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Business - Written by on Tuesday, March 31, 2009 11:47 - 0 Comments

Of all the memorable sights in Paris…

The steps at famous Montmartre, beautiful walks along the River Seine, the Pont des Arts, and…a naked pole vaulter making his way through each of the forementioned attractions?!?

No matter what you were looking for, at least one would have left a lasting impression.

Recently, world-class French pole vaulter Romain Mesnil bared all in a YouTube video aimed at bringing attention to his quest for sponsorship.  The video featured Mesnil running through the streets of Paris, pole in hand (for jumping, come on!), with his unmentionables covered by a digitally-imposed black box as onlookers tried to figure out what was going on.  The video concludes with a message imploring viewers to return to Mesnil’s site on March 31st, stating “You haven’t seen anything yet.”  Click here for video (watch at work at your discretion). Mesnil’s former sponsor, Nike, did not renew their support in October and ever since, Mesnil has been very creatively searching for a replacement.

One of Mesnil’s earlier efforts had him wearing a jersey with a large question mark during competition and he has also posted other great YouTube videos (even before this round of looking for sponsorship) that have helped bring a more playful side to the sport of pole vaulting. 


So now that the 31st is here, what was Mesnil’s (other) big reveal?  He has posted two auctions on eBay targeted at prospective sponsors 1, 2.  The first auction is for a sponsorship for his 2009 season and the second is to have your photo/logo/message posted on Romain’s jersey, with proceeds benefiting the ARTC (brain tumour research).  At the time of publication, bids totalled >19,000 Euros, with just under 10 days remaining in the auctions.

As far as new media strategies for the branding of an individual (athlete) go, I’d say that Mesnil has started down a very intriguing path and he has managed to reach a widespread online audience, as well as gaining traditional media coverage, with prime time exposure on French television networks and news broadcasts worldwide.  I can only imagine where he’ll go next…

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