A Summer of Sport for Advertisers

June 6, 2012

Many brands look to associate themselves with sports and sports men and women, to tie in with the emotions that people invest in sport. It allows them to connect with consumers in a way that no other type of marketing can. With the Olympics coming this summer, TV advertising has taken on a new theme. Ads for products not traditionally linked to sport such as credit cards, shampoo, dishwasher powder and more have all followed sports drinks trends and taken to having connections with the Olympics. However, in Ireland, the Olympics will not be the biggest event of the summer. That event starts for Ireland this week in Poznan, Poland, in the 2012 European championships and we have already seen many brands and products attempt to associate themselves with the event and tap into the emotions that will be felt by thousands here during that time. From members of the squad staring in TV commercials to the multitude of brands giving away tickets to Poland, or even giving you the means to get there, to electric stores, dvd rental stores, alcohol brands and newspapers, this is a key time for brands to connect with a passionate audience or to simply piggyback on the biggest event of the summer. Brands that do it well can be a part of life long memories and the side note to stories that will be told forevermore. After all, what other walk of life can you scream with excitement at the top of your voice in public? 3 Mobile could well benefit from the next 30 years of replays of an Irish player stroking home a winning penalty.

ITV have taken a key insight of England supporters, the ‘what if’ question, and came up with the idea for a short piece entitled ‘ITV Dreams’ to highlight their coverage of the upcoming championships. In it, they remake famous failures in recent England football history and re-create them with a different outcome. One example is not missing in a penalty shootout to Germany, a match they actually lost on spotkicks in 1996. This taps in to the emotional element of sport while putting ITV forward as a real fan. They are showing that they know exactly how everyone felt at the time. Internationally, Pepsi Max and Nike have released their biennial big budget pieces which arrive just as the excitement builds in the weeks before an international tournament. My favourite is Nike’s ‘My time is now’ campaign featuring a match between the Dutch and French teams that gets hijacked by a mix of international stars including some from reigning world and European champions Spain. This video does not just consist of the usual smattering of famous footballers, but also has a series of 9 ‘tunnels’ that are hidden throughout the film. Find one of the tunnels and it takes you on a separate journey, showing you videos related to Nike products, Ronaldo’s fitness regime, a video explaining how Nike jerseys are created from 90% recycled plastic, a site where you can buy international kits and even Facebook integration where you can visit the Nike barber and give yourself a footballer’s haircut to share with your friends. The video has spread to football fans online through various social media outlets such as forums, showing that viral ads are still a powerful tool in digital marketing. So famous have these regular Nike ads become, with their range of top quality footballers of the time, that some see these ads as the start to the official countdown to the games. All this, without even having to mention a tournament. That’s when you know that you understand your audience, and that you have an association.

Dara

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