Shaq's retirement kick-starts Tout's brand awareness push

Shaquille O'Neal approached Tout, a social media platform that allows people to provide real-time video updates, to say he was interested in using the service to announce his retirement.

Client: Tout
Agencies: MPRM (traditional PR), Digital Royalty (digital)
Campaign: Shaq retires on Tout
Duration: May-July 2011

In mid-April, Shaquille O'Neal approached Tout, a social media platform that allows people to provide real-time video updates, to say he was interested in using the service to announce his retirement.

Strategy
As an early stage company still in testing mode, Tout saw an ideal opportunity to raise its brand awareness, so it began working with MPRM and Digital Royalty to ensure it was referenced in the coverage surrounding the basketball star's announcement.

Tactics
Immediately after the announcement, MPRM distributed the video and a tout.com link to top-tier sports and tech outlets, as well as national and local news media. MPRM also monitored Twitter to find reporters interested in Tout and encourage them to cover the innovative video platform, according to Rachel McCallister, chairman of MPRM.

To keep momentum going after the announcement, Shaq used the service to ask fans what his post-retirement nickname should be. That alone garnered him 60,000 more followers on Twitter. "Because Tout has a very low barrier for the everyday consumer to use, fans were engaging instantly," says Digital Royalty founder and CEO Amy Jo Martin.

Results
The campaign generated 2,000-plus Tout media mentions and 500,000 views of the video on tout.com. Google searches for Tout were up 9,900% within five minutes of Shaq's announcement and 'Shaq retires' became a global trending topic on Twitter.

Numerous major outlets covered and mentioned Tout, including Good Morning America, Today, and TechCrunch.

"It was an amazing way for us as a new brand to give a lot of people exposure to the whole value proposition quickly," says Michael Downing, CEO of Tout.

Future
The campaign is over, but Tout is still working with both firms and Shaq is still using the service.

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