When the New Jersey Nets basketball team was looking for a way to further engage its fans and build loyalty, it decided to create a campaign that would help its unemployed fans get jobs, knowing that an effort centered on the economy would hit home with many of its fans.
“This topic of unemployment affects everyone, and this is where we could have impact on the community,” says Brett Yormark, CEO of the Nets.
Barry Baum, VP of business and entertainment communications, decided to pitch Newark, NJ-based The Star-Ledger first to get initial word out in a local paper, and then pitch larger outlets to achieve a broad reach, resonate with the public, and generate attention, he says.
“One of our main objectives is to drive fans to come to our games and create fan loyalty,” he adds. “We are investing in our fans now with the idea that they would hopefully invest in us.”
The Nets created a section on its Web site where unemployed fans could submit their resumes, which the team then forwarded to its 120 sponsors and business owning-season ticket holders who wanted to be involved. It also held a job fair and gave free Nets game tickets to almost everyone who participated in the program, as a way to provide them with a break from the stress of life.
After the story in the Ledger, Baum pitched to major outlets like CNN, Good Morning America, and the AP. The Nets also promoted the program on njnets.com.
Besides generating interest with various major outlets, the program received about 3,000 resumes at the job fair and gave away a free ticket to each participant.
“The idea really resonated in a way we probably could have never expected,” Baum says.
The Nets plan to hold another job fair soon, and it continues to forward resumes to sponsors.
PR team: New Jersey Nets
Campaign: Nets employment program
Duration: November 2008