it can be tremendously successful in driving current customers and prospects to your website. 

A big round of applause goes to Spirit’s email marketing masters.  Hope you get a boost in “weiner riders.”

If you thought logos don’t matter, well…

you’d be wrong. In a great short article by Tim Manners in Reveries: Cool News of the Day, it consolidates a series of experiments conducted by Rob Nelissen and Marijn Meijers of Tilburg University.  The research “examined people’s reactions to experimental stooges who were wearing clothes made by Lacoste and Tommy Hilfiger” in an attempt to determine if people judge others by the quality of the logos they wear. Time and again, the answer was yes. In fact, in a final experiment, the researchers gauged the level of trust between people who did and didn’t wear logos. The outcome? If you wear a fancy logo, you are more trustworthy.

This might be disheartening for those brands that are not seen as the highest quality or price…that is until you learn that when subjects were informed that the logoed shirt had been given to the other participant, it [the brand] lost its power to impress.  Must you “earn” the brand and its associated perception?

I wonder how this may play out in a presidential candidate race. News media tout the high quality and luxury Trump brand – but if Donald Trump makes a run for The White House, will his brand continue to impress and sway?

What brands impress you? Do you perceive your favorite brands as high quality? Do you have other reasons? Tell us what you think.

PRSA Nonprofit Members Learn from c21

Today, Renee Spurlin – director, and Sharon Goldmacher – president of c21 presented a webinar to PRSA members on “Online Communications — Moving Your Association/Nonprofit Forward.”  Participants earned continuing education credits for attending.  The presentation is available through PRSA until November 1.