Pistons’ Gift Is A Slam Dunk

Usually, an agency’s role in a client’s success is behind the scenes. The agency may get a pat on the back or a cute little gift at the holidays. If the client is a sports team, your bonus is rarely more than the satisfaction of a job well done (season tickets, if you’re lucky). But when an agency that touts itself as “brand champions” has a client that becomes an actual champion, things are a little different.

At their home opener last week, as they celebrated last season’s NBA championship, the Detroit Pistons presented four members of their ad agency, Olson + Co in Minneapolis, with a very special bonus: their very own championship rings.

“They obviously lowered their standards as to who gets a ring,” jokes agency president John Olson. In the five years it has had the account, the agency has built attendance with a campaign touting the team’s (and its fans’) blue-collar work ethic, even going so far as to make tickets look like time cards. In fact, the organization took to the campaign to heart to such a degree that the tagline, “Going to work,” is emblazoned on the rings of players and agency staffers alike.

Each diamond-encrusted ring (which on Olson’s hand looks like a belt buckle) is valued at about $15,000, according to Olson, though he adds, “The fact that it says ‘Olson’ on it, as opposed to ‘Wallace,’ might reduce its value.” But the bragging rights are priceless. Olson has something even Minnesota basketball star Kevin Garnett can still only dream of.