There is a danger that we (as marketers) get so caught up in the race to create bigger and better content, that we lose sight of the principles that started the social media revolution in the first place.
In the very beginning – at social media genesis – the thing that changed marketing as we know it was not a new form of media space, but conversation. For the first time, consumers and brands could genuinely interact on a personal level in a public space. This was, and still is, the point of social media marketing. The reason it changed everything.
In the last two years, social channels have monetised dramatically and since the pressure on brands to be content creators has also grown, social platforms increasingly resemble traditional media channels, where brands pay to talk and consumers listen.
The evolutionary line is warping into an arc which, if we are not careful, could form a complete circle. To re-embrace social in this new content-dominated world, we need to stop seeing our audience as consumers, and instead see them as collaborators.
In a world where consumer attention spans are rapidly decreasing it may seem far-fetched to talk about content collaboration, but brands aren’t the only ones who have realised that ‘Content is King’. The modern consumer does have the appetite to create their own content; and crucially it has never been easier for them to do so. A Smartphone is now a production agency in a pocket. It allows users to shoot with filters and techniques that were previously the closely-guarded secrets of pros. We’ve seen the passion for mobile photo content, but with the emergence of Vine and the evolution of Instagram, user-generated video content is going to be increasingly important. Brands and consumers are both creating and broadcasting content. The challenge for brands is how they can make use of that.
Content collaboration isn’t a crowd-sourcing gimmick to get PR traction, it is the way to interact and connect with consumers in the current social space. Through collaboration, brands can harness a range of creative talent beyond any organisation or agency. Nissan created their latest Versa Note TV ad entirely through their customers’ Vines, Mercedes-Benz partnered with five top US Instagrammers for their CLA Take the Wheel campaign, Blackberry’s Project Green Screen saw consumers shoot a missing scene in Robert Rodriguez’s short film and last year Ford filmed the Focus ST TV spot entirely on consumers’ mobile phones with amazing results.
All of these projects had a level of creativity that would have been impossible without collaboration. Every day there are more examples coming out and as consumers become increasingly adept at creating content these executions will only get bigger and bolder.
Content collaboration is more important than just creating great content however, it shows that a brand is capable of (and willing to) listen. Content is not just a source of entertainment it is a form of expression and consumers will increasingly use it to communicate on social media. To be truly social, and not just a media channel, brands need to find ways to turn content consumers into content collaborators.
It’s now less than a year until the world’s biggest football tournament kicks off in Brazil. Okay, so football may not be coming home (and won’t be doing so for the foreseeable future), but in 2014 it’s going to spend the summer at its flamboyant South American penpal’s place.
Ahead of the inevitable slew of campaigns from FIFA sponsors, partners of the competing national teams, World Cup ambushers and those brands simply exploiting the global obsession with all things ball-kicky, we thought it an appropriate time to put the question to the floor: what’s the best football commercial of all time?
There’s almost inevitably a knee-jerk shortlist this question generates, with the words “Nike Airport” passing most people’s lips in our office, but I’m keen that we think deeper to see whether this TVC really does stand head and shoulders above the rest of the field. It might be an official sponsor like Visa (FIFA) or Carlsberg (England), a connected ambush play from Pepsi, or just a brilliant use of football’s innate humour and connection to the national psyche (potentially totally unrelated to a tournament such as the World Cup), like John Smith’s Peter Kay Have It ad.
Of course, defining the best inevitably draws attention to the worst examples: the shoddy nemeses that help highlight everything that’s right about the really good executions. These polar opposites demonstrate that it’s not as easy as putting a ball, a fan or a famous player into a scenario to relevantly connect with an audience – after all, football fans are a cynical lot, aren’t they?
Here’s an initial taster of some of the best and worst ads out there – the would-be champions versus the relegation candidates, if you like.
Three of the Best:
Official Sponsor: Coca-Cola Rivalidades
Tournament Ambush: Nike Take it to the Next Level
Using Football: John Smith’s Have It
Three of the Worst:
Official Sponsor: Mars Work Rest Play Your Part for England
Ambush: Pringles Pringooooals
Using Football: TJ Hughes Wayne Rooney’s Brother
So, what do you think? Send us your Top and Bottom 3 examples of football TVCs, either by dropping their YouTube links in the comments section below, or by tweeting them to @yonnex101, using the hashtags #BestFootyAds or #WorstFootyAds, respectively.
Again, they don’t necessarily need to be World Cup-related: what about the big partnership launches (Vauxhall and England), Champions League executions (like Mastercard or Heineken), or just amazing examples of footballers or the sport itself being used to help turn fans into customers…for better or for worse. And don’t be restricted to UK examples – some of the best examples of creativity have come from emerging markets, for whom the passion for the sport is equally as strong.
We’ll publish the walls of fame and shame here later in the year. Who makes your starting XI, and which brand’s behaviour has put them on the transfer list? All will be revealed…
Bringing together over 1,200 delegates and a stellar cast of keynote speakers, the annual IEG Conference is the place to go to get a feel for the US sponsorship industry and the latest trends emerging from that side of the pond.
Having experienced three full days of presentations and roundtables covering every topic under the sponsorship sun, we have enough thoughts, insights and observations to fill a whole series of blogs (which we’ll be publishing over the next few weeks). But in advance of that, it makes sense to start with a high-level view of the key themes to emerge from the conference as a whole, with a particular focus on the keynote speakers.
The New 4 Ps of Sponsorship
In her welcome address, Lesa Ukman (Chief Insights Officer at IEG) introduced “The New 4 Ps”, a simple framework which outlines the critical components of successful sponsorship.
So here it goes: a summary of the core themes from the keynote speakers in the context of “The New 4 Ps”.
Great sponsorship is far more than skin deep. It is about both the brand and the rights holder working together through all available channels to create win/win/win situations, where genuine value is added to the brand, property and audience.
This is not a new idea, and the debate about whether we should move away from the word “sponsorship” has been rumbling for years (decades even). Of course, it doesn’t really matter what we call it as long as brands realise that sponsorship is not a one-way value transfer.
This sense of partnership is at the centre of Pepsi’s new deal with Beyonce. Frank Cooper, Pepsi’s CMO, acknowledged that on the surface it looked like exactly the same sort of deal that Pepsi has been doing since the ‘80s with Michael Jackson (a thought that we have already discussed in the past). However, he assured us that this couldn’t be further from the truth. Evidently, it is a deep collaboration that will redefine how music is created and distributed, deliver innovative episodic content, while also resulting in new Women’s Empowerment projects that come from Beyonce’s personal social conscience. We’ll be watching with great interest.
Miller Light has taken things far deeper than simple product placement in its partnership with The Internship (a new comedy re-uniting Wedding Crashers Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson). The brand is providing large-scale marketing support on-pack and through a high-profile competition to win the ultimate internship with Miller Light. This will, in turn, deliver great content and social currency for Miller, in addition to strong product placement within the movie.
Deborah Dugan, the CEO of (RED), showed another great example of brands working together to create win/win/win scenarios. For those of you not familiar with (RED), it partners with world-leading brands including Nike, Apple, Coca-Cola, Starbucks, Beats by Dr. Dre and Bugaboo to create limited edition (RED) products. A percentage of the profits from these products go to The Global Fund which fights for an AIDS-free generation. This is a great example of a win/win/win scenario: The Global Fund raises much-needed money; brands drive revenue through new products while demonstrating what they stand for; and customers can support the cause simply by buying great, new, limited edition products from the brands they already love.
Clearly, what all these examples have in common is that actively working together creates more value for all parties, while also establishing a concrete role for the brand – all of which deliver the authenticity that is critical to being accepted by an audience.
Of all the New 4 Ps, the idea that a brand needs a purpose (beyond making money for the sake of making money), is probably the one that came through most clearly. Consumers don’t just want to know who a brand is, they need to know what it stands for. A really powerful element of sponsorship is that it can provide a highly visible symbol of a brand’s purpose.
Jim Stengler is so committed to the idea that doing good and doing well are two sides of the same coin that he left his role as CMO of P&G to write a book, Grow, showing that companies with a strong purpose outperformed the market. His view is that a company’s culture – what it believes in and how it behaves – is the only truly sustainable source of differentiation.
He showed how the turning point in the Pampers business was this ad – when it stopped telling people about the product and started showing that “Pampers get babies. Pampers loves babies”. Andy England from MillerCoors used a nice turn of phrase to capture this idea: we need to move from brand campaigns to campaigning for our brand.
For Frank Cooper, the CMO of Pepsi, it’s a case of “The King is dead; long live the King”. Specifically, Content isn’t King. Intent is King. Consumers are no longer happy to just know what you do and how you do it, they want to know why you do it. A brand’s intent is now as important as the product itself.
Ironically, Frank Cooper didn’t manage to articulate the specifics of Pepsi’s “intent”, but he did refer to the Pepsi Refresh Project, describing it as “one of the most important experiments” Pepsi (or any other brand, for that matter) had undertaken in the past decade. It was undeniably brave – but the fact that it was ditched after just one year might indicate that it was a brave failure.
Jim Trebilcock from Dr. Pepper Snapple, provided one of my favourite case studies from the event. The Dr. Pepper Tuition Giveaway uses its sponsorship of NCAA Football to run a promotion giving college students the chance to win their tuition fees ($100,000) by uploading a video which described how they would use their college education to create a better future. I like this because it really brings to life Dr. Pepper’s intent to encourage everyone to tread their own path to become one of a kind.
Synergy have covered this trend extensively over the past year as part of our discussions on the Social Era of Sponsorship – so it was nice to see it reinforced in Chicago.
Brands that simply badge content might get awareness but they don’t necessarily get any credit. Anyone can get awareness by slapping a logo on something – but producing content, events and experiences that resonate with the audience and enhance their experiences is the best way to truly connect.
All the keynote speakers emphasised the importance of being Creator Brands and took the opportunity to showcase some of the great content they had developed. From TV spots to earned media and user-generated content, no presentation was complete without a few examples of the engaging content they had created.
A couple of examples deserve special mention. The first is the deep, multi-channel engagement which Coors Light created around its sponsorship of Liga MX (the Mexican Football League) for the US audience. The sponsorship started with standard on-pack and in-store activity, but the brand took it further to create a website called ‘Fanaticos del Frio’, providing exclusive fan content about Liga MX. It then extended it into mobile apps, social media engagement and experiential activity, before finally partnering with Univision (the major Spanish Language TV Channel) to turn Fanaticos del Frio into a prime-time weekly TV programme. Creating and curating this content means that Coors Light owns the Liga MX fan experience in the US.
Pete Blackshaw, Global Head of Nestle’s digital marketing and social media, shared a very clever new interactive film with us called Perrier’s Secret Place. You are in control as you switch characters to navigate your way through the ultimate Secret Party, trying to find clues that will lead you to the Golden Perrier Bottle. Finding the golden bottle gives you a chance to win trips to “the ultimate parties around the world”. The idea that you should be drinking Perrier at parties to make sure you don’t miss any details of the experience is interesting – and the film is great.
Again, there is nothing new about the idea of content being at the centre of the sponsorship experience – we have written about it many times (here and chapter 6 of our 2013 Trends Report, here) – but it is important that the point is reinforced at every possible occasion.
The stories that a brand can tell about itself are dwarfed by the potential stories that others can tell about it. That’s why sponsors should be finding ways to create movements that everyone can participate and share in.
Adam Garone, co-founder of Movember, really brought to life how a simple idea can harness the power of the audience to spread the word and drive the storyline. Every man that grows a moustache sparks hundreds of different conversations during the month of November – with friends, colleagues and even strangers on the Tube. And that, rather than simply raising money, is the whole point.
However, it is worth raising a couple of words of caution at this point. Firstly, don’t expect customers to participate in something which they don’t really care about (and they’ll be the judge of that), or which doesn’t fit into and improve their existing ‘rituals’. Hundreds of activations fall flat because the consumer just thinks: “why bother?”. Secondly, the whole point of ‘Participation’ is to create some form of legacy – a deeper connection with the consumer that lasts longer and means more than simply viewing an ad. With that in mind, it’s worth remembering that not all content is shareable. As Pablo Ganguli, founder of Liberatum, which creates cultural festivals in countries around the world said: “I would prefer 200 highly motivated, energised, intelligent people to experience my content directly rather than 2 billion people watching my YouTube video because they are bored.”
Sponsorship gives brands the ability to show that they have something in common with the audience. Brands that use sponsorship well are seen by fans to be “one of us”, and that makes them willing to tell their story.
So those are the new 4 Ps. If you have read the Synergy blog and our 2013 Trends Report, you will recognise many of the same themes in our ABCDE framework: for Beyond your Brand (B), read Purpose; for Content (C), read Production; and for Dialogue (D), read Participation. The New 4 P framework doesn’t explicitly reference Authenticity (A) and Emotion (E), but there is no doubt that both those elements need to be at the heart of all of the Ps. Conversely, ABCDE doesn’t explicitly mention Partnership – but that’s simply because the whole framework is about partnerships and the vital ingredients required to create great ones.
So when it comes to great sponsorship it doesn’t really matter what side of the Atlantic you might find yourself on: what the IEG Conference really demonstrated – as the ABCDE and the 4Ps frameworks make clear – is that the rules for outstanding sponsorship are universal.
Who knew London fashion week was first held in 1984? Well I for one didn’t…I thought it started in 1964. Despite getting this question wrong, I still received the Guardian fashion seal of approval: ‘You’ve won a seat on the front row of fashion week wisdom. Mwah. You look fabulous!’
YES fashion quiz, take that! What a sigh of relief I passed. What did this mean? Absolutely nothing, it turned out. Instead, I experienced AW13 London Fashion Week on the FROW of social media.
Established designer Matthew Williamson collaborated with esteemed photographer Sean Cunningham, who exclusively shot the designers collection using Vine and posted his own six-second clips just before the ensemble hit the catwalk. The idea was to give Williamson fans the ultimate FROW experience, focusing on the intricate craftsmanship and detail of each garment in the collection – often overlooked by regular FROWers. Fans were able to follow the Vines on Twitter through #MatthewMagnifield and on Facebook. Like Burberry, Williamson also released his catwalk soundtrack on Spotify.
Fashion socialite and acclaimed designer Henry Holland (of House of Holland) developed a capsule collection exclusively for eBay.co.uk with all proceeds from items sold on the auction site during London Fashion Week going to Cancer Research UK.
Sponsor of London Fashion Week, American Express launched ‘Fashion Insiders’ based at Somerset House. Their purpose was to assist, navigate and advise fashion week guests when needed. Sporting the latest colour block trend, American Express exclusively partnered with new gen designer Jonathan Saunders to ensure the ‘Fashion Insiders’ were suitably dressed for the occasion. The brand also partnered with fashion blogger, Disney Roll, who created a series of sponsored posts for the brand.
The British Fashion Council (BCF) made a strong statement that 2013 would be the start of the digital revolution for fashion in this country and London Fashion Week AW13 would be the starting place. For the first time ever the BFC partnered with You Tube to live-stream 21 of the on-schedule catwalk shows through the LFW channel. The BFC continues to lead British Fashion in the right direction, showing our fashion counterparts that pioneering new technologies need to be integrated into Fashion Week and remain at the forefront of the global fashion industry for the future.
Which brand wouldn’t want her as the face of their campaign? #modelbehaviour
Noticeably this season, London Fashion Week was dominated by the designers’ innovative desire to give their fans and customers the most intimate experience possible. Where traditionally big sponsors of the event may have capitalised on their dominant position, designers and models have re-emerged, laying claim on digital innovation and consumer engagement.
So, whether you want to dress up, invite your friends over or even don a pair of sunglasses for the occasion, fashion has a new set of FROWers, the ‘Socialistas.’
We have WiFi on our trains, our buses, in our cafés and bars and even across the underground network– but why is it still not commonplace across our sports stadia?
Most clubs and sporting bodies will boldly claim the importance of social media as a platform with which to engage their fans and will often boast record numbers of ‘Followers’ and ‘Likes’, along with gains in emerging markets. Yet strangely, very few have recognised the potential commercial value of having a ‘connected’ stadium to improve the match day experience for both those attending and, perhaps more significantly, for those that are not through the sharing of content that this enables.
I recently attended a seminar on the changing habits of sports viewing where one of the panel, a senior marketing figure at a Premier League club, claimed that there was no need for WiFi in a football stadium, as he didn’t feel that fans had the dwell time within a match to update social media sites or consume additional content. I couldn’t disagree more.
On a matchday, 3G networks are over-burdened with people trying to access the internet via a mobile devices, making progress painfully slow- the modern digital-savvy customer neither expects nor is willing to wait. Like it or not, we live in a world where people share almost every facet of their lives in real-time and expect content to be available to them – free of charge – whenever they want it. Conversations, both online and offline, are driven by people’s passion…and there are few more passionate than your average sports fan.
These people want to share photos, videos and opinions and they want to do it as the action unfolds. This wealth of crowd-sourced content is not constrained by the confines of the stadium – it is consumed by fans in all corners of the globe. Its power lies in the affinity that exists between fans: it is the reason we read sports blogs and the reason that we follow complete strangers on Twitter – we often value its honesty more than any communication by a club via more formal channels.
For the club and its sponsors this opens up a world of opportunities – limited only by the imagination of the marketer. Think digital programmes, live match stats, pre-match press conferences, competitions, live betting offers and more. Want to pre-order and pay for your half time beer? It’s all possible.
At its most basic, increasing the quality and frequency of your social media output will increase your reach, which (putting a commercial hat on) can only make you a more commercially attractive entity. Monetising your fanbase is no longer just about selling season tickets and shirts, it’s about growing your reach within a given market to demonstrate your standing and influence to potential commercial partners.
This is not to say that there is not a handful of players out there that are doing it well. The Rugby Football Union has recently signed a partnership to make Twickenham the most digitally advanced stadium in Europe. This is starting with the installation of an ‘LED fan-engagement and advertising system’ which will “boost interaction and engagement with the crowd” by displaying fan messages of support. Meanwhile, Real Madrid and Barcelona have signed deals with Cisco Systems and Telefonica respectively, in order to provide hi-density WiFi networks – two deals which are likely to be largely value in kind.
While the pace of uptake has been somewhat surprising, I have little doubt that it will eventually play a significant role in the way that we interact with live sport. The question is how will sponsors take advantage?
Athletes represent hugely valuable commodities for sponsors in the US, with Basketball leading the way in celebration of the stars that enter the courts up and down the country. Michael Jordan started the trend in the ’80s, signing a multi-million dollar deal with Nike that led to his self-titled ‘Air Jordan’ trainer; whilst players such as Kobe Bryant and LeBron James represent more contemporary prized assets.
These players are idolised by children who dream of growing up and playing in the NBA, and with Nike and adidas monopolising the market for player sponsorship, the usual global stand-off is apparent. Last year, Nike created a fabulous water projection of Carmelo Anthony to launch his new shoe in New York, and this year LeBron James starred in the ‘destined for greatness’ campaign, where The Ring Maker was launched.
However, adidas has taken an alternative route with their sponsorship of Chicago Bulls star, Derrick Rose, the youngest MVP in the history of the NBA. Rose, or D Rose as he is now known, went down injured in April during a Play-Off game, with a season-ending ACL tear. This put adidas’s creative skills to the test, with a decision made to focus on the rehabilitation of their prized asset, building towards his potential return in February 2013, when he will hopefully return for the Bulls in the Play-Offs.
The commercial, entitled “Wake Up”, captures the shock and disbelief of the Chicago fans following the injury, and looks to the future as the Windy City comes back to life following Rose’s return to the court. The ad is shot in various locations across Chicago, and features cameos from Derrick’s brother Reggie, Chicago sports anchor Dan Roan and Kevin Harlan’s in-game commentary. “Wake Up” was launched in September 2012, with the adidas ‘D Rose signature collection’ launched in early October.
In his own words, D Rose shares his innermost thoughts on his strenuous recovery training, the return to his hometown of Chicago and the filming of the shorts. The films not only focus on his drive towards a return, but also the unmatched intensity that has pushed him to meet his ultimate goal: to be great and win championships.
Fans across the world have joined “The Return of D Rose” conversation since it began in August 2012, and some of the most inspiring comments are featured during the end credits of each film. Adidas will continue to reward loyal D Rose fans that join the conversation through the adidas Basketball Facebook Page and on Twitter with #TheReturn@adidasHoops.
Through the campaign, adidas have created an emotional connection with the fans, with Rose giving an inside view of the trials and tribulations of rehabilitation, which enables consumers to feel part of his story. This enhances the viewer’s connection with Rose and, with time, adidas Basketball. With over 300,000 Twitter followers, ‘D Rose’ presents a great platform to share content created by adidas Basketball. With a cumulative view count that is well over 3 million (and rising), adidas Basketball has shown that even when a player is inactive, they can still be key to the campaign if executed correctly.
Have you ever found yourself shouting at your TV whilst watching a football match alone? Or, if you’re like me, watching Made in Chelsea and yearning to gab with your girlfriends about Millie’s awful outfit? If this sounds familiar, then you need to hear about zeebox.
Zeebox is a new company that’s dedicated to improving your television experience by amalgamating the power of the internet with your TV, all whilst enabling you to socialise with your friends. The notion behind the innovation is to create a more engaging TV-viewing experience, whilst incorporating a new social media aspect to an often lonesome activity.
The zeebox team, based in London, have created a free app that can be connected with your TV via your laptop, iPhone, iPad or Android smartphone. Zeebox can also be used as a social tool by instantaneously providing you with information on what your friends are watching and what shows are the most popular, in real-time. It’s the perfect combination of leisure and entertainment.
The revolutionary aspect of the zeebox is that by simply inviting your friends to join you, it enables you to share content with them, and can chat about programmes together while you watch them. Zeebox is also integrated with Twitter, so you can keep your followers up-to-date as you watch.
As you watch your favourite shows and films, zeebox recognises references to people, places and topics, and puts them up as keyword tags, or “zeetags”, on your screen. All you have to do is click on the zeetag and the machine brings up search results on Wikipedia, Google, or anywhere else on the web. Plus, if your TV is connected to the internet, zeebox can also act as your remote control.
To top it all off, you can also identify products that are related to what you’re watching and purchase them immediately online. This enables viewers to shop in real-time and increases the relevence of product placement in movies and television shows.
This short video from the company founders shows this clever TV sidekick in action.
Why we like it
Zeebox’s integrated social features enable the user to do an impressive number of social and technological tasks, easily and efficiently. By pulling in content on the spot from the internet, zeebox instantly provides you with a vast amount of information that’s easy to navigate. Thanks to this connected portal of information, zeebox is expected to become part of the standard TV-viewing experience in the not-so-distant future – hence why BSkyB decided to take a 10% stake in the company at the beginning of this year.
So, if zeebox is to lead the way for the companion app revolution in TV, and connected TV lives up to its expectations, then TV viewing will never be the same. It is incredibly important for brands to take note of this, as the implications are wide-reaching. The usual television advertisement will lose its relevance and brands will have to move to a more product placement and ad-funded programming orientated strategy to ensure their products get the desired cut-through. This is very exciting, as we will start to move from passive TV consumption to a more active experience in which brands can play an important role.
This, together with the seamless combination of rich information and social channels in one place, brings a sense of excitement that the way we consume television is about to change forever, and that zeebox is one of the catalysts for this change.
With 19 league defeats so far this season, Ipswich Town aren’t going to win many accolades for their performances on the pitch. However, faced with the launch of their new kit, the Championship side demonstrated creative ability which should make any club sit up and take notice.
To publicise the kit launch, the Tractor Boys headed to Easton Farm to record a tongue-in-cheek viral that hugely entertained football fans across the country. In the film, goalkeeper Arran Lee-Barrett (who needs a bit of practice if their ‘goals against’ column is anything to go by) can be spotted diving around the farmyard and striker Jay Emmanuel-Thomas is filmed dribbling around milk containers. The club’s legendary attacker John Wark also makes a cameo appearance dressed as a farmer.
There’s obviously something in the East Anglian water, as their local rivals Norwich City took a similar approach in 2011, when they brought a bit of Italy to Norfolk with the launch of their Errea kit, through a viral that included Paul Lambert scanning the Gazetta dello Sport.
Why we love it
The football romantics amongst us will remember when kit launches were a rare event that would lead to genuine excitement. They’re now held on an annual basis, with most Premier League clubs producing three kits a year (has a third kit ever been worn?).
Despite plenty of opportunities to experiment, the majority of clubs still rely on a tried and tested way of getting mum and dad to part with their hard-earned cash. Chelsea recently displayed the usual activity undertaken by the majority of clubs, who rely on a photo with a handful of stars (normally including one who has been linked with a move away from the club) posing with the kit behind the club crest. Such launches usually incorporate a video, which in this case contains some particularly profound soundbites from Gary Cahill – “you’re used to seeing Chelsea in a blue strip innit” – and Juan Mata – “every team has a different kit.”
Ipswich Town haven’t taken themselves too seriously and have been willing for fans to have a bit of chuckle at their expense. The viral has been rewarded with over 124,000 views on YouTube to date with football fans quick to register their praise:
“Brilliant! Funny and engaging. Absolutely genius advertising and it doesn’t break the bank, very sensible of Ipswich. Well done!”
“I’m a Brighton fan, but I have to say this is quality!”
“Great idea and good to see a bit of humour instilled in football.”
The viral also received coverage across football forums and media outlets, with Ipswich Town’s retail manager Lee Hyde stating that it was another way to help the club interact with fans:
“It’s fantastic to interact with the fans through social media and social networking nowadays. The viral kinds of feeds from that.”
I won’t be heading to the Ipswich club shop anytime soon, but I definitely take my hat off to them and hope that one day my team Tottenham realise that marketing club merchandise doesn’t have to be quite so straight-laced.
With Conference Premier football club Kettering Town FC on their financial knees and with their very existence at threat, there was only one place to look for redemption; to a time of bigger hair, shorter shorts and fatter ‘taches. I’m of course talking about the 1970s.
At the home fixture with Stockport County on Saturday 31st March, the struggling club agreed to wear a specially made retro playing strip, faithful to the original 1976 design and featuring vintage ‘short’ shorts. Betfair was also set to offer season-ticket holders unbeatable value with a rebate to attend the match for just £1 – the cost of entry in 1976 – with fans able to pocket the difference or donate it back to the club.
To get the Kettering squad in the mood for the fixture, we visited the club to undertake a transformation back to the spirit of the 1970s, as brought to life in this exclusive photo shoot. The players were enthusiastic and willing models, with player-manager Ashley Westwood and midfielder David Bridges proving more than a little comfortable in the ‘70s ensemble.
It’s impossible, however, to recall the nostalgia of 1970s football, and not bring to mind images of stirring broadcast coverage. In a tribute to the Dickie Davies-anchored ‘World of Sport’ and other such TV gems, we created “Betfair’s Big Match”, following hapless sports reporter Dave Mandelson as he visited the team in preparation for the crucial Stockport County fixture.
The surge of media interest caused quite a stir in the Football Conference, however, with league sponsors Blue Square Bet objecting to a rival betting brand operating within their apparent space. On Friday 30th March, and just 24 hours ahead of the crucial fixture, Kettering Town were faced with the threat of possible league expulsion if they went ahead with the unique deal. In light of this development Betfair reluctantly withdrew the shirts from the match itself, whilst still donating the much needed cash to the club.
What better way to spend St Patrick’s Day than watching England v Ireland at Twickenham with a pint of GUINNESS in hand? Well the rugby mad GUINNESS team here at Synergy certainly can’t think of one! So after another busy RBS 6 Nations tournament, it’s time to look back on our highlights from the GUINNESS Made of More campaign.
It all started back in January when a refreshed team of ambassadors were chosen to bring to life the new GUINNESS Made of More brand positioning. The four ambassadors were picked to support the brand’s partnership as ‘Official Beer of The RBS 6 Nations’, as well as Official Partners of the home unions, England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The new (and one not so new) faces included Scotland’s Sean Lamont, England full back Ben Foden, Wales centre Jamie Roberts and Jamie Heaslip of Ireland who were all contracted to spearhead an integrated below-the-line campaign for the brand.
Working as part of a cross agency team with Ireland’s WHPR and Cybercom, Synergy co-ordinated the two day launch which included content filming, photography and media interviews. To really get rugby fans across all four home nations roused ahead of the tournament the Cybercom team created a spine tingling video featuring the ambassadors, which has since had over 100,000 views.
Synergy contracted the photographer, Hamish Brown, to create a selection of images that inextricably showed the players’ dynamism and power, also demonstrating that like the GUINNESS product, the brand’s ambassadors are made of something a little bit extra. Whether this is Ben Foden’s lightening fast feet or Jamie Roberts’ powerful charges through the midfield, we wanted to capture each of the ambassador’s individual traits which proves they are made of more.
The Synergy PR team secured national and regional coverage in England, Wales and Scotland across a range of sectors including sport and lifestyle press, online, radio and broadcast, with WHPR generating some great coverage in Ireland.
One of the key objectives of this campaign was to drive international rugby fans to the GUINNESS Facebook pages, and encourage a deeper brand engagement through the ambassadors providing a steady stream of exclusive content from inside their camps. The cross agency team also developed a unique competition for fans from each nation to win the chance to play alongside their hero in the GUINNESS Rugby Challenge at the end of the tournament. More on that later…
Throughout the campaign Synergy activated player and coach appearances including interviews with Wales front row Gethin Jenkins, Scott Lawson and Chris Cusiter of Scotland, as well as England (then interim) coaches Stuart Lancaster and Andy Farrell.
Throughout the championship, GUINNESS ran an off-trade competition whereby one lucky GUINNESS customer could win the chance to have an England legend come to their home and watch the England v Ireland match with their mates, whilst toasting St Patrick’s Day with a few pints of the black stuff! Former England star Andrew Sheridan stepped up to plate, and for our lucky winner Keith Roberts and his friends it was a completely unforgettable day.
Andy’s insight and running commentary throughout the game proved perfect considering the game was so forward driven, with the big man himself proclaiming that “all that passing nonsense is for wimps!” All in all, it was certainly an they will tell their friends about every time they have a pint of GUINNESS at the local pub.
After seven weeks of rugby the final weekend saw Wales aiming for a Grand Slam in Cardiff, but the final curtain was to fall at a sold out Twickenham on St Patrick’s Day, with GUINNESS there to join in with the craic. Thanks to the RFU, the GUINNESS St Patrick’s Day video was shown to over 80,000 England and Ireland fans live at Twickenham, in addition to over 1,000 GUINNESS hats given away to fans in the West Car Park. All of which added up to the GUINNESS bar have its busiest day at the rugby ever!
With Paddy’s Day behind us, the Synergy team rounded off this year’s RBS 6 Nations with the GUINNESS Rugby Challenge. Winners, plus two friends, were invited to Twickenham Stoop to play rugby alongside our ambassadors, minus Sean Lamont who was gallantly replaced by Scotland’s Jon Barclay. The warm up was taken by England forwards coach, Graham Rowntree and fitness coach Calvin Morris who later went on to referee the touch rugby competition.
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