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Do you wake up every morning with a compelling desire to get to work? Do you see the day as one big ball of awesomeness that you can’t wait to take in? Do you wake up with a smile because you know that your day will be filled talking to upbeat, enthusiastic people? I do.

You see, I have a new job description. I’m the CMM. To steal a line from a friend of mine, I’m the Chief Memory Maker. I’m selling fun and making memories one successful campaign at a time.


Over the last 5 years, I’ve immersed myself in the digital/social media marketing realm. After doing a tremendous amount of due diligence over the last 14 months or so, I revealed a trend line that has confirmed for me two major data points:

1. Brands are having a very hard time making a lasting impact in social media because users on the various platforms don’t want to hear from them. and;

2. Sports and entertainment are the most welcomed information and topics that social users want to engage with.

So I created a project that brings brands together with that which people most want to interact with in the digital economy. Sports and entertainment.

The results? 100% success. Yes, I said 100% success! Every single campaign that we do breaks engagement records for the social profiles for our clients. I’m not talking by a few measly percentage upticks. We’re talking numbers that are hard for anyone to believe. In some instances we’ve seen increases of over 1,000%…yep 10x the amount of interaction they are used to seeing.

I’m not telling you this to brag or pat myself on the back. I’m telling you this because this is my new normal. I’ve been saying it for a while but now I can prove it. The secret to success in social media is simply giving people what they want and what they want is sports and entertainment.

It’s no longer sufficient to advertise to a “consumer”. And doing so on social media gets you unfollowed and ignored very quickly. In fact, I don’t use the word consumer anymore. The right word to use is AUDIENCE.


Maybe the reason so many brands are having a problem on social media is just that. They’re looking at their fan and follower base as consumers. Here’s a hint. No one on social media is there because they want to be sold to. No one filled out a Facebook profile and said “please sell to me”…no one signed up and wanted to eagerly hear from brands.

Yet brands and their agencies insert themselves, time and time again, into our streams of consciousness. #fail

Interruptus Marketus this ain’t. People want to be awed. Social users want to have fun! So why aren’t people focusing on that? Making memories isn’t a new fad. The funny part about marketing is the fact that advertising is predicated upon sports and entertainment. Too bad that instead of delivering it, the advertising industry struck gold by interrupting our fun.

Unfortunately for many brands and agencies, today’s audiences have found a way to avoid such interruptions. All I’ve done is flip the script and allow brand clients to deliver experiential awesomeness that audiences desire.

While traditional advertising (radio, print, television) verbally and visually communicates the brand and product benefits, selling fun speaks to the senses of an individual. I don’t need to have focus groups and I don’t have to mine piles of useless data to determine what people want and what their habits are.

All I have to do is see what’s popular. If it’s in demand, then that’s my data. It’s simple. Let me give you an example. Take any given Saturday or Sunday in the fall. Turn on your television between the hours of 11AM and 11PM and what do you see?

You’ll see a community of people congregating and paying homage to something that they’re fanatical about. You do know that’s where the word “fan” comes from don’t you? See the social media parallel there?

Now when you realize that those packed into stadiums and arenas only make up a small percentage of the actual fanbase you can see the sheer size of the opportunity before you. At least that’s been the conclusion of my research.

Millions of sports and entertainment fans that eat, drive, need shoes, and have medical problems, all want the same thing. They want to be entertained. And it doesn’t matter what you’re targeting. Fun is the essence of fairness. The desire, and NEED, to have fun truly spans all colors, sizes and ethnicities. Providing fun is a veritable cornucopia of marketing goodness.

Each one of us is an audience member who has the sole objective of having their endorphins assaulted.What if you could tap into the rush that these people are hoping to experience? What if you could form a memorable and emotional connection with as many of them as possible? Have you ever thought of the opportunities that exist if you scale fun?

Instead of trying to “reach” them, what if you truly connected with them? Most brands are familiar with terms like reach, frequency, and saturation because they have to inundate us with messages to get us to pay any attention to them.

Pop quiz for you. What do you think the average NFL team spends on advertising? How much do you think One Direction spends on advertising? The University of Tennessee has had a bad run of late, yet at every home game they have in excess of 100,000 people in the stands, and they don’t have to spend a dime to advertise the games.


What I do in my new project is very simple. I bridge the gap between advertising and experiences.I have found that creating memories allows a brand to influence purchase decisions by affording brands the opportunity to become a tangible presence in the lives of audience members.

My vision, which is becoming clearer with each campaign, is that the more we become slaves to our machines, the more we want to commune with others in person. Concerts, games, movies, and our devices are becoming interconnected at a rate that most people ( including brands) can hardly fathom.

In my opinion, the manna of social media is that we’ve never had a medium that allows us to reach that spot…that true sweet spot, where our experiences and our machines become intertwined.

Being in that nexus provides a marketer with frictionless access. We can’t be adblocked, and we can’t be fast forwarded past because we aren’t interrupting. We become a welcome part in the lives of our audiences. Do you have any idea what kind of opportunity you create for your brand when people expect you to be a part of their lives?

Imagine what it would be like for your audience to truly be your fans and followers. To be thought of like their favorite team or band.  What happens when they count on us being there every Saturday or Sunday rain or shine. What happens when you build a connection so strong that your audience accepts your shortcomings and they champion what you believe in.

I’ll tell you what happens. They tell everybody about their experience. They remember us. They buy from us…enthusiastically. In the end, isn’t that the goal of every brand in existence?

Like I said, selling fun is a lot of fun.

Barry Cunningham

Author Barry Cunningham

Barry Cunningham is an antagonist of conventional wisdom. Check out our case studies. They will give you an idea how we help brands & businesses amplify their conversion and lead gen campaigns by deploying digital advertising campaigns at scale. And I invite you to subscribe to my newsletter.

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