Tag Archives: Marketing

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Wimbledon generated 3.5m short clip video views across Facebook and Twitter

The AELTC has announced that they shared more than 300 short clips across Facebook and Twitter during the tournament, generating over 3.5m clip plays using Grabyo’s video platform.

Facebook saw the largest number of Wimbledon clip plays with over 1.5m views (42.9%), while 1.4m (40.6%) were on Twitter and nearly 600k (16.4%) were viewed within the Wimbledon.com based video gallery powered by Grabyo.

The most viewed clip of the tournament, which featured Nick Kyrgios hitting a ‘tweener’ winner during his match against Rafa Nadal, generated over 447k clip views alone. The clip spread virally across social media with an organic reach of 3.73m on Facebook as well as 27,924 likes, comments or shares.

On Twitter it enjoyed more than 960k impressions and 26,924 engagements – boosted by second-wave coverage of the relevant tweet by popular online sports destinations such as Sports Illustrated and ATP World Tour,. The match also generated an impressive 660,250 tweets peaking at 11,393 tweets per minute.

The moment Novak Djokovic celebrated winning the tournament by eating grass on Centre Court also generated very significant engagement with almost 300k clip views, organic reach of 6.4m fans and 32,734 likes, comments or shares on Facebook. It also clocked up 190k impressions and 7,308 engagements on Twitter.

Despite Grabyo’s real-time video offering being a mobile-first format, two-thirds (2.35m) of Wimbledon’s social clip views were across the desktop versus one third (1.2m) across mobile devices – possibly due to the fact that the majority of play takes place during office hours in Europe and much of North America. iPhone was the dominant mobile device (as is common with mobile video consumption patterns) with 688,496 of views versus 482,304 on Android.

A number of other clips also attracted substantial audiences including:

  • WATCH: Worrying signs for Serena Williams during her doubles warm-up with sister Venus. #Wimbledon (414,837 views)
  • WATCH: A game of double faults from Serena as she & sister Venus retire from their doubles match. #Wimbledon (333,712 views)
  • WATCH: Djokovic is reunited with wall of champions & is congratulated by the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge (175,635 views)

Alexandra Willis, Content and Communications Manager at the AELTC:

“We were very pleased with the outcome of this initiative, which proved the value of being able to produce content quickly in response to real-time events. The clips drove an impressive level of organic social media engagement and buzz, while also encouraging Wimbledon fans to tune-in, and also providing us with content for the rest of our digital channels. There is clearly enormous potential to take this type of content further in partnership with our broadcast partners but we were delighted with the results in our first year of working with Grabyo.”

Gareth Capon, CEO at Grabyo:

“Wimbledon was undoubtedly our most successful project to date and served to illustrate the potential of this social video format. The significant level of engagement on both Facebook and Twitter demonstrates the opportunity for rights holders across the social space and supports our view that they need to take a cross-platform approach to real-time video distribution. There is much to play for in this market and both Facebook and Twitter are making clear progress in providing a video ecosystem that delivers value for premium content owners.”

You can hear from from the guys at Grabyo at the September ‘Digital Sport London’ event on Wednesday 24th from 6pm. Tickets are available for £10 (plus booking fee) from https://digitalsportlondon11.eventbrite.co.uk


The Hidden Value Of Vine

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

Was I the only one who looked through the Loops of my own account to be pleasantly surprised by the number of Loops I’d received on my personal channel? I’ve only put out 15 Vines, but these have been watched over 230,000 times.

This intrigued me on two counts, if I’ve amassed over 230,000 Loops, what have brands generated? And secondly, what do these Loops show? Is Vine actually providing more value to brands than we’ve thought?

First off, Vine is part of the digital strategy of many brands, but it’s not central to it. It’s a subsidiary. That’s not going to change, but looking at how brands are racking up thousands of Loops within a short space of time, Vine might just be a more central aspect of brand strategies. The numbers are particularly impressive.

Brands like Ford EU and Charmin have racked up over 20m Loops between them. Both of their YouTube channels combined total 34m views. So the results on Vine are not too shabby given the dramatic disparity between the cost of generating YouTube video compared to six seconds of Vine! If we break this down, Charmin attracted 8m Loops from 67 Vines, an average of 119,000 per Vine.

On YouTube, they’ve seen 159,000 views per video. It’s not far off. It’s even more apparent with Ford EU, who generated 12m views of 47 videos, averaging 255,000 Loops per Vine. Compare this to YouTube, where Ford EU has managed 29,673 views per video. Consider this greater deal of production cost, you’d have to argue that Vine is providing quite the value for Ford EU.

Then there are those putting more effort into Vine, including post-production uploading, like Nike Football. They’ve amassed over 19m Loops on their own through 14 Vines – that’s an average of over 1.35m Loops per Vine! Let’s say, for argument sake, that an individual watches a Vine three times (probably closer to two but go with it), that means around 5.5m people have potentially viewed Nike’s content on Vine.

With Nike so reliant on time with their ambassadors for content, the opportunity to create a series of Vines in their time with an asset, as opposed to one or two glossy YouTube edits, is an attractive option. Worth the investment? I think so.

Following on from these total numbers, there’s the added bonus of the watching of a Vine several times repeated. It begs the question, when watched three times, is the penetration of simple, condensed messaging, greater than a three-minute long YouTube video?

There are obviously pieces of content that need to be hosted on either channel through necessity, and it’s clearly not as black and white as the numbers suggest, but it could be worth a study, right?

Please excuse the crude analytics, but they simply illustrate the potential in Vine if executed correctly. Many brands will have Vine as a part of their digital strategy, but perhaps it’s time for a little bit more of that YouTube budget to be reallocated into creating Vines.

Back in April last year, I wrote about how brands should be taking Vine more seriously, and whilst it is evolving, it’s been painfully slow with brands. Maybe, with quantifiable metrics, we might just see that investment.





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?


Cricket - The Ashes 2009 - npower Fifth Test - Day Four - England v Australia - The Brit Oval

Inside Two Circles: Chatting Data & Sport with the BTSIA Agency of the Year 2014

At our last Digital Sport London one of our guest speakers was Phil Stephan from Two Circles, who earlier this year were named winners of the coveted Agency of the Year title at the BT Sport Industry Awards in London.

They are a sports agency with a difference – they put data at the heart of their approach.

Phil managed to fit a lot of interesting information into his 10 minutes at the June event at The Bakery in Old Street. He caught imagination of many in the room and I for one was left wanting to find out more. So I caught up with Phil recently to do just that…


Dan: For the benefit of anyone who may not have heard of Two Circles, can you tell us briefly about the company and your role there?

Phil: Two Circles is a data-driven sports agency. We work with sports rights holders and their sponsors and help them become insight-led, customer-focused, profitable organisations. Whether they are hoping to sell more tickets, grow participation or increase sponsorship revenue, we help our clients use data to achieve their business objectives. We work with, to name a few, the England and Wales Cricket Board, Ascot Racecourse, Lord’s, the KIA Oval, Valencia CF, Fulham FC, Harlequin FC, Wasps and Youth Sport Trust.

We were recently named Agency of the Year at the 2014 BT Sport Industry Awards having been in existence for less than three years. As Head of Client Services, I’m responsible for making sure that we consistently deliver great work for all of our clients – whether that means ensuring that the right technology is in place, that strategy and campaign planning is sound, or that deliverables are produced to a high standard. Most importantly my job is to make sure that our work is always helping the client solve their problem!


Dan: There is more and more talk about data and how it should be used at the moment – in sport and in business more generally. How important is it for a sports organisation to get this right?

Phil: It’s absolutely fundamental. The biggest players in other industries have placed data at the heart of their business strategies and have embraced it as a new currency over the course of the past ten years or so. Tech giants like Google and Facebook are data businesses – they exist to collate and monetise user data, while supermarkets like Tesco and Sainsbury’s run their businesses on data – who is buying, what they’re buying, and where. Sport is behind the curve. (In fact, it’s ironic how little sport has done with data to drive commercial strategy, while simultaneously making such extensive use of it to drive improvements to on-field performance.)

This has to change – sport has no more divine right to anyone’s time than Facebook, music, retail or movies, so if it fails to realise the value of data while other industries continue to deliver increasingly personalised experiences, it simply will not be able to compete. Whether the objective is to launch a successful new product for your fans or grow participation within a certain demographic; to change a pricing structure or activate a sponsorship deal; to fill a new stadium or boost digital engagement, data should be informing and supporting business strategy across the board and sport is only just waking up to its potential.


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Dan: What are some of the common problems you see? How do you work to overcome them?

Phil: The problem we see again and again in this space is a lack of strategy. Often sporting organisations will make the decision to invest in data projects without first clearly defining their objectives for doing so and specifying how the project will then be utilised to deliver these objectives. Building a single customer view, developing a segmentation model, undertaking market research etc. are not ends in themselves and will not spontaneously deliver return on investment without strong strategic foundations being laid first.

Even projects with firm foundations can fail, however, if they are not delivered correctly. Too many times we see traditional consultancies or tech firms deliver systems/projects and then hand it over to their clients who lack the resources and/or strategies to get the most out of them. Two Circles exists to circumvent these issues – we have a blend of skills and experience to provide bespoke end-to-end solutions to solve our clients issues and realise their business opportunities. We work in partnership with our clients to ensure our work with them is successful. We won’t enter into a relationship if we don’t know that it will deliver ROI for the client.


Dan: So what steps can rights-holders take to start using the vast reams of data they hold to deliver on their commercial objectives?

Phil: The first step is to define what you want to achieve – do you want to grow attendances? Grow participation? Increase non-matchday revenue? The data, systems and approaches required to deliver each of these objectives are totally different and you can easily find yourself investing your time and resource in the wrong areas if you haven’t clearly defined what you are trying to achieve.

Unless you have the budget to hire developers, analysts, a customer marketing team and experienced professionals with experience in data strategy most organisations will need to outsource some or all of their data servicing requirements. The range of data sporting organisations have at their disposal is quite unique to this industry so finding a partner with sports industry experience is key to success. A good partner will help unlock the value of the data you have at your disposal. A bad partner will sell you a system you don’t need and can’t use to achieve your business objectives.


Dan: Social media has added even more data to the fold with sports typically having thousands, if not millions, of fans across multiple platforms. How can they tie this into their overall business and even start producing revenue from it?

Phil: Social media is an incredibly valuable customer touch-point for any sporting organisation – fans disclose data about themselves that can provide valuable insights that should be informing how you manage your relationship with them. The challenge with social data is gathering, structuring, analysing and acting on the right data in the right way.

Too many sporting organisations are focused on growth for its own sake. In isolation, the number of followers or likes that an organisation has doesn’t mean much and the insight you can extract from the platforms’ out-of-box analytics is limited – the key is to overlay social data with other data sources so you know who your followers are and how they behaving. Only with this deeper understanding can rights-holders derive maximum value from social media.


Two Circles Surrey CCC


Dan: You’ve obviously been doing a great job over these last 3 years. If you could pinpoint a couple of success stories you’ve worked on – who would they be and why?

Phil: We take great pride in our work with all of our clients – our 100% renewal rate is testament to that. I have to respect the commercial sensitivity of a lot of our ongoing work, but one example I can speak about is our Ashes Ballot and Membership campaign with Surrey County Cricket Club last year.

We’re particularly proud of this campaign not just for the strong financial results it delivered, but also because it won a Marketing Week Data Strategy Award earlier this year, in a category that included a number of major brands supported by global marketing agencies – the likes of easyJet, Financial Times and Proctor and Gamble. For a cricket club to emerge victorious in that context was some achievement and we’re very proud to have played a part in it. If you’d like to read a little more about it, click here: http://www.marketingweek.co.uk/events/email-marketing-b2c/4009241.article


Dan: Finally, with the amount of data sports businesses will be able to access only going to increase. What does the future hold for Two Circles and how do you see the sports industry evolving as the digital age evolves?

Phil: The rise of digital is making it easier and easier for organisations to manage the relationships they have with their customers. With access to granular, customer-level data from social channels, websites and other digital touch-points, sports organisations will have an increasingly full and detailed picture of what their customer base looks like, how they behave and how they feel. Digital also increases rights holders’ ability to communicate with their customers on a one-to-one level.

For us at Two Circles, and for the industry more broadly, the combination of these two changes is allowing us to deliver increasingly personal customer experiences, rather than the “one size fits none” approach that sport has been known to deliver in the past. It’s an exciting time to be working in sport – I think we are on the brink of a fundamental shift in the way the business of sport operates, driven by the discovery of the valuable tool it has at its fingertips: data.


Thanks to Phil for taking the time out to speak with me. If you’d like to find out more about Two Circles then you can do at their website, http://www.insidetwocircles.com



adidas launch live World Cup YouTube show, ‘The Dugout’

The picture is becoming clearer from one of the biggest sponsors of FIFA, who recently extended their deal until 2030, after the release of their recent TV ad… and now news of a brand new YouTube series. It presents a major shift for the sports brand as they go directly after World Cup broadcasters, stating that “the traditional press conference is no more..”!

The global sports manufactorer is going to be broadcasting live from Rio a series of exclusive programmes on the platform starting from the first day of the World Cup, June 12th. It’s a very similar move to that of Hyundai UK who teamed up with YouTube backed football channel Copa90 earlier in the year, though with a different emphasis. adidas have got together with Kick TV, the US equivalents of Copa90, which is part of MLS Digital for this one.

It will be hosted by Jimmy Conrad, Layla Anne-Lee and Hugh Wizzy and give fans the opportunity to take part in a virtual press conference incorporating live interviews with the likes of Cafu, Kaka and Lucas Moura, adidas product reviews, behind-the-scenes action with adidas sponsored teams and chances to win prizes.

It’s another part of the adidas sponsorship plan that has been over 2 years in the making. London-based social media agency We Are Social will have been closely involved in the strategy and will I’m sure be on-site working long shifts to make this the best campaign ever.

Senior PR Manager (adidas Football), Rob Hughes, someone I knew well from my time at WAS (disclosure: I used to work on the adidas account at WAS), has said;

“The Dugout is a very exciting concept for Adidas, bringing together the best of Adidas talent with the reach of YouTube. The broadcasts will allow all football fans around the world to participate in the global conversation surrounding the Fifa World Cup. This youth-magazine-style football show will be fans’ inside view into the tournament, showcasing Brazil at its best with many famous faces and will be a must-watch throughout the competition,”

The first show is being aired at 2.00pm BST (10.00am BRT) and there will be 6 in total as part of the #AllInOrNothing campaign that has been intriguing commentators around the world since its launch. The final show will be on the eve of the World Cup Final. You’ll be able to watch it on the adidas Football YouTube page at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uuAPWG5e8lQ&feature=share

“The streaming of live adidas shows from Brazil is a unique brand proposition and a great example of a strategic partnership creating new, engaging and innovative content to a relevant audience. Our partnership with adidas has already seen us work together on many elements of their World Cup campaign, and these broadcasts will position adidas and YouTube at the heart of the conversation around this summer’s tournament. We are delighted that the World Cup’s number one partner, adidas, has chosen YouTube to play such a central role in their World Cup campaign.” – Lucas Watson, VP, Global Brand Solutions at YouTube.

It’s another different approach we’ve seen in recent weeks, but not so different from what Hyundai have put together. It is is though an example of a brand directly taking on traditional broadcasters as they make use of their access to players, coaches and other World Cup content. They’re also working with an already established YouTube channel in Kick TV and thus will be tapping into their audience. The start of a new trend?

Add to that the expected big spend using YouTube TrueView and they’re be looking to get the attention of every football fan out there. I also expect to see and really tight and well executed social media plan that will bring others into the conversation.

Will you be tuning in?


World Cup Fans Seeing Double, with Multi-Screening on the Rise in 2014

New research from Google reveals the extent to which football fans have changed in the past four years. The UK’s World Cup 2010 spectator was not mobile-savvy, with just 20% of searches for the game, players and teams taking place on a mobile device. Search query volume dipped during and peaked at the end of games as fans focused on the big screen. By contrast, the newly released Google report 2014 World Cup: What a Difference 4 Years Makes predicts that today’s football fans will engage with more than one screen during World Cup 2014 matches.

For example it was found that during the recent Bayern Munich vs. Real Madrid 2014 UEFA Champions League semi-final, 53% of UK searches took place on a mobile device, with the cumulative volume of mobile searches far surpassing those during the 2010 World cup final match.

  • Mobile Fans: UK fans are over two-and-a-half times more likely to search on mobile during major live football events than other devices compared to four years ago
  • Most Searched: There have been more global searches for the World Cup between 2010 – 2014 than for the Olympics, Tour de France and Superbowl combined
  • Most Watched: 64.7m hours of football-related YouTube footage watched globally in the past month

The research also finds that football is by far the most watched sport on YouTube globally this year, with 64.7m hours of related footage watched last month alone. Worldwide Google search data shows there was more interest in the World Cup than the Olympics, the Superbowl and the Tour de France combined, even with the latter two taking place annually.

“We now know that digital interaction occurs in tandem with a football match, giving advertisers the opportunity to react and offer content to fans in real-time. Marketers need to take this second-screen opportunity seriously. With recent research finding that 25% of UK men admit to shedding a tear during a football match, engaging with these passionate fans in the heat of the moment can be incredibly valuable for brands.” – Jordan Rost, Insights Marketing Manager at Google

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Savvy advertisers are already creating great content for fans to consume before, during and after matches. Google’s analysis of the top five most watched football ads on YouTube in the UK shows that the content was all created by big brands as they all aim to engage with the extremely passionate fans that can be found on the video platform. Interestingly enough, only one of the videos is from an official sponsor of the football tournament:

1 Nike Football Nike Football: Winner Stays. ft. Ronaldo, Neymar Jr., Rooney, Ibrahimović, Iniesta & more
2 barclaysfootballtv Thank You #YouAreFootball
3 UKCapitalOne Capital One – Grounds for Improvement. The Credit Card that Supports the Supporters [VIDEO 2]
4 adidas Football Introducing the Battle Pack — adidas Football
5 Google UK Google+ & Manchester United – The Front row Story


Event: The Impact of Digital Technology and Social Media on Sport

On Monday 23rd June I’ll have the pleasure of being on a panel as part of Birkbeck University’s Business Week (which runs from 23rd – 26th). The panel, as the title suggests, is quite a broad one but will mainly be looking at the ‘mega sport events’ such as London 2012 and the FIFA World Cup in Brazil. It’s an event I’m really looking forward to, there are more details on it below…

You can get more details on the event and find the booking link (it’s free to attend) on http://www.bbk.ac.uk/bizweek

Digital technology and social media are playing an increasingly important role in the business of sport, particularly in the management of sports events. This keynote and panel session will discuss contemporary usage and possible future trends in digital technology and social media in sport. The keynote speaker, Richard Ayers, is the founder and CEO of Seven League, a digital media firm with a specialism in sport. He has worked as Head of Digital for Manchester City FC and is also proud to have helped Channel 4 with their digital coverage of the Paralympics 2012.

Richard will discuss his rich experience in the field, drawing on his knowledge of music, film, newspapers and publishing, as well as sport. In particular, he will examine:

  • the capacity sports organisations have to facilitate and moderate engagement from various audiences;
  • the ways in which social media can be used for the good of sport; and
  • issues around data visualisation and ‘datatainment’.

Panel discussion

The panel members will each introduce themselves, explain their backgrounds and views on digital technology and social media and discuss how these technologies were used in London 2012 and how they are being (and will be) used in Rio. In particular, the panellists will discuss what the challenges are that sports organisations and host cities face in this field. There will also be an opportunity for a lively question-and-answer session.

Panel members

  • Alex Balfour: Former Chief Digital Officer at the Engine Group and Head of New Media at LOCOG
  • Tom Thirwall: CEO, Bigballs Films
  • Dan McLaren: Founder and Editor-in-Chief, UK Sports Network
  • Gill Leivesley: Management Consultant, Takeout
  • George Rousoss: Professor of Pervasive Computing, Birkbeck (CS & IS)

Topics will include the ability of sports organisations to facilitate and moderate engagement from various audiences, the ways in which social media can be used for the good of sport and challenges around data visualisation and ‘datatainment’.




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?


Startup helping sports teams and brands connect with Chinese fans

KAWO, a social media management tool that helps businesses repurpose and automate existing social media content onto Chinese channels like Weibo and WeChat, has officially launched a specialized page targeting the sports industry to deliver Chinese social media to their clients.

Although the sports market in China is taking off, with particular growth in sport leagues like the NFL and UFC, since key social media channels like Facebook and Twitter are blocked, it’s difficult for athletes, teams, leagues, and agencies around the world to tap into the huge spending power of Chinese sports fans and maximize exposure to commercial opportunities.

Founded by Australian entrepreneur Andrew Collins, the Shanghai-based social media agency gives brands digital access to over 600 million people by automatically pulling their existing Facebook and Twitter content onto a central dashboard, where moderators translate and then push it via KAWO directly on a brand’s Chinese social network accounts.

KAWO dashboard

Benefits include;

  • Transparency: A single dashboard gives brands complete control and an overview of all their networks, as well as athletes, teams, or leagues.
  • Exclusive Sports Insight: Includes case studies, resources, and materials to sell social media with a punch.
  • Protection: The system is supported by KAWO Protect, a system with a blend of automated flagging and experienced human moderation, that screens potentially sensitive content for the Chinese market.
  • Competitor Intelligence: Keep track of competitive fan accounts, engagement, trending posts and measure your performance against theirs.

The International Federation of Volleyball (FIVB) is an association who have been one of the first to use the new platform;

“Thanks to KAWO, Chinese fans can connect with us on social media, and the FIVB is well on its way to achieving its social media mission to be the sport’s official commentator, form relationships with fans, influence behavior and engage an audience to bring the spectacular sport of volleyball to China.”

With brands, teams, associations and athletes all looking at ways in which they can access most easily this huge sports market, this could be a step in the right direction for some. It is an unknown market to many but the recognition at the top end of it’s importance means that agencies such as KAWO are positioning themselves in the right place and at the right time.

They are already being used by the likes of Manchester United, International Table Tennis Federation, Liverpool FC and Mercedes AMG.


Betfair helping fans to pick a Grand National winner with Equinder

It’s always difficult to back the right horse… BETFAIR has taken inspiration from dating phenomenon Tinder, to help find the perfect ride

Online betting company, Betfair, has launched ‘Equinder’ for those in need of a helping hand in selecting the ultimate Mare or Gelding for the Grand National, there’s even a chance for the fan of the more mature partner.

In a further move to provide people with an innovative experience of betting on major sporting moments, Betfair has created a web-based mobile app that brings the positivity around online dating to the heart of the Grand National.

Rather than randomly selecting your Grand National runner or simply backing the favourite, Betfair allows users to enter details, including their favoured football team and uses a cross matching algorithm that pairs them with the most relevant horse in the big race. People then have the option to swipe right or left, accepting or rejecting their match before being given the opportunity to place a bet.

As people find ever more strange ways of selecting a horse for the famous steeple chase, Betfair has found a way to encapsulate the fun and excitement of the Grand National into an easy to use social platform that ensures every horse can find its perfect partner.

Betfair has even created a secret profile on Tinder offering free bets to those who stumble across the ‘Betfair horse’ as it journeys up to Aintree. Users that stumble across the correct profile will be sent a set of instructions to receive a free bet. This way even the loneliest soul could end up a winner.

“At Betfair, we consistently endeavour to create innovative and thrilling betting experiences for our customers, as well as attracting new users, and what better way to help people select their horse for the Grand National than creating a new Tinder style web app. We’ve seen how easy it is for people to find a stallion or a filly online, so we wanted to bring the same sense of fun and ease to the National.” – Harry Phillips, Consumer PR Manager