How do brands use sports competitions for advertising and marketing?

By Neeraj Sharma

The strategy of using famous players and sports leagues in different ways has been part of advertising and marketing for a long time. If we have to remember a few highlights from the past, it has to start with Pelé: Puma and the Pause campaign. It took Pele just 42 seconds to tie his shoes during the 1970 FIFA World Cup final. The Brazilian star player stood in midfield and asked the referee to pause the game for a while. Knowing he would be the center of attention, Pele automatically put his Puma shoes in the spotlight and created one of the first viral sports marketing campaigns.

Pepsi’s most viral campaign came to the world of cricket and was ‘Change the Game’ at the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup. It featured some of the world’s biggest cricket stars in a way never seen before through the signature moves of the cricketers in another setting to celebrate.

If a brand needs to align its marketing strategy, it will look at the massiveness and appeal of the event, in addition to understanding the target segment it is targeting. These sports leagues and tournaments provide an ideal opportunity to engage and serve millions of people around the world. Looking at the official sponsors for FIFA 2022 such as Adidas, Coca-Cola, Hyundai-Kia, QatarEnergy, Qatar Airways and Visa, these are all traditional companies but vertically captured from different sectors. As sponsorship grows, measuring effectiveness at every step has become critical for brands. Companies are already shifting their focus to first-party data ownership strategies. The key factor here would be how brands associating with sports are trying to bridge the gap and start to get really tangible use of products.

Businesses want to make a lasting impact, delivering personalized marketing experiences based on the user’s past interactions with a particular brand or industry. By keeping up with the trends and understanding their target audience every time they come up with a campaign, be it geographic location, demographics, interests or revenue. The use of interactive content by measuring audiences across platforms has become just as important. No wonder companies offering creative communications often translate to higher click-through rates using “intelligent segmentation.”

A Nielsen Sports 2022 report outlines how a fan’s viewing experience has changed as well. 40.7% of global sports fans now stream live sports via digital platforms. And sports viewing has become a multi-screen experience, with 47% of people watching sports interacting with other live content at the same time, up from 5% over the past year.

Companies also try to keep customer acquisition costs (CAC) to the absolute minimum. The most effective measure to identify or determine profitability is to see if a company can lower CAC and see higher numbers in overall profit. It is a well-known maxim in marketing circles that acquiring a new customer is always more expensive than retaining the existing one.

What the future holds:

The esports industry offers a lot of room for advertisers. With global esports sponsorship expected to reach $1 billion by the end of 2022, it will become an obvious choice for robust sponsorship due to its ability to build awareness and connect brands with new and younger audiences in innovative ways.

Influencer athletes are also becoming increasingly popular and influential in promoting and amplifying campaigns. Brands will also look to connecting with their consumers as this increases the likelihood of engagement after a season or competition and is a driving force for digital marketing.

The author is the Vice President (Global Business) at Global Media

Also read: Disney+Hotstar launches ‘Follow On’ to provide real-time coverage of cricket matches

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