Panthers Purrsuit: A first-hand experience (11/1/11)

It’s always cool to see how professional sports teams interact with their fans, especially when it’s as innovative as this past weekend’s Panthers Purssuit — which was an interactive city-wide scavenger hunt across Charlotte, NC using companion content and social media. The Carolina Panthers partnered with local businesses in this scavenger hunt as a way to introduce Panthers fans to what the city has to offer. GotCup Community Manager Mike D’Avria and his nearly 8-months pregnant wife Molly participated in the event. This is their story. (Please note: the picture below is of Mike and Sir Purr, not of with his pregnant wife Molly.) 

Molly and I have done citywide scavenger hunts in the past, but the Panthers Purrsuit was a bit different because of all the social media components involved. We like to think of ourselves as active people who also know how to use technology — which means we thought we had a leg-up on the competition. We also had one big advantage, Siri, which is Apple’s personal assistant on the iPhone 4S. How could we lose with her guidance?

We arrived at the Panthers practice field — which in my opinion has the absolute greatest view of the Charlotte skyline in the whole city — next to Bank of America stadium and quickly realized that we had a lot of competition. The first three challenges were actually on the practice field and included a three-legged race, a comedy improv bit that was videotaped, and a field goal attempt. I played a lot of soccer growing up, but have never had the chance to kick a field goal. My first practice attempt — from 30 yards — went wide left, but had the distance. My second practice attempt was a line drive that would have hit the left guard in the back of the helmet. My third try was for real, so the pressure was on. I took a deep breath and split the uprights. It would have been good from 45 yards. Kicking a perfect field goal on an actual NFL practice field from 30-yards ranks as the third best sports-related moment of my life behind hitting the pin on an approach shot during a playoff hole to win a junior golf tournament, and laying down a perfect bunt to bring in the winning run in my Little League’s semi-final game. We went on to win the finals, by the way.

Next up was the improv bit. I like to think I am funny, but not improv funny. People who really know how to improvise on the spot are geniuses. Luckily, we got points for just attempting the challenge — it didn’t matter how funny it was. The three-legged race was next, and I didn’t fall, so that was a win for our team as well. After these challenges we scanned a QR code and got in our car to find the Center City Allen Tate offices. Molly asked Siri, “Where is Allen Tate Center City?” Siri brought it up and we were on our way. Nearly 30-minutes later we realized that Siri took us to the wrong offices, and that the address for where we actually needed to be was IN THE CLUE! Siri has already made the D’Avria family dumber. We did the challenge, and were on our way. We went on to complete challenges that involved a “Supermarket Sweep” game at Classroom Central, a scavenger hunt for items inside a new Subara Legacy, learning a Panthers cheer from the TopCats cheerleaders (who were super nice and asked us a dozen questions about Molly’s pregnancy), a pop-quiz about the 3D trailer for Rio in the Queen City Audio Video & Appliances screening room and many other challenges.

But, we were already dead on arrival when we trusted Siri instead of actually reading the clue. We had no shot at winning, especially with teams who came ready to dominate. One team took a limousine to the challenges so they didn’t have to find parking, and also so they could drink champagne throughout the day. They got a great deal by tweeting out the name of the limo company throughout the day as well.

The Panthers Purrsuit is such a cool idea because it gives the opportunity for Panthers fans to interact with each other in an innovative way. It’s great for businesses in Charlotte as well because it creates a buzz in the community using people who love social media. Creating companion content for social media power users is something we are just now seeing the start of. There will be more events like this one, and personally, I can’t wait until the 2012 Panthers Purrsuit.


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