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Some memorable moments from the most social World Cup ever!

It’s all over. The most connected World Cup. The most digital World Cup. The most social World Cup…ever.

New sporting records were set for tweets sent, Facebook interactions and inappropriate photos involving Mario Balotelli and the Queen.

But with everyone from sponsors to sports stars, brands to broadcasters clambering over themselves to tap into the Brazilian buzz, what made you smile or share?

Andy McKenzie of digital sports content specialists LiveWire Sport picked out some memorable moments from the last month.


The weeks and months leading up to major events are always hugely important for brands to maximise their time with big names before disappearing behind FIFA’s commercial curtain.

Digital campaigns leading up to the World Cup Finals generally centred around gaining maximum exposure for high-end advertising campaigns featuring star players.

Adidas and Beats by Dre caught the eye, but Nike stole the pre-tournament show.

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Nice storytelling, a hint of humour and Rooney’s dodgy Scouse accent helped earn their 64m YouTube views for The Last Game, without any of their stars presumably even having to appear in front of a green screen or step into a recording booth.

Good job they got in early as the only player in the campaign that made it as far as the semi-finals was David Luiz, who perhaps took Nike’s ‘Risk Everything’ message too seriously.

Hats off to the Daily Telegraph’s Project Babb for a brilliantly stitched together Roy Hodgson rap. Altogether now – “You’ve got to hold and give…”

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And both the BBC and Guardian built some nice interactive tools for picking your best-ever World Cup side.



Time to unveil the shiny new technological toys.

The official FIFA.com site had a new live centre and a social hub that was packed full of detail and data, with sponsors like McDonald’s, Hyundai, Castrol and Budweiser handed some prime real estate, while Sony had a destination of their own at One Stadium Live.

Facebook created a World Cup hub to access content, while Twitter rolled out a number of innovations including hashflags, man-of-the-match voting (sponsored by Budweiser), score updates and dedicated match pages for each game.

ITV used Grabyo and partnered with Paddy Power and Twitter Amplify to maximise their live rights, while everyone enjoyed some friendly fun at the expense of Robbie Savage

Every detail of the tournament was analysed – even down to who won the World Cup of arm-folding (some welcome news for Tottenham fans).


Big moments

The rapid rise of real-time content continues.

Who can react quickest to those huge talking points, with brands all trying to create that ‘Oreo moment’.

Adidas set up a newsroom in Rio to react to events by creating content and it seems the #allin motto applies to the resources they put behind it.

There was the odd marketing own goal – like Delta’s giraffe gaffe and KLM’s Mexican mischief  – and a few weird ones – like Listerine’s #PowerToYourMouth.

Brazil’s monumental fall from grace was perfect Paddy Power territory

while PornHub gained an unexpected uplift in extra followers on the back of their tweet.

Brilliant Ads shared a quite brilliant take on the 2014 logo that got nearly 13k retweets

while @brazuca was silenced for one night.

The USA finally fell in love with soccer. Obama watched on Air Force One, Hulk Hogan and Will Ferrell pledged their allegiance to the beautiful game and then there was Tim Howard and THOSE saves.

Hats off to the Scottish FA for reacting to Germany’s crushing of Brazil with a timely and humorous post about their upcoming Euro 2016 qualifier (v Germany).

Scottish FA

The Final

Things turned out nice in the end for adidas in their battle with Nike as Messi and Muller, Argentina and Germany all manufactured their way to the final, seeing off the Nike-sponsored pair of Brazil and the Netherlands in the semi-finals.

Adidas had David Beckham on their YouTube show The Dugout, the official ball, the winners of the Golden Glove, the Golden Ball and the Golden Boot.

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Nike still had the match-winning Mario Gotze

but maybe nobody reacted better than Lufthansa to Germany’s win.


As another major sporting event passes through our timelines, what has stood out for you? Did we miss any outstanding World Cup content? Is anyone out there really interested in animals predicting scores?


Is Sponsorship being devalued by Social Media?

Guest Post: Tom Kelk is a tech/sport blogger and Senior Social Exec at communications agency, Pitch. You can find him on Twitter (@TomKelk)

This is the first World Cup where brands have heavily activated around the tournament through digital channels – when they have no sponsored right to do so. Since South Africa 2010, Facebook has more than doubled its monthly active users, Twitter users now send more than 10x as many tweets per day and now Instagram exists!

The social media landscape has been transformed in four years, and gives an indication to why brands are putting the effort into activating around Brazil 2014. Surely all this chatter around an event is a dream come true for the official sponsors? It’s not quite that simple.

In a recent study by Unruly Media, only four of the top 11 most viewed brand ads about the World Cup were from sponsors. Less than half. Continental Tyres – one of the leading official sponsors, didn’t feature at all. Sony – an official partner, are nowhere to be seen.

Unruly Media Braziliant Brand Tracker

Unsurprisingly, Nike use their assets and force the relation in the minds of consumers. All the Nike-sponsored teams and players were involved in their heavy-cost ad that implies they are official sponsors – but they’re not.  If you did a poll, how many would say Nike were a main World Cup sponsor?

Beats have come out trumps from this World Cup through an impressive ad utilising their playing assets. Again, no ‘right’ to have a World Cup conversation but used World Cup players to enable the link with the consumer.

Obviously the study isn’t flawless, but it does continue to highlight an interesting question. In the digital age, is there still the same value in being an official sponsor?

To answer the question, it’s worth dissecting a sponsorship package to understand where the value still lies, and where better to look, than FIFA.

FIFA state that a sponsor benefits from: “Wide product category exclusivity which is afforded to all Commercial Affiliates, allowing each brand to distinguish themselves from competing brands in their product category.” Now, whilst this has been aggressively reinforced in and around the stadiums, this is far from true in a digital space. To start with, look at the table above. Nike above adidas, Samsung above Sony and Nissan above Hyundai. Not looking that distinguished from competitors there… What about beer brands? Budweiser, official sponsor, have activated heavily around the World Cup:

But has that stopped Newcastle Brown Ale benefitting from the platform? Not one bit.

Another key benefit outlined by FIFA, is “offering a unique platform vis-à-vis their competitors.” This point is the crux of the debate. I would argue that this platform has disintegrated in recent years. Social media has enabled brands without the official connection to ambush these ‘unique platforms’.You only have to consider the Suarez incident.

There was a clamour for attention from brands off the back of the biting incident, but how many were official? The only one that springs to mind, was the Uruguayan Mcdonald’s Twitter account, which was more than likely not signed off in the higher echelons of Mcdonald’s as FIFA would absolutely frown upon sponsors discussing the incident!

Aside from the conversation, what else do FIFA sponsors have the ‘right’ to use? They can use official tournament title and logos – but is it beneficial, or is that in fact a hindrance? When using social media, audiences have developed an eye for official titling, and have almost developed an instinctive filter to those posts. Besides, as seen with the Snickers tweet above, who needs to reference the World Cup when over 5,000 tweets per second are being sent? Everyone knows what you’re talking about. In fact, could we go further and ask whether it could be better to work unofficially?

So, taking all this into account, does the traditional sponsorship model need altering to include further digital rights and should sponsors be negotiating harder to get this cover? Surely when their competitors begin to be more prominent in discussions over the World Cup, for example, surely they have a right to question costs?

Perhaps the new ideal ‘bigger brand’ model will follow the likes of Nike and Beats who find themselves less restricted by buying direct player assets and activate on an unofficial basis.Bigger brands will increasingly explore these opportunities in a creative capacity to give them the right to participate more heavily in these conversations. As for the smaller brands, they’ll continue to jump in and out when there’s a product link, and get small wins when they can.

There’s obviously still value in sponsorship. Access to assets like players and visible advertising rights are ultimately beneficial. However, social media allows a conversation to be had by brands when they couldn’t do so before without treading on toes and this is where sponsors need to be tougher on their sponsorships to maximise the value they receive on a digital platform, as well as a physical.

This is a topic that a dissertation could focus upon, and I’ve just brushed the surface here, but what do you think? Is the value of a sponsorship still the same and how has it been affected by the rise of social media? What should brands do to fight competitors on both platforms?


My Top 5 World Cup Digital Trends

At our latest Digital Sport London event I spent the opening part of the night speaking about what a few of the brands are up to as we approach the World Cup. It’s an area that always fills up a lot of column inches within the trade press and this year is no different.

One thing that is apparent though is the lack of hype this year. The England team is not expected to do so well and maybe this is reflected in the size of the push and innovation by brands. Marketing Week have brought this up in their article, that beyond the traditional sponsors there is a lack of action – which ultimately may be a missed opportunity.

When going through the activations that we’ve seen from the likes of adidas, Nike, Sony, McDonalds, Coca Cola and Hyundai there were some themes that started to become clear.


The likes of adidas, Budweiser, Johnson & Johnson and Volkswagon have all signalled their intent to make sure they don’t miss a single opportunity. As we’ve seen from the previous couple of Superbowls there is a shift towards brands setting up these ‘newsrooms’ where they exploit the World Cup’s memorable moments (both good and bad) and compete directly with broadcasters for fan’s attention.

The advantage of setting up these teams is that all the decision makers and ‘doers’ are together and can create and approve content in near real-time. Thus delivering something entertaining or useful to fans when they are in a prime state to consume it.  How well it will work and how they will tap into the different nations taking part will be interesting.


This does follow on, and overlap somewhat, with what we’ve already been discussing. But what we’ve seen this year is a move away from traditional forms of advertising and fan engagement to tapping into channels that already have that audience in place.  This is best shown by a couple of relationships that have already been working away.

The main one here in the UK is Hyundai’s relationship with Copa90, one of YouTube’s original funded channels in Europe and has an established audience of almost 700,000 subscribers. They have been producing a series of films in Brazil and offered a fan a chance to head to the World Cup.  During the tournament, as Simon Joyce (Hyundai UK sponsorship manager) shared with us at this week’s event, they will be involved with a number of films that bring together different presenters from the channel. It’s certainly going to offer something different.

Budweiser is the other sponsor that has taken a similar route. Their partnership with Fox Sports and Vice  for their “Rise as One” campaign includes two web series which has been part of a global push. Both of these partnerships show that brands are starting to look beyond traditional solutions to offer something different to fans.

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The last World Cup, and everything from Champions League Finals to the Sochi Winter Olympics, have been dominated by Twitter. It has become the place for brands to go to speak directly to fans in an authentic way. Because of the way the platform has worked, it has been easy to show of your content (unfiltered) and for the platform to showcase that content, the results and share updates. The record for Tweets per Second is broken with every new event and is easy to PR.

We’ve seen in recent months moves from Facebook to move in on Twitter’s territory though. Their partnership with CNN to create the CNN Facebook Pulse, a digital dashboard that sits on CNN.com is a big call out to their main rival. We’ve seen tweet maps, trending topics and much more from Twitter – now they’ll be competing to host the same conversations. Will fans just use both? Will it make any difference? and will brands choose now to head to Facebook over Twitter for the World Cup?


In a move that some have seen as potentially a show of arrogance by adidas, it’s safe to say their new “All In or Nothing” campaign is certainly different. It gives fans the choice to receive all of adidas’ World Cup communications…. or opting out and receiving nothing. Basically blocking all the comms.

“If consumers decide against joining adidas and its FIFA World Cup communications, adidas is happy to let them leave the team as it focuses on quality over quantity in its social media audience,” the company said.

It could be seen as a brave move but what is obvious is that they are going for brand advocates, those who love the brand, rather than passing audiences who require a lot of investment for potentially little return. ‘Rewarding’ fans with great content that they will hope is shared by them and creating an air of exclusivity could work. Though the numbers of fans/conversations may be reduced, if the bottom-line £ increases then it will be seen as a success.

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Once again there is a lot of overlap in this one a couple that have already been talked about. But it is worth mentioning on its own merits. Match footage has a short shelf life and if you rely on it as your main campaign content you’re going to be competing with thousands of others for the same space.

What will set brands (and broadcasters) apart is how they tell the story of the event, those playing and how the brand fits into that story. The likes of Budweiser and Hyundai have already started that with their relationships mentioned earlier but others still have time to get this right. Brazil is famous for its passion for football and there are many stories to be told around what makes this such a special event. If the brand can seamlessly fit into this (or just provide the platform) then they can make a big impact.


Have we covered everything in here? By no means. Other sites such as The Drum and Econsultancy have their say in recent days as to how brands could best seize upon this once-every-four-years opportunity. We haven’t even touched upon social hubs (Sony and FIFA have both launched their own) and second screening, which every brand and broadcaster will be looking to best serve.

Which brands do you think have nailed this World Cup the best so far on digital?


Vauxhall Announce STR Skill School Partnership Ahead of Big Pitch Competition

Vauxhall, the official sponsor of home nations football, have announced a new partnership with YouTube star STR Skill School.

Steve Roberts, creator of one of the biggest football channels in the world, who’s recent work includes the “Insane Football Skills” video, will be producing a multitude of edits as part of Vauxhall’s digital strategy for 2014.

Over the past four years, STR Skill School has been teaching football enthusiasts how to shoot, pass, dribble and turn like their football heroes through a series of step-by-step video guides.

Steve’s first involvement will be to join Vauxhall in their fourth-annual Big Pitch competition, fielding a team of YouTube subscribers to run out on the hallowed Wembley turf.

The Big Pitch competition offers fans to fulfill their childhood dream in stepping out to play a game on the sacred pitch of their national stadium.

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Fans can enter the competition to win a place on the hallowed turf at Wembley through Vauxhall’s dedicated football website (www.vauxhallfootball.co.uk) or alternatively they can follow @VauxhallEngland on Twitter for another chance to win.

Last year the likes of Gary Neville, Stuart Pearce, Kevin Ratcliffe, Mark McGhee, Gerry Taggart and World Cup Referee Howard Webb all took part in the third successful year of Big Pitch.

Chris Hornbuckle, Vauxhall’s Head of Sponsorship said

“We’re delighted by this new partnership and look forward to providing innovative and engaging content to our digital audience. With over 70 million views and 400,000 subscribers, STR offers a proven avenue to expand our digital following with some exciting videos. We will provide Steve with some of footballs biggest names to create a fresh approach to our video content, in what we hope will be a successful year for Home Nations football.”

Steve Roberts, creator of STR Skill School commented,

“It’s fantastic for the channel to be associated with such a renowned brand with strong ties to international football. This is a fantastic opportunity to help Vauxhall grow their video audience and I can’t wait to get started.”

For more information on STR Skill School visit www.youtube.com/STRskillSchool

Enter Vauxhall’s Big Pitch competition go to www.vauxhallfootball.co.uk


Betfair become the first betting company to use Snapchat

Snapchat is still very young in the social media space – not in the eyes of consumers, but this is mainly in the eyes of brands who haven’t got to grips with the platform.

Many brands struggle to understand what role temporary content can have on developing their digital offerings, and some are somewhat scared of Snapchat.

Keen to try and dictate the pace of the betting market’s relationship with social media, Betfair have found an innovative way of using the ‘one-chance’ platform.

They will be offering an exclusive ‘enhanced double’ to followers of ‘betfairofficial’ on the morning of Saturday’s Premier League fixtures – in particular, Chelsea v Everton and Crystal Palace v Manchester United. All users have to do is follow them on Snapchat, and await an exclusive URL on Saturday morning.

Betfair brand director, Mark Ody, said:

“We are hugely excited about exploring the potential of Snapchat as a marketing tool, and one that seemed a perfect fit for us as a brand with technology and innovation at our heart.  

Snapchat is a relatively new, yet rapidly growing social media platform, which I’m certain will play a huge role in the marketing mix of companies going forward. To be one of the first brands, and the first betting company, to make use of the platform is very exciting. It has huge potential for us as a business.”

The offer is open to the first 500 who bet on the exclusive URL, so make sure you’ve got your phone nearby on Saturday morning.

This is sure to trigger more brands into trying to accommodate Snapchat in their social media roster, but which brands do you think should be on there?

Snapchat Betfair



Premier Sponsor of European Handball launches world’s first Interactive Advertising Campaign

JACK & JONES launched the world’s first interactive advertising last weekend, at the VELUX European Handball Champions League. Partnering with Kwangl.com, the men’s fashion brand gave away 800euros worth of vouchers to participants, in return for a Tweeted hashtag.

Sports fans watching the matches this weekend were encouraged to pre-register at Kwangl.com.  During the match they could tweet a hashtag, that was revealed on the JACK & JONES LCD perimeter advertising, for the chance to win a prize.  Over the course of the weekend, eight winners were revealed and each won a €100 voucher.

JACK & JONES has been a sponsor of Europe’s top men’s handball’s competitions since 2009-10, and is one of two premium sponsors of the Champions League, the other being Japanese electronics giant Sharp, below title sponsor Velux, the Danish building products group.  The fashion brand will still activate its sponsorship via social media campaigns, promotions in stores and on-site fan activities while the mopping crews at Champions League games will continue to sport its logo.


The EHF has been trialling the use of Kwangl, which has also run similar competitions for MODO Hockey, the Swedish Premier League ice hockey team, as part of efforts to ensure greater engagement between sports fans and advertisers.  Kwangl claims that its software will enable sports organisations to offer better value to their sponsors by giving them a platform to connect with viewers during games and assess the success of their campaigns.

“We felt over the last few years that in the sports market there was more budget being spent on mobile and digital advertising but during the actual match there was nothing to allow people to interact with what was on television.  With this system you can engage with fans as they are watching the game, sending out activation codes and rewards.” – Matt Edgley, MD of Kwangl.

Overall, it’s a good idea – directly pushing users towards the brand in an interactive way means the consumer is exposed to the brand, and engaging with it, in an inadvertent way.  It could possibly have been executed more effectively, however.

A strong in-game image (not grabbed from TV) would have made this clearer.  The pre-registering on Kwangl.com adds in a barrier to entry that is likely to have significantly reduced the entry numbers.  This is always the decision that needs to be made, low barrier to entry but little/no data collection or collect key data but accept lower entry numbers.  For this activation, CRM is obviously high on the agenda and the ability of Kwangl to deliver up to 50,000 prizes a minute was also another factor.

Also, instead of the tweeting of a hashtag to enter, an alternative mechanic that could have proved a bit more effective would be a password that was revealed in-game to be tweeted in conjunction with a hashtag.  This would allow a hashtag to be promoted pre-game to generate conversation around the activation, and instruct users how to participate during the game.

Regardless, interactive advertising is an open idea to all brands with access to dual-screening viewers.  Social media makes this possible in an instant, and it’s almost a surprise to see that other brands haven’t experimented with this already.

Do you think that interactive advertising could become a mainstay in brand promotion?  Which other brands could directly benefit? Does it bring fans closer to sport or not?

jack jones



O2 launches ‘Wear the Rose’ – the first fully immersive 360-degree virtual reality sports experience

England Rugby shirt sponsor O2 today announced that it has created ‘Wear the Rose’, the first fully immersive 360-degree virtual reality sports experience, using the revolutionary Oculus Rift technology.

‘Wear the Rose’ from O2 will allow fans to be immersed in a multi-sensory take-over and feel as though they are part of the Senior England Rugby Team, whether it’s a team talk from Captain Chris Robshaw, getting tackled by hooker Tom Youngs, or receiving a pass from fullback Mike Brown.

The experience was created using nine GoPro Hero 3 cameras in a custom built gimble, specifically designed to exploit the capabilities of Oculus Rift. After developing the technology to capture the video, it took a further 160 hours of filming and 320 hours of development to create an experience that allows users to turn their head in any direction, with the content responding and moving in unison, displaying a full 360-degree visual spectrum.

People will be transported into a world where they find themselves on the rugby training pitch, surrounded by familiar faces from England’s Elite Player Squad. ‘Wear the Rose’ allows fans to train with the England team, participating in genuine drills directed by England Attacking Skills Coach Mike Catt, which will take their senses to the limit and make them feel as though they have just stepped in for their very first England call-up.

“We love discovering new ways of using technology to deliver exciting experiences for our customers, and what better way to bring England Rugby fans closer to the action than ‘Wear the Rose’ from O2.  We’ll transport you into the virtual rugby boots of the England squad, taking in the heart pounding action of a full training session. This exciting technology really has to be experienced to be believed and we’re looking forward to bringing it to rugby fans across the UK this year.” – Nina Bibby, Marketing and Consumer Director at O2

Released to coincide with the 2014 RBS 6 Nations, ‘Wear the Rose’ demonstrates O2’s on-going commitment to bringing rugby fans closer to the action, and enriching customers’ lives through the latest digital technology. This follows last year’s launch of O2 Matchday, a free multi-platform rugby app that uses exclusive Ref!Link technology to provide a live feed from the referees microphone directly to any device.

“It was great to work with O2 on the development of ‘Wear the Rose’, getting to see the technology used for the first time in sport was fantastic. We tried to re-create as authentic an England training session for rugby fans as possible, and we really hope they enjoy the experience.” – Mike Catt, England Attacking Skills Coach

Further details on ‘Wear the Rose’ from O2 will be released later this month, including where it will be possible to experience the technology first hand.

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C4 drop YouTube – Sports brands pay attention

Guest Post:  Matthew Quinn (@matthewaquinn) is currently ranked 22nd in the Top 50 VOD Professionals table, StreamUK’s Digital Solutions Director spent 10 years working for LiverpoolFC’s digital media department beginning with content production and eventually managing video systems and the strategic delivery of club media through TV, web and mobile outputs for both the official channels and club partners. He is now working with StreamUK to help several other Premier League Football clubs deliver their own video service.

This week Channel4 announced it was pulling all of its long form content from YouTube,

“As a not-for-profit broadcaster funded by advertising, we put our money back into the programmes themselves. To make the best of this investment, we’ve decided to focus on bringing online viewers of our full-length shows to our own 4oD apps – such as those on iOS, Android and channel4.com. These apps also allow us to encourage more viewing by recommending programmes we think people will appreciate, and to provide viewers with additional services.”

Should sports digital media departments be paying much attention to this? Damn right you should.

When it comes to YouTube in sports (specifically the English Premier League) I would like to see some reflection on this news and a review of the use of YouTube (and other social channels for that matter). Social media output from sports clubs has expanded rapidly over the last few years. There seems to have been a desperate clamber for vanity stats. When it comes to YouTube clubs should be focusing on its ability to attract fans who don’t use official media channels.

There is also an adjacent fan base who like a different sport or another team in a different country, they may have an affinity to your club by a player from their Nation or co-ownership of multiple sports ventures such as Red Sox/Liverpool, Man City/New York City FC. Give your audience something to entice them then do something with them that is positive for both parties. Avoid canibalising any existing commercial offerings (my real bugbear), gather as much useful data from these channels as possible and using all this information define and continuously redefine a strategy for YouTube that has a real value to the brand.

Don’t be afraid to pull something if it isn’t working, if something is working really well could it be used on the main site to greater effect?

Monetisation wise YouTube doesn’t maximise revenue potential for content owners as C4 have highlighted. As equally important YouTube just doesn’t allow brands to uphold their identity enough and viewers are a click away from an unofficial channel, an unrelated channel or something altogether unsavoury, not something you want associated to your brand. However from a marketing perspective YouTube can be used as a very powerful tool. The issue here is the often separate department objectives and strategies that don’t always complement each other.

Whole business strategies for online video need to be considered for the future given it’s potential across the board to help brands connect with their audience and generate new revenue opportunities. I’m not just talking about the commercial or marketing departments. Communications, internal and external, press, sports science, scouting, learning, community, all these departments can benefit from the clever use of this technology. Video is not just a commercial tool, it is the most powerful mass communication method out there so don’t fritter it on ineffective 3 minute YouTube clips.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying YouTube is evil, it is actually brilliant as for the lay user looking for content. But for a brand it needs to be used properly. There is always room for YouTube as part of a strategy, in fact it should most likely be mandatory for any brand using video, but defining it within a larger strategy is the key.

The reality of sports content being available in many places now means clubs need to embrace these social outlets to entice their audience, this requires content syndication. Technology strategies are no less important, it could be argued they go hand in hand. Importantly this is also another bit that could cost or save you money! Building content syndication into an efficient media workflow is critical.

No one should have to upload a video to 5 different platforms (Official Site, YouTube, apps, Vimeo, FTP or RSS syndication to partners, etc). It is timely, expensive and diminishes your potential to create more valuable content. So while you may look at your content strategies, always keep an eye on the “How” element of the equation.

Ultimately reflection is required here on your existing output, your targets and goals. An effective media strategy requires you to equip yourself with the right staff, the commitment from the business and the correct tools for the job. Ultimately aim to build your own FCoD/ClubTube service that serves the club, its partners and the fans as widely and as smartly as possible.


Challenges remain for F1 to overcome as the role of branded content grows

Branded video content is becoming an increasingly important part of the marketing mix for F1 sponsors according to 9 out of 10 F1 marketing and brand experts.  With F1 experts looking for successful ways to reach and engage with their target audiences, the F1 world is increasingly turning to branded video content for that solution.

And it seems that this increasing confidence in branded content having a strong future in F1 will be backed up by marketing spend, with eight of ten of those surveyed in this month’s Blended Republic Study believing that marketing budget spent on branded content will be increased in 2014 (results shown on infographic at the bottom of this article).

Reasons for this predicted increase in marketing spend include;

  • As sponsorship becomes less about a logo, video content is becoming essential to allow a brand to tell its story in an articulate and engaging manner
  • The type of sponsors that are coming into the sport are much more consumer facing companies.  Video content is a core component for using their sponsorship as a platform to communicate with the consumers
  • Video is more interesting and attractive to much of the target audience than written or printed material, especially to the younger generation
  • Compelling content is becoming increasingly important to provide brands with an engaging point of difference and needs to be funded
  • Due to the growth of social media and the need to increase viral marketing using platforms such as YouTube, video footage is increasingly valuable

However, as F1 enters 2014, a number of challenges to creating successful branded content will remain that will need to be overcome in order for it to play a pivotal role in the future.

Over half of those surveyed believe that successful branded content relies on being creative to make the most of limited driver time or team assets, and measuring ROI was cited as another challenge (43%).

The Blended Republic Study has revealed that the top four perceived benefits of branded content are;

  • It gives brands the opportunity to amplify their sponsorship in an engaging manner through TV and social media (68%)
  • It creates a deeper emotional connection with the target audience (64%)
  • It allows the brand to tell a longer story that captures its values and messaging (54%)
  • It helps brands cut through the competitive noise of sponsor logos (42%)

However, there still remains some question marks over the best way to go about create successful content with 66% of those surveyed citing ‘knowing how to create content that will secure audience reach’ as the biggest challenge they face to creating successful F1 branded content.

As part of this month’s Blended Republic Study, F1 marketing and brand experts were also asked to judge the most successful sponsor and team videos of the 2013 F1 season.  There were two outright winners, with Johnnie Walker Step Inside: Jenson Button The Ultimate Walk receiving 70% of the votes for best sponsor video, and the Bruce McLaren: McLaren 50th Anniversary video receiving 60% of the votes for best team video.

Commenting on the survey results, Chris Sice, Managing Director of Blended Republic says:

“It is clear that F1 sponsors are keen to invest further in content marketing in 2014. The rise of social media coupled with F1’s huge broadcast audience makes it increasingly attractive.  The main challenge is how to create content that secures distribution and the audiences needed to deliver a significant ROI.”