Sports Marketing 2.0 – Create ‘Random Greatness’

December 10, 2011

What happens when sports marketing meets Web 2.0? You get content that spreads like a forest fire blazing through the web. It is apparently random and insanely awesome!

Sports is a youth passion that brands often leverage on to using the celebrity status of sporting giants to connect with their audience. Pepsi for one has been famous for its endorsement deals with all kinds of sports celebrities. In the old world of one way communication these stars would be used from anything like a TV commercial to being the face on a billboard. But what does sports marketing look like in a web 2.0 world? Like everything else on social media it’s all about content. However in the context of sports marketing there are some differences. Looking at best practices I sense at least one such pattern, a structure that can inspire others looking to create branded content in the sporting domain. I am calling this tactic ‘Random Greatness’. Check out these two videos below to see what I am talking about – one is for Gillette using Roger Federer and the other is for Pepsi using David Beckham. Awesome stuff!

What is common about them? They both seem obviously random and insanely awesome! I believe there is a strategy to create content like this. It is not as random and obvious as it may seem. The question is how can YOU go about creating content like this? I have tried to distill my thinking into three key points:

Star Power: Having a good dose of celebrity is the pivotal starting point for creating ‘random greatness’. Celebrities command more attention over anything they do compared to similar acts of superficiality undertaken by a non-celebrity. Since this is about about leveraging an investment in a sports celebrity to begin with the only thing to think about here is the level of star power. More power means more fans and therefore the probability of the content going viral is proportionately increased. So if you represent a brand with big sports stars lined up you are already half way there.

Showmanship: Stars are revered for many reasons. Some for their good looks while others for their personality. Sports celebrities more often than not are held up high on the pedestal of fame for their showmanship, the sheer skill they exhibit in their game. Jeremy ‘Linsanity” Lin for example has become an overnight sensation not for anything but his prowess at the NBA. While creating ‘random greatness’ this is the other key point. Fans love to just see their stars and if they get to see them in all their glory doing what they do best than THAT is the ultimate treat. ‘Not only do I get to see my idol but I see them being awesome!’

Authenticity: This is the final ingredient to creating ‘random greatness’. Everything up to this point was about greatness – the power of the star and an opportunity to see the awesomeness of their talent. The randomness creates the WOW! Factor because it adds authenticity to the whole setting. Both the examples have a very backstage, behind-the-scenes type of feel that gives the impression that these acts of greatness were purely coincidental, just happened by accident but luckily there was someone with a camera recording that moment in high definition. Right!

There you have it. My recipe for creating great content if you are a brand with a sports celebrity in your stable. Now only if I had a client with whom I could cook something like this with! Any takers?

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