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ICC CWC’11: Playing online - making sports fans go digital

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ICC CWC’11:  Playing online - making sports fans go digital

For sports brands like Adidas or Puma, marketing around the Cricket World Cup is a natural fit. For these brands, the internet offers a new way of reaching people and being able to make their overall message stand out. The internet enables the brands to engage with the users directly and enhance the effectiveness of traditional advertising.

For Adidas in particular, the use of Facebook as an engagement medium has been highly successful. The company, which had set a target of 100,000 fans for their Facebook page, found around 750,000 fans instead, and was able to use the online medium to engage with their consumers in multiple ways.

Tushar Gokuldas, Director - Sports and Marketing, Adidas, said, “I think all sports brands are associated with the world cup. But the core audience is 14-19, and then 20-24, which is a group that is highly digital in their behavior. It is a very effective way to communicate with them.”

He added, “Today, we reach people through only three channels – television, retail and digital. While the spending on digital might be lower than the other two, in terms of time and effort, it is very important to us.”

Yashraj Vakil, COO, Red Digital Media, which is carrying out the social campaign for Adidas, said, “Social media and gaming allow advertising online to be much more engaging and interactive for the users. For Adidas, we have integrated a graphical fantasy cricket league, where people can watch their chosen cricketers earn points and win prizes. We’re also holding other contests which only give recognition, no prizes, but even that has been very popular, showing that people are interested in quality content.”

Expanding on that, Vakil said, “Social is all about content. Comments, events, polls, all centered around cricket drive conversations and while we have also got some paid traffic, we believe that if you’re advertising on social you should look to grow virally. Advertising a lot will gather frivolous users, who click like once, and then never interact with the brand. That’s completely irrelevant for the advertisers.”

Adidas’ social engagement will carry on post the World Cup as well, hoping to capitalize on the IPL next, but Vakil also said that the integration of online and traditional media will drive growth. He said, “For gauging sentiment, engagement and campaign launches, online is a great medium. Adidas is now launching its TVCs on social first, and putting the annual sale preview on Facebook first, to gather instant customer feedback.”

Gokuldas also said, “Our campaign is focused around Facebook, YouTube, and video display advertising, and we’re going to continue through the IPL as well. The World Cup provided significant buzz, and we believe that the IPL will be even more successful, commercially.”

For Myntra, which makes custom sporting goods, the World Cup has been a very big driver, particularly with India's continued successes. A spokesperson said, “The impact has been great. A lot of new customers have come onto to purchase the Team India jerseys. We have sold the maximum number of personalised Team India jerseys. We have seen an increase of 40 per cent in revenue in the month of February and March.” Myntra recently started advertising in the mass media and feels that growth is a combination of online buzz and offline marketing. “Both have contributed to growth in sales. But marketing has played a significant role to reach out to a larger audience. We have also heavily invested in online marketing, we ran some clear targeted campaigns on social media.”

Similar to Adidas, Myntra also believes that the IPL will be an equal opportunity to the World Cup, and is preparing various deals and offers to take advantage, particularly as the India win would have increased overall interest in sports right now.


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