Thoughts, Insights and Inspiration

Sponsor without being a Sponsor: How technology is giving brands the advantage when it comes to Sporting events like the World Cup

Blame it on Harry Kane. His last-minute header in England’s opening match propelled the old Three Lions anthem to centre-stage; an alternate winner of the 2018 World Cup if you like.

Who would have thought that this 1996 classic would return with a vengeance, winning not just hearts and minds, dominating Twitter and leading the UK music charts at number 1.

It’s a great example of the power of events (waistcoat anyone?) and the potential upside for brands that react in the moment and take control of the conversation.

Ok, now back to the important stuff: the football itself.

It seems as though every major sporting event brings us brands whose marketing outperforms. Being an event sponsor used to be the holy grail, the only option to associate with the event itself, but the options are growing.

We’re seeing brands take matters into their own hands, cleverly harnessing sporting events to spread their message, but without committing a penny to official sponsorship. In some cases, the marketing almost supersedes the event itself (shout out to Volvo’s Superbowl masterpiece). Or brands whose product appeal and product placement is so clever, it does the job for them (remember how Beats were all over the Olympic athletes despite a competitor having official sponsorship status?). Even Nike pulled off a huge coup having both World Cup teams decked out in their kit, despite not being an official World Cup sponsor.

But how can brands really harness the sporting action itself and tap into the positive groundswell of emotions? Imagine capturing the halo effect of pride and joy moments after Harry Kane scores, or riding the tide of glory following an England win?

This is where data comes into its own.

The opportunity is captured in these graphs below; their shapes capturing the highs and lows, from the hope to the disappointment of the fans.

The global phenomenon of the World Cup is actually a great example of the changing advertising landscape. In previous years, to be a sponsor meant spending big bucks, which precluded many brands from getting a piece of the action. Today, technology and data have levelled the playing field, so to speak.

Imagine sponsoring the action without being an official sponsor. Imagine syncing your advertising channels with the action – so that you can serve that ad in the seconds following a goal – you can even tweak your ad copy to acknowledge that goal and link it to your brand. And because it’s automated, there aren’t any manual activations or newsroom command centres involved, which means it can be unleashed at scale, across events and countries.

We work with advertising agencies and brands across all sectors, using our tech platform IMPACT to generate this real-time insight and reactivity.  It’s powerful because it doesn’t just take your brand directly to your audience, it takes it directly to each individual consumer, and it does so in a way that’s personalised and relevant. Better advertising accuracy of course means that advertising budgets work harder with IMPACT.

Technology like ours is helping to break down the barriers of participation and sponsorship, allowing brands to compete on more of a level playing field, regardless of size or budget. The only real limit is the scope of their imagination, because the opportunities are endless.

Well done boys, you did us proud.

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