Name: Sara Toussaint
Job: Vice President, Sponsorships (Soccer)
Company: Wells Fargo
LinkedIn: Sara Toussaint
In 140 characters or less, tell us who you are and how you got to where you are today.
Sports/brand marketer from Chicago’s South Side. Proud Puerto Rican-Palestinian. Optimism, drive, and luck play big roles in my career.
What’s one trend in media or marketing that you’re buying or selling?
I’m literally buying subscription-based anything: Netflix, monthly food boxes, etc. Figuratively buying products/services from brands that are willing to take a stand to make the world a better place.
How do you define creativity?
Seeing something wonderful or unique in unexpected places.
What’s the project or campaign that you’re proudest of? Why?
America for Mexico! campaign during the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Wells Fargo has been a sponsor of the Mexican National Team since 2013. Given the negative political climate, we wanted to spread a message inclusivity and good sportsmanship. We previously worked with Landon Donovan and knew that despite the USA-Mexico soccer rivalry, he feels so much affection for Mexico. He learned to play soccer with Mexican-Americans, played in Liga MX, and speaks Spanish fluently (he even improvised the commercial shoots). So there was no hesitation from him to root for Mexico.
The campaign launched and it made international headlines: some USMNT fans were furious and loud. However, most soccer fans, especially Mexican National Team fans loved the message. In the first week of the World Cup, the top three brands mentioned were Adidas, Nike, and Wells Fargo. We also saw tens of thousands of fans request soccer debit cards in our portfolio including a 250% increase of our Mexican National Team-branded debit cards.
Mike discusses how cause-related marketing and athlete partnerships can make charity fun for the engaged fan.
What are you working on right now? Any exciting future plans that you’re able to share?
Major League Soccer All-Star Week kicking off this weekend in Orlando! We’re excited to present these experiences for fans:
It’s an intense week, but also one of my favorite weeks of the year. MLS always puts on a fantastic show for their fans.
As a connected fan, what’s the best piece of sports content that you have recently consumed?
I really enjoy the stories athletes are sharing on The Players’ Tribune. They’re raw, honest, insightful, well-written and timely.
What’s been the biggest high and low of working in sports?
Like any place, the lowest point is feeling excluded, but it seems heightened in sports because it’s already a small community. The best part: witnessing the joy that people experience when meeting their favorite player at a branch or in the case of Mexico fans, a moment to feel pride in their identity in a time where they may not feel welcome is pretty damn special.
What’s one element of the sports industry that you’d like to see change?
Respect your younger staff — increase their salary; don’t make them feel disposable. They must be impressive to stand out amongst the competition and land the job. Treat them right. And by the way, if leagues and teams did this, you’d see a more diverse pool of candidates.
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