The Rugby World Cup raises some interesting questions about creative marketing versus traditional sponsorship. With 19 sponsors of the competition and 26 sponsors of the England team alone, there is indeed clutter. Yet there have been some creative examples of branded content shining through — much of it from brands who have led the branded content industry as a whole the last couple of years. Very common “branded content” formats have been deployed, such as short-form reality series (Samsung’s School Of Rugby and Land Rover’s #WeDealInReal), the airline safety video (Air Zealand’s Men In Black Safety), the interview series (Beat’s The Game Starts Here), the live prank (Scott Quinnell’s impromptu welsh choir) and,
finally, the digital signage-social media extension (O2’s Wear The Rose).
In North America, sports-related sponsorship spend is approaching $15 billion in 2015, according to Advertising Week. Compare that to $2 billion in other entertainment sponsorship or $1.9 billion in cause marketing sponsorships. NASCAR is a great example of its power, with 40% of fan’s being able to identify all the key NASCAR sponsors, 75% likely to consider a NASCAR sponsor and 76% likely to recommend a NASCAR sponsor, according to a report last year by sports marketing research firm Performance Research. That said, as viewing habits have fragmented, many sponsors and competitions have been slow to adapt to digital. This has enabled extreme sports, which is extremely popular on YouTube, with of-course brands like Red Bull and GoPro, who have capitalized brilliantly, debuting seemingly, one awe-inspiring video after another.Traditional sports are beginning to catch-up however.
Here are some examples of clever, sports orientated branded content campaigns from 2014 and 2015:
The Virtual Reality Experience:
Title: Bryce Harper Virtual Reality Experience
Clever Product Placement:
Title: 805 Million Names
Brand: World Food Program
Title: Horse With Harden
Brand: Foot Locker
Social Content Marketing
Title: The Giferator
Brand: Electronic Arts/Madden Sports
Unlike other forms of media, such as news or entertainment, sports seem to be somewhat immune to viewer suspicion of brand participation. Additionally, sports marketing is often better synchronized with the viewing/discovery habits underpinning digital media, namely social or search (versus curation and interruptive, which tends to be associated with old media and is more susceptible to ad-blocking). The challenge then for marketers lies in coming up with those clever ideas, which really cut past all the other brands vying for the same attention during major sporting events. A bigger question remains however, as audiences continue to fragment and ad-blockers become more sophisticated, should brands be looking to tap into communities already established around specifics sports or establish their own sport orientated communities? We’ll look at this in a future post.
This post was penned by VideoInk publishing partner Branded.tv, a one-stop shop for branded entertainment. Branded.tv features and catalogs the best branded entertainment campaigns from around the world.