The Catalog

The latest news in sports, entertainment and health,
straight from the Catalyst staff

DICK’S Presents Baseball Gear In Action

April 10, 2014

DICK'S Sporting Goods Baseball Gear In ActionDICK’S Sporting Goods continues to be on the forefront of creating innovative ways to showcase their products, which has never been more evident than in their new video-driven baseball experience, Gear In Action.

Catalyst worked with Viget to produce a responsive, interactive video experience for personal devices and in-store touch screens. More than just a new take on a video player, Gear In Action is an interactive and engaging product-driven platform that supports DICK’S 2014 Baseball Campaign.

The site has been honored multiple times, including “Site of the Day” from both the FWA and the Awwwards.

How To Become Internet (in)Famous

April 8, 2014

In case you missed it, yesterday the University of Connecticut men’s basketball team won the NCAA Tournament.  Arguably, the bigger news of the day was from Derek, an RA at the university.  He took it upon himself to proactively tell his fellow students that the game didn’t mean much, and not to get too excited about it.

Unsurprisingly, the letter went viral.  Since yesterday, “Derek the RA” has racked up over 14,000 mentions on twitter.  That’s impressive for a brand, let alone for an ambitious resident advisor.

Twitter Volume, April 2nd – 8th
Brand & Term Mentions
“Derek the RA” 14.5k
Burger King – #WatchLikeAKing 10.9k
Unilever – #TournamentDecisions 10.2k
Allstate – #MarchMayhem 1.8k
Coke Zero – #ProveIt 1.8k
New York Life – #KeepGoodGoing 1.1k
UPS – #DeliveringWins 0.4k
LG – #DoGamedayRight 0.2k
Northwestern Mutual – #PlanningForSuccess 0.2k

Even real sports outlets got in on the action, with SportsNation accounting for nearly a tenth of the volume.


The moral of this story? In today’s world of smartphones and social media, carefully craft your message….or you can instantly become (in)famous – like Derek.

Spring Into The Hot Links

April 7, 2014

The Hot LinksSpring has sprung, the weather’s warmer and we’re all moving more.  Take advantage of the season, grab your tablet and head outside to read some of these recent articles from the worlds of PR & Communications.

What have you been reading?


Sweet Wins for Elite Teams and Brands

April 3, 2014

 March Madness continued last week, as dramatic wins punctuated the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight action.  As the teams were competing on the court, fans, teams, and brands were competing on social media.  Just like the games themselves, there were some compelling stories.

It’s how you play the game

The NCAA has three “Corporate Champions.”   These are their top tier sponsors AT&T, Capital One, and Coke Zero.  However, in the second week of competition, these brands lost some momentum online, with the conversation shifting even more to teams playing the games.

The University of Kentucky started the 2014 season at #1, and they find themselves there again this week … at least for social conversation.   Team related tweets accounted for 34% of Final Four  team chatter.

Fans and media outlets were equally enthused about the Wildcats dramatic victory over the Wolverines over the weekend.


Florida, the overall #1 team who hasn’t lost since December, followed Kentucky’s chatter closely, followed by Wisconsin, and UConn.


LG emerges as Sponsor Cinderella

Although AT&T drove the highest percentage of social brand conversation, several second-tier Corporate Partners — Allstate, Infinity, Enterprise, LG, Lowes, and Unilever — each generated their fair share of online buzz.

South Korean electronics giant LG spent the week doing a full-court press around the tournament, combining online and offline efforts to deliver a share of voice slam dunk.  Their share of conversation was more than double average for the NCAA second-tier sponsors.

LG pulled this off this by working with partner brands Best Buy (promotion of the NCAA sponsorship) and Burger King (Watch Like a King contest).  On the social side they leveraged #DoGamedayRight, employing aggressive outreach with produced content, including an LG Locker Room microsite and Vine content from influencer and producer Meagan Cignoli.



All data is courtesy of Visible Technologies.


Twitter Evolving, Looking More Like Facebook

March 27, 2014

Twitter yesterday rolled out two features: users can now add up to four photos in a single tweet, and they can tag up to ten other accounts.  Both of these changes come with a big bonus – they don’t affect the tweet’s character count.

Now Twitter users can include multiple pictures in one tweet.

Four #selfies in one Tweet? #EPIC.

These moves are designed to increase consumer engagement and time on the platform.  A recent study showed tweets with a photo received five times the engagement of plain-text tweets, and our clients here at Catalyst have seen similar results.

We’ll be watching to see how brands utilize these new features, in the ever-changing quest to increase social ROI.

Marketing Madness

March 25, 2014

the-hot-links-horizontalIt’s that time of year again:  underdogs, nail-biters, bracket tracking, and of course, lost productivity.   Take a few minutes out of your basketball watching — we mean “work” — for the day, and catch up on the latest reads from the worlds of PR and communications.

Since none of us won Buffett’s Billion Dollar challenge, it’s safe to say we’ll be back again soon, keeping you up to date on all the latest news and opinion in PR.

Fan Engagement Study Infographic Updated

March 20, 2014

We’ve updated our Fan Engagement Infographic.  Check out the latest version, with insights from the world of soccer.

Updated Fan Engagement Infographic

The Power of SXSW Cannot be Ignored

March 14, 2014

It’s official, SXSW is now a cultural experience that our agency, our clients and any organization on the cutting edge of communications, marketing, technology, film or music cannot ignore.

Activating at SXSW

In 2014, we didn’t just go to SXSW to network, learn, and observe trends.  This year, we brought a small army of Catalyst staff to activate across four clients – DICK’S Sporting Goods, SUBWAY Restaurants, Courtyard Marriott and Xbox.

From an event activation standpoint, brands need to understand an important lesson:  with this crowd, the bar is set very high. Traditional event activation tactics just aren’t enough. To win, brands either need a powerfully innovative product or an activation that is so interesting you can’t not check it out. Ideally they have both. Victor Lee, the VP of digital for Hasbro said, “Be interesting and I’ll be interested.” That’s the challenge from the audience. Don’t come to SXSW unless you bring your “A” game.

The Next Big Thing

SXSW interactive offers four days, packed with keynotes and breakout panels from the best in the business, discussing top trends, best practices, and “the next big thing.”  Without a doubt, the theme that dominated the conference this year was connectivity and big data.

Due to the drop in cost of smartphones, more consumers than ever are now empowered with mobile devices granting them access to a mostly free and open Internet.

People are breaking news, recording history, leaking government secrets, and documenting their experiences like never before. Social is being led by mobile-fueled visual content platforms like Instagram, Pinterest and Vine.  This is creating opportunities and challenges for brands to engage consumers not only through content creation, but also content curation.

While publishing and curating content continues to be important for brands, mobile empowerment has created a connected expectation among consumers. Consumers now want and expect these connected experiences from brands.

The most direct evidence of this expectation is an explosion in the demand for “smart” products – items that have an added level of perceived intelligence. This group includes everything from smart watches to Google Glass to connected cars. David Evans from Cisco predicts this will be a “$19 trillion global opportunity over the next decade.

With connected cars, automobile manufacturers can not only know the type of car you purchased and where you drive, but also your music preferences, your social networks, where and when you buy your gas, and even talk to other vehicles on the road to prevent a crash. Google glass can literally change the game in medicine, informing surgeons with valuable patient feedback during a critical moment of care. In sports, athletes can leverage connected apparel to train more efficiently using data and biofeedback, creating a true competitive advantage; while fans can be closer to the game then ever before – with stats, replays, and data at their fingertips.

Opportunities for Brands 

“Information is power,” is the mantra from Google CEO Eric Schmidt.  The opportunity for brands within the connected environment is huge.

If marketers can get their hands on this information, these consumer insights can help reach customers with relevant messaging at the right time and place – the “holy grail” of a great campaign – while also improving product development and refining a supply chain in ways never before possible.

In social marketing, brands start taking advantage of public data by analyzing consumer social conversations and identifying those influential consumers that can help deliver brand messaging to their own networks.  At SXSW, DICK’S Sporting Goods was able to engage influencers to increase awareness of their Sports Matter campaign launch.  These earned impressions proved highly effective, leading to a spike in program applications and donations.

Big ideas for successful creative activations always start with consumer insights. Conversation measurement and analysis tools can identify trends and influencers and also can predict consumer actions within a purchase funnel using predictive analytics.  This is a huge opportunity for brand marketers, especially in a world where consumers are willingly sharing content every day.

Looking forward

We expect 2014 to be a marquee year in social marketing and communications. With more access points through connected products, far greater intelligence opportunities from data, and an ever-increasing pressure by consumers for creativity and personalized experiences, we’re excited to see what’s in store.

See you next year in Austin.

Campaigns, Titles Launch at SXSW

March 12, 2014

A Launch of Titan Proportions

On March 10, fans and celebrity gamers celebrated the launch of “Titanfall” on Xbox One at an exclusive SXSW event in Austin, TX.  Entire casts from TV’s biggest shows, such as NBC’s Revolution attended alongside the festival’s most anticipated film/TV projects including HBO’s Silicon Valley and Diego Luna’s Cesar Chavez.  The likes of Mike Judge, Michael Pena, Elizabeth Mitchell and a constant flow of 2,000+ Xbox One and Titanfall fanatics were treated to an exclusive performance by SXSW’s busiest artist, Childish Gambino while also being the first to spend time with the industry-acclaimed game. Led by this official debut event, Titanfall’s launch night broke numerous industry records and was one of the biggest nights in the history of online gaming.

Next-Gen Room Launch a ‘Success’

Courtyard kicked off “Courtyard @” at SXSW that offered attendees a first look at their next generation room as they kicked back and recharged. Other highlights included a professional head station and meme generation station starring meme phenomenon “Success Kid.”

DICK’S Showing that Sports Matter

On March 9, The DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation launched their Sports Matter campaign, an effort to help save youth sports programs facing financial challenges.  Armed with research showing the positive effects that youth sports have on development, the Foundation hosted a morning SXSW Core Conversation that talked about the importance of addressing the issue.  That same night, the Foundation hosted an official launch party for the initiative, with appearances by Jon Gruden, Sanya Richards-Ross, and Michael B. Jordan.

Case Study: Bringing an Event to Life with Live Video