Aug 03, 2009 at 07:10 PM
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How the Brightside Boys Turned an Idea into a Sponsor Idea!

New York's not typically known for niceties so Penn Station commuters were probably thrown for a bit of a surprise when the Brightside Tour paid a visit to the Big Apple. That is the Brightside Tour in partnership with Kodak.

For the "Compliment Guys," also known as Purdue Juniors Cameron Brown and Brett Westcott, it started out as a simple plan to bring some cheer during tough times to the people of West Lafayette, Indiana where they went to school. How do they do that? WIth some old-fashioned compliments and a homemade "Free Compliments" sign. And at approximately 40 compliments a minute, I found these guys could create a lot of smiles (even from New Yorkers)...

"you look nice today"

"Ma'am, you're radiating today." "Have you lost weight today?"

"Looking very professional today, sir"

"I like the floral pattern on your arms."

“People [would] ask us if we were part of a frat or if it’s a psychology experiment,” Brown said. “We are here for no other reason than we like to give compliments.”

Kodak and their PR firm, Ketchum, then caught on to the idea.

A lot has happened since the spring semester. As in a smash hit you tube video (50k hits), a sponsorship with Kodak, a 12 city nationwide tour and even a stint on Good Morning America. The tour wraps up next week at Kodak HQ in Rochester and it's one summer internship they won't forget.

What started out as a simple project has turned in to be this summer's poster child for outside the box sponsorship ideas. Sponsors love proprietary ideas that they can wrap their arms around. We asked Kodak CMO Jeffrey Hayzlett about the partnership and he was on message with the campaign:


So how did Ketchum PR come across the idea for the Compliment Guys? YouTube, of course!

It's another testament to a shifting attitude toward sponsorship (from a reactive necessity) to a more proactive approach that seeks out the very best new opportunities - using a variety of different tools including in this instance YouTube.

“It’s amazingly easy to do if you take the very short amount of time to notice what is special about those around you,” Brown said

At a time when the practice of sponsorship has taken a lot of flack for being excessive and frivolous, the Compliment Guys are a shining example of how sponsorship can be a great way of empowering and extending consumer passions to new heights, not possible without the involvement of corporate partners.

And I'm not just saying that because they said I "look snazzy today."