I’m so looking forward to tomorrow, December 23 because its the 40th Anniversary Celebration of the Immaculate Reception. I was 10 years old and was listening to the Steelers Raiders football game on the radio (local broadcast was blacked out) and heard the news LIVE!
What a thrilling end to a game that propelled the Steelers to future greatness. In addition, this single play would change a city and would forever be immortalized as the greatest NFL play in history!
Immaculate Reception Marketing Memories
Ranking just as high on my list of favorite Steelers memories, was back in December 1997 when as the Director of Marketing and Sales Operations for Sprint PCS, I came up with an idea to help us more effectively communicate our digital ‘call clarity’ position.
You guessed correctly – it was also around the same time as the 25th Anniversary of the Immaculate Reception.
To clearly position our new wireless phone service in a hyper competitive wireless phone market, I searched and found a high profile customer (football great Franco Harris) whose testimonial and personal brand matched up perfectly with Brand Sprint.
The marriage between Franco’s most famous play in football and Sprint’s unique selling proposition of digital call clarity, helped drive favorable awareness, considerable store traffic and effectively communicated our unique product positioning (the first and only digital phone service in the market). And, the timing was perfect. The 25th anniversary of the Immaculate Reception coincided perfectly with our new product launch.
Testimonials are one of the most effective methods of building brands, and Franco’s testimonial helped us to effectively pull together a strong brand building and sales effort.
Our strategy was so on target that Sprint PCS realized record store traffic and sales.
Now 15 years later, I’m proud to say our campaign – like Franco’s famous catch – has been immortalized by the NFL Network in its feature film A Football Life – The Immaculate Reception.
Click here to watch the entire video of the Show and be sure to check out the mark at 31:57 to 32:04 to see one of our ads!
Happy Anniversary Franco and thanks for the memories!
P.S.: See Case Study here. Also, many thanks to my boss Doug Cotton for giving the idea a ‘thumbs up.!’ And to photographer Harry Giglio, designers Kathy Kendra, Mark Power; Mike Cusick Sprint Director of Sales; and Sprint marketing partner Maria D’Abruzzo.