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A Lesson in Buzz Building

Lots of companies could do worse than hiring OJ Mayo as the Marketing Director. As evidenced by this recent New York Times profile piece, the kid knows how to launch a product. In this case, obviously, the product is himself.

Think about it, every year hundreds of kids are vying for the precious few NCAA Division 1 basketball scholarships and every year, one or two of them is considered to be head and shoulders above the rest. In other words, a graduating senior heading somewhere to play basketball is not a new story. It's old, played out and hard to create a fresh angle on. Or so we thought. That's what OJ has done with his decision to go to USC.

My favorite quotes from the article:

Mayo wanted to market himself before going to the N.B.A., and that Los Angeles would give him the best possible platform.

“Then why aren't you at U.C.L.A.?" [USC Head Coach Tim] Floyd asked.

U.C.L.A. had already won 11 national championships. It had already produced many N.B.A. stars. Mayo wanted to be a pioneer for a new era.

"Let me call him," Floyd said.

The man shook his head again. "O. J. doesn"t give out his cell," he said. "He’ll call you."

Mayo's mind was apparently made up. He was already looking ahead. “How many scholarships do we have for next year?" he asked.

Floyd stammered. "After this," he said, "I guess we have three."

Mayo went through the priority list in his mind. "Don’t worry about recruiting," he said. "I'll take care of it."

Before Floyd hung up, he asked one more time for Mayo's cellphone number. "No," Mayo said. "I’ll call you."

Call the kid brash, call him cocky, but whatever you call him, don't don't call him bad at buzz building. Seems like other than his jump shot, that is his true calling. Trust me, there are lots of start-ups who could learn from OJ - they'd love to have NY Times profile pieces written on them before their launch - and they actually have new, fresh products!

And just in case your thinking OJ's marketing skills aren't that great, consider his last play on the court as a high school senior. Mid-game, he takes the ball, passes it to himself and then dunks it. He then takes the ball and tosses it in the stands - getting himself ejected from the game. Pretty dumb, right? Getting tossed from your last game. Oh yeah, the clip of this play has been one of the most widely viewed clips on YouTube. Score another one for OJ.


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 26, 2007 11:18 AM.

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