Should Web Agencies Sponsor Olympic Hopefuls?

In April I wrote a post called Digital Agency Sites Suck — pretty self explanatory title — and it’s become my most-read post. I think that’s because it supports what most people feel — many agency websites are flashy, digital masturbation — not the unique, storytelling-driven expressions they should be.

But here’s an interesting attempt I read about on Ad Freak: Kolar Advertising found a real-life story that encapsulates their world-view, and what they, as an agency, believe in.

As a runner, Paul Stoneham endures grueling training in hopes of qualifying for the Olympic 10k. But the odds are against him — he’s 37 — a classic underdog tale, up there with George Foreman’s comeback fight.

So Kolar Advertising — who sees themselves as an underdog — decided to sponsor Paul, the runner. For no other reason than his story (his brand) inspires their brand.

KolarRunning

But this screenshot you see is only linked to from a tiny link at the bottom of their site — with the vague label “Heroes.”

Kolar, if you read this, consider taking some major real-estate of your very “flashy” intro-heavy homepage, to promote this sponsorship. It’s a gutsy, unique move, that says a lot about what you stand for. And that’s exactly what an agency home page should be about.

Agencies need to realize that everyone makes pretty web sites these days. That’s not going to win AoR relationships — that’s just your entry form to the competition. I bet clients really want to know: What about you as an agency, your culture, your processes, your world view, makes you different form everyone else?

I’m going to take this advice to heart, and redo my own website, and portfolio to tell the story of my culture and process. We all have one.

So what do you think about this sponsorship? Does it make any sense for a full-service ad agency to sponsor an Olympic hopeful? Is this just a PR stunt? Or does this really add something to how Kolar presents themselves?