Marketing an Extreme Sport

Extreme sports need extreme forms of marketing. Take extreme ironing for example. If you ever see an ad about it, you normally see some enthusiastic person overdoing the ironing action. The “extreme sport” of debating has had its fair share of clever marketing campaigns over the years.

This year at school, our 1st Debating team has been prolifically handing out badges with a photo of the team. Also part of the campaign is revealing the long history of the members of the team, showing a photo of them back in the primary school days. A promotional video was made, poking fun at their other interests: drama, footy and that Christian notion. In the past, such campaigns have included Debate ’08 (based on Kevin Rudd’s Kevin07 election campaign) and iDebate (based upon the Apple i frenzy of the time)

I have to say, that the marketing is trying to position debating as the Next Big Thing, the pinnacle of extreme sports. Compared to footy or music, debating unfortunately has a low profile. It has a stigma upon it that only those who are smart can play, and that it requires a lot of wit. Being a former debater myself, I have seen that for the majority of people out there, most have a fear of public speaking, and that all due respect is given to those who can regularly stand and speak, let alone improvise a rebuttal at a complex argument.

The marketing has retained its wittiness, which keeps it in line with what the “sport” is all about. I think people are drawn to the cleverness of it, and that is why it has such a strong support group. Now their next challenge, is to recruit new debaters, as talent these days is ever so hard to find.

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