Despite their outward appearance, Olson + Co.'s two new est clients, the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball team and Grain Belt beer, are not dissimilar in character, according to the shop's president.
"They're both incredible branding challenges," said John Olson. "That's the kind of thing that's right for an agency like ours."
The Cavs win marks the third professional sports team on the Minneapolis agency's roster. The shop already handles marketing for the Minnesota Wild hockey team and the Detroit Pistons basketball team.
Olson credited the agency's fan-centric approach—which sells the experience over the team—to bringing in the Cavs business.
"We should package this for mula," Olson said. "It's simply about returning the team to the owners, who are the fans."
O + Co.'s work for the Minnesota Wild uses the tagline, "Minnesota's Hockey," while last year's campaign for the Pistons appealed to the Detroit populace's work ethic, with season tickets designed to resemble time cards that fans had to punch in to "work" cheering on the team.
The shop's work for the Cavs will take a similar approach, celebrating the idiosyncra sies of Cleveland and the pride people take in their city, Olson said. The assignment includes print, broadcast, outdoor, interactive and design work, he said.
For Grain Belt, the agency will play up the brand's Midwestern heritage. "The only way to compete with [the big breweries] is to be a local hero," he said.
The brand, created in 1893, was recently bought by August Schell Brew ery in New Ulm, Minnesota.