16,038km apart. Culturally aligned.

March 11, 2016

Melbourne, Australia, and Cleveland, Ohio, are a tad over 16,000km apart. A tough distance, even for an A380.

On Australia Day this year, that gulf was made to feel but a hop skip & a jump away.

While Australia en-masse was having BBQs, relaxing at the beach or just putting its feet up, I was fortunate enough to be a guest of Sanitarium Up & Go, the Cleveland Cavaliers and the NBA, to celebrate Australia Day with Matthew Dellavedova and the rest of the Cavs.

Delly adorns one of the walls at the Cavaliers' Arena

Over the past 6 months or so, we have been working with PCG, one of the States’ foremost sports marketing consultancies to identify potential commercial partners and help design what the strategic fit could be.

The result is a sponsorship first.

An Aussie brand, sponsoring a US team, all designed to help push the Up & Go message with its core target back in Australia. 

Delly has become a cult figure in Cleveland

Enter Matthew Dellavedova 

The Australian born NBA cult figure, tearing up the court in his adopted town of Cleveland.

Dellavedova’s (Delly’s) story reflects the great narratives of Australia’s history. The underdog. The hard worker. Respect earned.

He left his Victorian country town to follow his dream. Playing at St Mary’s in college basketball. He was picked up by the Cavs after his stand out performances, but not through the draft – the path of the infinitely talented.

On the biggest stage of all last year, a depleted Cavs made it through to the NBA playoffs finals. The team looked to Delly to take on the insanely white hot Steph Curry. Delly stood up. And almost helped Le Bron drag the Cavs over the line.

It earned him infinite respect.

Delly's pre-game Australia Day speech

In a world that is brash, fast-talking and etched from the self-expression of African American culture, Delly stands out for his effort, application and humility. He lets his game do the talking.

A similar narrative to which Cleveland in it's own way is all about. 

It is a tough and uncompromising place. The architecture is heavyset. Grey or red brick. Low rise. And the landscape bares its teeth this time of year. The great lakes are frozen over. The trees stand bare, the wind relentlessly howls from the Arctic north.

The locals are punching the air if it is over 5 degrees Celsius.

Delly’s humility and new found exposure are a perfect fit for Cleveland, and Up & Go. Delly is making a mark, doing it his own way, playing an important role. It is one the cohort of 18-24 year old males in Australia can resonate with.

Delly fittingly nails the final shot of the night

Breaking boundaries

The sponsorship by Up & Go is a testament to the different parties courage and willingness to do something new.

There have obviously been global sponsorships before. Soccer players, tennis players & golfers all come to mind. But, never an Aussie company sponsoring a team in a foreign league.

And never a brand sponsoring a ‘property’ where they do not have distribution.

Australian brands can now cast their eyes beyond our fair shores.

And whilst they may never replace local properties, with more and more Aussies plying their trade overseas, modern technology can bring their exploits closer and make them more relevant to Aussies.

It is too early to understand the impact of the event on Up & Go sales in Australia, but purely from an exposure perspective the idea has been a resounding success. 


Check out our article in Marketing Mag to read more about this event, and the new world of global sponsorship.