Thursday, August 19, 2010

Sponsored Post: Introducing the BFL

I am trying something new here: I was invited to participate in a celebrity-blogger fantasy football league (the "Blogger Football League" or "BFL"), sponsored by Procter & Gamble.

Throughout the fall, I am going to write posts with updates about how things are going in the league. These posts will clearly be labeled "Sponsored"; I am also aiming to make them as interesting as any "regular" post you would find here. (So that depends on how "interesting" you usually find them.)

P&G isn't paying me to participate, although the company and its PR team took me and the other league participants out to dinner last night, and the draft is being held at NFL league offices today -- that certainly wouldn't happen without the participation of P&G, a big NFL sponsor. You might have remembered the Jerry Rice thing a few weeks ago; that was part of it.

(Sidebar: For those that have followed the stories from my long-and-winding career, you might remember that I spent a little less than a year as an employee of the NFL -- from the fall of 1997 through the spring of 1998 -- working in the interactive group on; I spent the majority of my effort on Working for the league, however briefly, afforded me one of the great memories of my life: Getting to take my dad and brother to the Super Bowl in San Diego -- John Elway's first title. Today's trip to the league office will be my first trip back since I left. I believe I have an old NFL business card lying in a file box somewhere...)

I was enthusiastic to participate in the league for a few reasons, not the least of which because I have been and remain excited about how marketers and editorially focused companies can work together innovatively; I liked the commitment P&G was making to experimenting -- I felt like it was a good moment to engage in some experimentation of my own.

Again, I will always be entirely clear with you about what posts are part of a sponsorship, rather than the regularly scheduled editorial -- but I will also try my best, regardless of whether the post is "regular" or sponsored, to keep the content quality at a level you have come to expect here. It doesn't do anyone -- me, you, P&G -- any good if I offer weak efforts.

OK, so apologies if this post came across as "heavy" -- let me end by lightening it up:

The league draft is today. Last night I was given the No. 1 overall pick (and the dreaded back-to-back in a snake involving 12 teams, which means my next pick after No. 1 is No's 24 and 25. Yikes.

But when I "won" the 1st pick, I immediately joked that I was going to take Tim Tebow No. 1 overall. After the jokes subsided, I actually considered it, for real -- after all, what would earn the league more media coverage than having a guy who took Tim Tebow as the No. 1 overall pick?

Then I realized that the vast majority of the coverage would be mockery -- most of it unpleasant. For you or readers at TimTeblog or around the blogosphere, me picking Tebow would be an amusing inside joke; for everyone else, it is "idiot picks Tim Tebow first overall in fantasy draft."

It's a fine line between hilarity and humiliation. I'm going to take Chris Johnson first and presume there will be plenty of opportunities to reach for Tebow late. Some might say that drafting him at all is a "reach" -- perhaps even a humiliation of its own kind.

By the way, everyone in the league is affiliated with a P&G brand. I was assigned Old Spice, in part because I was blown away by the amazing series of near-real-time web videos the brand did a few weeks ago -- not to mention the innovative way they created the "Swagger" rating on Madden '11. In fact, that -- plus this post from Kotaku about it -- inspired my team name: "99-Rated Swagger." (Read the Kotaku post to understand the joke.)

Speaking of the videos, I will certainly make it my goal to have the Old Spice guy (Isaiah Mustafa) do a homemade video for me. Hopefully it will start with something like, "Hello, ladies... look at your man... now back to me... now back at your man... now back to me..."

Anyway, thanks for sticking with this "kickoff" post. Going forward, the posts might link back to this one for background, but otherwise, as Aqua Teen Hunger Force might say, I'm not going to explain the plot.

I really should draft Tim Tebow No. 1 overall.... No no... must... resist: Chris Johnson it is.

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