What do we do with Zack Legend?

We’ve got this great fan, Zack Legend, who does homemade videos about the Colts. He’s a season ticket holder who brings his digital camera to the games, films clips (like this Super Bowl video) in the tailgate lot, and inside the stadium. We’ve given him a little section on our site and we run the videos.

He’s careful not to violate the NFL rules and shoot the actual game action. What he does capture, I think, is the emotional reactions of real fans before, during and after the games. When you watch the best of his videos, you feel like you’re at the game because you identify with the reactions he’s having to certain sequences of game action. You were watching the game too, so when he reacts to a critical play, you remember exactly how you felt at that moment, and it brings a sense of that same emotion right back to you.

Zack’s videos are fun to watch and we gladly run them on our website. But we’re wondering, is there something more we could do with Zack’s videos. Is Zack’s brand strong enough to garner sponsorship dollars? Could the emotional appeal and authenticity he brings to video become part of a sponsorship activation program?

I think it could. You may remember the piece I wrote a while back about Prilosec OTC. Their whole strategy is to connect with a target consumer at a time when he or she was feeling emotional about the NFL. Zack has “bottled” those emotional mements. And he’s just zany enough that he could even pop an antacid, on camera, before some crititical play in the game, or after eating too much sausage in the tailgate lot.

Speaking of bottled emotion, why wouldn’t Coke want to place its product into Zack’s world. There’s plenty of room in a tailgate party (and inside the stadium) for Coke products to appear naturally. It wouldn’t seem too canned.

And speaking of canned, instead of high priced athletes on Chunky soup containers, why not Zack? He could really help to drive sales.

And speaking of driving, why wouldn’t Chevy want Zack to drive to games – and tailgate off – one of its great trucks…heck, Zack could even appear in the local Chevy dealer commercials.

Zack could even help us with our social network. He could be our equivalent to Tom in Myspace. Imagine if every new member of MyColts.Net was automatically linked to Zack’s profile. How many of those people would go check out Zack. We need to do something like this anyway so that fans feel welcomed into the system.

And if Zack has some cool promos to announce on his page – like a Coke rewards program – fans would be exposed to a sponsor message through a “friend”. Well, sort of. There’s risk associated with Zack pitching product, but his style is campy enough, I think, that he could get away with somewhat tongue-in-cheek product schilling while still getting the sponsor message across.

The limiting factor to all of this, of course, is money. Right now the Colts don’t make a dime off Zack’s videos. And neither does Zack. This is a labor of love. He does a lot of work to prepare them and send them to us, and we’re happy to post them, but there’s no measurable economic value. I think sponsorship could change that.

But it won’t be easy to sell. Sponsorship of content like this has never been done on our site before. We are just learning how to talk to sponsors about investing in our Website’s traditional inventory (banner ads and football content sponsorship). These wacky videos are on a whole other level.

Still, I can’t help thinking that one of the big brands might get it. Zack’s got a mini cult following on his Myspace page and on Colts . He gets recognized out in public. He gets fan mail. He’s got some brand equity as a “Colts fan”. Hey, 50% of AVID NFL fans will never attend a game in their lives. Zack gives these fans a window into what it’s like to be there. People do live vicariously through him.