This summer has seen a flurry of sporting events hit the UK including the Grand National, London Marathon, FA Cup Final, Wimbledon, the World Cup and the Tour de France. Whilst these events have provided us with excellent entertainment, Friday quiz material and some hilarious in-office sweepstakes, they have also gifted brands with new opportunities for PR.

Thanks to these events, any dip in brand awareness can be quickly eradicated with the effective use of social media if it is efficiently used as a tool to keep our brands at the forefront of the public’s mind.

For example, the World Cup was deemed Twitter’s most discussed sporting event ever with over 35.6 million tweets.  As well as naysayers making last ditch attempts for coverage throughout the World Cup, the real PR play has been off the pitch with some particularly effective activities from the ultimate sporting contenders, Nike and Adidas.  

The battle for supremacy in the global football market is ever-present and one of the ultimate ‘goals’ for both brands. The World Cup is the main event in their sporting calendars, and much to Nike’s dismay, this year saw Adidas set to be the favourite due to its official tournament sponsorship with Nike nipping at Adidas’ heels in terms of market share.

Despite official sponsorship, some seriously creative and effective campaigning from Nike with their ‘Risk Everything’ slogan led to the solid thrashing of Adidas’ ‘All or Nothing’ campaign across social media. To top it all off, companies that are not official sponsors of the World Cup face legal repercussions for using specific terms, therefore whilst adhering to these rules and regulations, Nike’s brand presence has still been so extensive that 30 per cent of UK and US consumers polled believed it to be the official sponsor.

Nike’s social media campaign and excellent product placement had a tangible effect on consumers, whether they actively purchased the brand or not and pipped Adidas to the post despite all odds. Now that’s great PR.

Storm client Chang Beer also took the opportunity to capitalise on the ever-present football buzz by creating a pop-up penalty shoot out goal on London’s Southbank, maximising the event timing by holding it on Father’s Day… pitch perfect! The experiential marketing event allowed the brand to talk to consumers via pre-activity coverage as well as securing face time with football fans who were given the chance to win Chang Beer footballs, t-shirts and bottle openers. They were the perfect goodie bag to take home to watch the football and kept Chang Beer in at the forefront of its target market’s mind.

Capitalising on the strong media hold in London, journalists and bloggers were invited to participate via social media and in person, the photography from the event was also seeded out to key publications nationwide, thus securing yet another opportunity to infiltrate the media!

With PR usually operating on a seasonal basis, as well as blessed new product launches and the occasional holidays such as Valentine’s Day, it is a breath of fresh air to have so many sporting events taking over the UK population. These crowd-captivating events provide us with real-time ‘hooks’ that truly facilitate our ability to get creative. We’re able to get our brand names out there in quirky and exciting ways that differentiate us from the rest. It’s also the perfect excuse to piggyback a trending hashtag or two!

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