Nearly half of the people in the world are interested in football (soccer) and one fifth of them actually participate in the sport. Smart brands know passionate fans outscore the average person in media consumption and intended purchases, which is why they leverage football tournaments to grow and sustain their brands. For instance, in 2014, Adidas sold more than €2bn (£1.7bn) in football gear during the World Cup. If you’re targeting fans to hit some revenue goals, these three strong marketing strategies will help you score.
Engage Fans With Augmented Reality
From the positive response Spanish La Liga saw after allowing fans to access 360-degree playback, real-time statistics during games, and Juventus Snapchat filters, they (and other football clubs) saw that fans welcome enhancing their experience with Augmented Reality (AR) technology. If your football marketing plan relies on plain old TV and print ads, fans won’t pay as much attention. In fact, AR app creation specialists Blippar states that AR apps hold consumer attention for 75 seconds, 2.5 times the average for TV, radio or outdoor advertising. If you want to boost engagement, encourage loyalty and ultimately beat your competition, you need AR on your team. In fact, 9 out of 10 large consumer advertisers in a survey conducted by BCG are already using, or are planning to use, AR in their marketing campaigns.
Here are two ways to get started with AR:
- Advertise your brand on popular third party augmented reality platforms owned or managed by social media, messaging, or gaming companies. For instance, using Facebook’s new augmented reality camera, FIFA is offering fans around the world the chance to add new and innovative 3D face masks to photos and videos.
- Revamp your packing to reflect the theme of football with AR like McDonald’s did above. During the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the fast food company switched their recognizable fries box for 12 unique “World Cup-themed arts.” The boxes served as the entry point for an augmented reality game McDonald’s GOL! that consumers could play on their mobile phones.
Provide fans with immersive experiences allowing them to feel their love for the game on a new, exciting level using AR.
Win Hearts and Pockets With Experiential Events
Consumers love experiences. That’s why they buy from brands that engage them emotionally with experiential events. According to a recent EMI’s Event Track Study, Experiential Marketing Content Benchmarking Report, 74% of consumers stated that engaging with branded event marketing experiences made them more likely to buy the promoted products.
Experiential marketing is money well spent. In fact, 65% of brands that use experiential campaigns see a positive correlation with sales. Thinking of using experiential marketing to bond with football fans on an emotional level and win over their hearts? Below are a few things to note:
Know Your Audience: Find out what conversations football fans are having and what makes them tick before you build your experiential campaign. If you don’t, you’ll end up like Puma. When introducing their new Italy jersey for the 2014 FIFA World Cup campaign, the company erected confessionals in New York, Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles during Ash Wednesday and brand ambassadors encouraged bystanders to kneel before the jersey, take photos and share the moment on their social channels. Unfortunately, consumers thought the marketing strategy tone deaf, resulting in thousands of negative comments.
Deliver An Engaging Experience: A lasting impression that lives beyond the moment is the heart of experiential marketing. So instead of putting up tents with your products, give soccer fans something to remember. For this year’s FIFA World Cup, Coca-Cola is offering football lovers a new digital experience with a 360-degree tour of the official FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour by Coca-Cola plane using virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technology. Instead of a themed cup, the beverage brand is providing customers with a memory they won’t soon toss aside and forget.
Create A Community: Build a deep relationship with football fans by delivering energy filled events that bring them together. Take a look at Budweiser. For the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Budweiser created the Bud Boat where fans from all over the UK can watch the World Cup. The Bud Boat will cruise down London’s River Thames and host screening parties, DJs and bars. Sports fans love cheering on their teams. Engage them in a memorable way with experiential marketing and you’ll always be on their mind.
Score From The Sideline With Ambush Marketing
While the official sponsor of any football event has its benefits, you don’t have to be the headlining name to make money when you have Ambush marketing at your disposal. Ambush marketing is when a non-sponsor associates itself with an event, participating team or player without formal recognition. Using this strategy during the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Nike, an ‘unofficial sponsor,’ received more buzz than Adidas, one of the official sponsors of the tournament.
Rather than pay an estimated $100 million to legally embed World Cup emblems onto products, apparel and ads, Nike featured one of football’s finest, Christiano Ronaldo in their timely, football-themed marketing campaigns. Many casual fans probably didn’t notice whether Nike was an official sponsor, and even more possible, they just didn’t care.
Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Know The Rules: Ambush marketing can backfire quickly, and there’s a fine line between ambush marketing and illegal advertising. Have your legal team sign off on your plan and be aware of any possible landmines. You don’t want to end up like Nicklas Bendtner who was fined 100K euros and banned from a game because he showed the name of betting company Paddy Power on his elastic band during the 2012 UEFA European Championship.
- Get Permission: Don’t assume you have permission to use player or team imagery. Work with the teams and players and make sure they’re on board. Yes, even for your social media posts.
- Be Creative: Use the theme of football to your advantage but leave out protected logos, words, fonts, symbols & trademarks of the football tournament.While there’s a huge debate in the marketing world on whether ambush marketing is ethical or not, done correctly, it drives results.
With ambush marketing, Beats by Dre ruled the 2014 World Cup with its “The Game Before The Game” ad without making reference to the tournament. The results? $50m in PR value, 1,502,265,009 global impressions, and 130% growth in online headphone sales.
Go Score Some Goals
Football presents a great opportunity to hit some revenue goals. Harness the shared passion of the sport by engaging fans with AR, winning over the hearts and pockets with experiential marketing and scoring from the side with ambush marketing. Go score some goals. We’ll be cheering you on.