I always love it when a media outlet looks at itself and says we are not the reason for the problem.

If you don’t say those people are gods, kids won’t emulate them.

Men’s Journal wrote an article a couple of months back that has been bugging me. The article “Are Extreme Sports Too Extreme” looks at the latest group of deaths of athletes.

Men’s Journal mostly writes about extreme athletes and extreme places and then throws in the fashion photo line up near the end of the magazine. I subscribe.

However, I believe the article misses the point. The article, like most in this genre looks at the event sponsors, which Men’s Journal writes favorable about, to put limits on the events, which Men’s Journal writes favorable about.

Maybe if Men’s Journal did not say the events were so awesome and the athletes so fantastic less people would emulate them and the athletes themselves would not consider their “god-like” image as full body airbags.

No one person or group of people, are responsible for athletes dying. However, the circle of recrimination and blame may stop if one person in the circle steps back and says I’m done.

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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How And Why Americans Engage With Winter Sports Brands: Research Reveals Social Networking Plays A Major Role In Activity

Nearly Half of Winter Sports Participants Recommend

English: Canadian winter sports, snowshoeing a...

Image via Wikipedia

Products or Brands to Peers

Slightly over one in five American adults (21 percent) revealed that they ever participate in any winter sport, according to new research released from IMRE Sports, and conducted on their behalf by Harris Interactive. Among those who ever participate in winter sports, 47 percent make recommendations to their peers about their favorite winter sports products or brands.

The research also indicated that among those who ever participate in winter sports, 74 percent use social media sites. Interestingly enough, of that 74 percent, 84 percent utilize the platform to follow brands.

Harris Interactive conducted this survey online among 2,292 adult Americans ages 18 and older between December 19 and 21, 2011. The research was spearheaded by the Maryland-based sports marketing agency, IMRE Sports.

Coupons and Giveaways atop the type of information Americans prefer from brands via social media channels

The type of information Americans prefer to receive from brands through social media sites (e.g., Facebook, Twitter) reveals a variety of trends that brands can leverage via promotions and advertising. The research revealed that even more opportunity lies among those Americans who have ever participated in winter sports.

Among those who use social media sites and who ever participate in winter sports, coupons (49 percent) and giveaways (41 percent) are the most popular types of information users would prefer to receive from the brands they follow or connect with via social media sites.

The research revealed the following statistics among adult Americans who used social media sites, as well as those who used social media sites and ever participated in winter sports:

Types of Information / Use social media sites / Use social media sites and participate in winter sports

Coupons, sales or discounts / 45% / 49%
Giveaways (e.g., contests, sweepstakes, drawings) / 39% / 41%
New or existing product information / 25% / 29%
Event announcements or coverage / 16% / 17%
Customer service feedback / 15% / 16%
Company news (e.g., business updates) / 12% / 15%
A brand’s charitable or environmental efforts / 11% / 11%
Insights about the industry or brand category / 9% / 11%
Behind the scenes information about the brand (e.g., filming of commercials, product/technology info) / 8% / 9%
Other / 2% / 2%

One-on-one conversations and social networking are the most prominent ways in which winter sports participants recommend their favorite winter sports products/brands to their peers

Of the 21 percent of adult Americans who ever participate in winter sports, the research study revealed that 47 percent recommend any of their favorite winter sport products/brands to their peers. Specifically:

· 33 percent use one-on-one conversation (e.g., in person, phone, email, online chat)

· 11 percent use social networking sites (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Google+)

· 7 percent add their opinion to a review site

· 5 percent blog their recommendations

· 5 percent post a recommendation to an online forum

· 5 percent use video or photo sharing websites (e.g., YouTube, Flickr) to share their recommendation

· 2 percent use some other method to make a recommendation to their peers

Teams and athletes lead winter sports related groups that Americans follow via social media channels

The types of winter sports related groups adult Americans specifically follow using social media channels (e.g., Facebook, Twitter) reveal a range of important trends that brands can leverage via advertising.

The study revealed that 62 percent of adult Americans use social media sites. Among that 62 percent, the research showcased which winter sports-related groups Americans follow or connect with via social channels:

· Teams and athletes led the category (each at 7 percent)

· 5 percent follow news media outlets

· 4 percent follow winter sports events (e.g., Winter X Games, Winter Olympics)

· 4 percent follow apparel manufacturers

· 4 percent follow clubs or associations

· 2 percent follow resorts or venues and gear manufacturers

· 1 percent follow some other winter sports related group

The research showed that women (68 percent) are using social media sites significantly more than men (56 percent). However, among those using social media sites, men (25 percent) are significantly more likely than women (13 percent) to use social media sites to follow or connect with winter sport-related groups.

Skiing and hiking top all winter sports

One-fifth (21 percent) of adult Americans over age 18 ever participate in winter sports. Among them, the study showed the following breakdown of winter sport participation:

· Skiing (e.g., alpine, cross country) and hiking topped all winter sports with 8 percent of adult Americans ever participating in these sports

· 3 percent participate in the following winter sports: snowboarding, snowmobiling and ice fishing

· 2 percent of adult Americans participate in ice hockey

· Other answers included: snowshoeing (2 percent), mountain climbing (2 percent), curling (1 percent) and some other winter sport (3 percent)

· Men (28 percent) are significantly more likely to ever participate in any winter sport compared to women (14 percent)

The research also revealed that significantly more Midwesterners (29 percent) ever participate in winter sports compared to those in the West (22 percent), Northeast (19 percent), or South (15 percent). In addition, significantly more 18-34 (28 percent) and 35-44 year olds (29 percent) ever participate in winter sports compared to their older counterparts (18 percent for 45-54 year olds; 12 percent for those 55+).

“The winter sports fan is extremely loyal to their apparel and equipment brands, and they are willing to share their insights with fellow consumers,” said IMRE Sports Vice President of Social Marketing, Crystalyn Stuart. “The way Americans utilize resources to recommend brands to their peers illustrates how brands can focus their spending, particularly as social media options continue to rise in popularity. This research illustrates that the winter sports fan is a very targeted, but potentially lucrative, demographic.”

For more insight on the implications of this research, visit www.IMRESportsIQ.com.

Survey Methodology
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of IMRE Sports from December 19 to 21, 2011 among 2,292 adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Kelly Nowlan at 410-821-8220 or kellyn.

About IMRE Sports
IMRE is an agency of marketing experts serving brands and clients invested in the sports industry. IMRE Sports connects brands to fans and helps corporations leverage their sponsorship investments to generate more brand exposure and fan engagement. IMRE’s clients include Target, Stanley Black & Decker and John Deere. Services include public relations, social marketing, advertising, emerging media and research. For more information, visit www.imresports.com.

About Harris Interactive
Harris Interactive is one of the world’s leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American and European offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what’s next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

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