Using sports to create a strong emotional bond

Using sports to create a strong emotional bond
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First Published: Thu, Jun 19 2008. 09 47 PM IST
Updated: Thu, Jun 19 2008. 09 47 PM IST
Another day at the Cannes advertising festival, and our minds continue to be exposed to new thinking. Jacques Raynaud, vice-chairman of Eurosport, and Simon Crane, managing director of Eurosport UK, spoke about the power of sport and how brands can leverage it for success.
Sports deeply involves a viewer, and because of the inherent passion involved, also gives people a reason to dream. With such a strong emotional bond with consumers, brands that attach themselves to any sport could also create a similar bond between their products and consumers.
But it is not just about being a sponsor; they said a brand should find a relevant sport and a relevant message that they can give out.
With the background of the Olympic Games in China, they cited the example of how Swiss luxury-watch manufacturer Omega, the official timekeeper at the Games, has launched a site called omegatiming.com, that allows visitors to see all the Olympic records that stand to date. Or how McDonald’s Corp. in China has taken up the role of finding future Olympic winners.
Our country is not new to sports marketing, and with the sucess of the recent DLF-sponsored Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket tournament, drawing millions of television viewers, perhaps companies in India should seriously look at how they can champion their brands far more effectively. Displaying banners and calling themselves official sponsors may just not do the trick.
One brand that has constantly innovated and built a strong emotional bond with consumers is Nike. And Stefan Olander, global director for brand communications at Nike, and Bob Greenberg, chairman, CEO and global chief creative officer of New York-based ad agency R/GA, were there to take us through three new ideas that have helped Nike build a strong bond with consumers.
The first called Nike iD allowed people to design their own shoe online and also share their pieces of art with others. What this simple idea did was to give people the freedom to express themselves.
And by doing so, respected their thinking and stopped treating them as mere buyers. This creative exercise found a following among world-renowned designers as well and made people see Nike as more than just a shoe.
The next was the ‘Ballers Network’, an online community that featured basketball courts around the world, with exact locations and player details.
So, if you happened to travel to Europe, or a new neighbourhood, you could easily locate and connect with fellow basketball enthusiasts for a game.
Finally they spoke about Human Race 10K. Put simply, it’s their effort to make one million people run together across 25 cities all over the world.
Wearing a red T-shirt, of course. For if you happened to shoot from the moon, you would be able to see humanity running in red.
After a tiring day, a trip to the Gutter Bar was but obvious. And the good news for India continued, with four gold Lions in the print and design category.
On a personal note, I’m happy for Leo Burnett, as we have managed to pick up five metals for the Luxor campaign, that includes two Gold Lions.
With India on the path of doubling its metal tally this year, I’m sure such a strong performance may even put us among the top ten countries in the world.
The author is national creative director, Leo Burnett India.
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First Published: Thu, Jun 19 2008. 09 47 PM IST