NEW YORK: Russo Partners has teamed up with former NFL player and broadcaster Solomon Wilcots to launch its Sports-Health Alliance.
The service will capitalize on Wilcots’ connections in the sports world to pair athletes with its health or science campaigns. The offering was formalized this week, but Wilcots and the team at Russo have collaborated on campaigns since 2016.
Russo president David Schull said the goal of the alliance is forming relationships and connections between the client’s work and an athlete.
"Any agency can call a booking agent and find former player," Schull said. "We’re relying on trust and personal relationships. These are friends; these are people who have a vested interest and are more passionate about the topic than receiving a check."
Wilcots began consulting for the firm last year, but has since joined Russo as team leader of the Sports-Health Alliance. The firm has done similar work for Axovant Sciences Alzheimer’s clinical trial at Super Bowl 50, along with a campaign for CTE screenings and a series of videos for a migraine treatment.
"There’s a great tie-in between sports and the advancement of medicine and technology," Wilcots said. "Medicine has gravitated in that area because players have been willing participants on the edges and at the front of new treatments."
Russo has also worked in local broadcast markets where many former athletes are prominent for a grassroots approach, along with a traditional media and social media strategy for these campaigns.
"The connection people have with athletes is unlike any other connection people have with a celebrity," said Tony Russo, founder and CEO of the eponymous firm. "You follow people’s careers throughout your life. Later on in life, when people get these conditions or need treatment, we can have an athlete say to them, ‘I've had this treatment’ or ‘These are the new treatments that are out there and they're worth taking a look at.'"