I picked this article up from Waterfront Marketing where Sean Pickwell shares his insight into the controversial issue of ‘why entertainment can be better than sport’. The complete article can be found on Waterfront page here
Or if you read on…the article is below as well;
I struggled with writing this article as we have developed strategies, and partnered many big brands successfully with major sports stars (and we will continue to do it). BUT…Australia’s results at this years Olympics highlight one of the challenges of backing sports stars as opposed to entertainment celebrities.
The challenge with sport stars is that the success of your campaign is directly attributed to how successful the athlete or team is. Overall entertainment stars are less reliant on a particular movie or album succeeding for them to still have celebrity value. This is often because once they reach a certain level, their celebrity value goes beyond what they do for a living, and they become famous, because they are famous. Yes they need to stay hot and relevant (and plenty don’t) but the big stars are not as reliant on regular “hits” to stay valuable to brands.
It’s great this year if you are sponsoring the Sydney “Rabbitohs” who are suddenly playing out of their skin, but for the last five years they have been very “disappointing”. Same for Adelaide Crows who are sitting 2nd this year but finished a dismal 14th last year. The brands supporting them have had a lot of years of limited return prior to this year’s success. No one in sport sets out to do badly, despite media suggestions to the contrary – they give their all to win. But when they don’t win or just get beaten, where does that leave the brands who have banked millions on their success? Disappointed… to say the least.
I’m sure you can think of your own examples. Now not all sports partnerships depend on success of the team. There are a myriad of benefits- behind the scenes, in sales, networking, etc, but it sure helps if they are winning. Same with individual sports stars. James Magnusson for example, just missed Gold at the Olympics but he is still the hottest star in the pool and will be a huge performer for years to come. Same with individuals who perform consistently in a team that struggles- a great example Dave Warner, Michael Clarke and Shane Watson in the Aussie cricket team.
So for marketers, sport will always have a place, and rightly so, but its time to rethink the disproportionate amount of marketing funds that currently go to sport as opposed to entertainment. You could argue in many cases entertainment is a better bet. Less cluttered, high female appeal, strong youth appeal, and strong social media relevance, and less reliant on success right now. In fact, success awaits many brands…..if they have the courage to invest across the entertainment platform!