TIME FLIES WHEN YOU HURRY HARD!
For the better part of two decades, In House Strategies existed as the arms-length marketing division of the Canadian Curling Association (now, Curling Canada). Starting in 1997, with a passion for curling in his DNA and an impressive marketing resume in his back pocket, Rod Palson went about the business of building CCA event marketing from the ground up. There was no manual.
What started as a one-off opportunity with the ’98 Brier in Winnipeg, snowballed into a 17 year tour of duty that included 63 events in 32 different Canadian markets. In the beginning, it was a learn-as-you-go mentality…perfecting everything that showed promise the first time, and quick to discard tactics that didn’t hit the mark – a philosophy based on the previous two decades of experience and know-how gained as VP and Creative Director of Palmer Jarvis Communications, Winnipeg’s leading retail creative agency through the 80’s and 90’s.
CCA events enjoyed their finest attendance moments under the guidance of In House, as they restored the Roar in the roaring game, introducing brands such as You Gotta Be There, Live it Live, Rocks in your Socks, and Roar of the Rings.
Then just as In House and Curling Canada started heading down separate paths in 2013, the experience of the past 17 years got noticed south of the border.
In 2014, the Reno Tahoe Winter Games Coalition hired In House to manage ticket marketing for the first ever major curling event in Las Vegas. In the space of one year, the 2014 World Financial Group Continental Cup went from nowhere to the top…smashing the previous event attendance records that had been set in Canada, and creating a huge appetite for more.
It didn’t take long for more to materialize. In 2016 the Continental Cup returned, and yet another attendance record was set – this time, becoming the largest attended curling event ever in the United States. With that came the obvious: a request to bring it back to Vegas in 2017. But would curling fans be ready to return two years in a row? The answer was a resounding YES, as all 1100 rooms in the host hotel were sold in less than two weeks.
Needless to say, 2017 in Las Vegas was another tremendous success, and a perfect set-up to announce something that had already been in the planning stages…a world men’s championship to arrive in April, 2018. And so it did…with temperatures hovering in the mid 90’s, setting the stage for a curling first: a nine day pool party, themed around another Palson original name and logo: The World’s Curling Oasis…never to be forgotten by the tens of thousands of fans who traveled from all over the world to attend.
Then…with little warning, the Curling Oasis opened its doors to the fans once again, just nine months later in January, 2019 for, yet another WFG Continental Cup. Not surprisingly, the curling world is waiting anxiously for what is to come next, as organizers work behind the scenes to bring it all together for the next great event in Vegas.
Whatever it may be, and whenever it may arrive, Rod Palson is expected to be at the forefront of all the marketing planning.