Raahil Chopra
Sep 22, 2016

'It is important for all sports teams to operate like brands': Valencia CF's Peter Draper

Iris Worldwide's Grant Hunter and Ross Henderson were joined by Valencia CF's Peter Draper to discuss how 'the game has changed'

Grant Hunter, Iris
Grant Hunter, Iris

Speaking on day one of Spikes Asia, Grant Hunter, regional ECD, Iris Worldwide, explained the agency's view on sports marketing and how the game has changed.    

The session began with Hunter introducing Dragonn, an e-player signed by West Ham United (football club based in England) to play the EA Sports' Fifa on the club's behalf. 

He said, "He's a part of the slash generation and plays Fifa for a living. The global sports spends revenue is 62.2 billion pounds. The slash generation has spending power of 2.5 trillion dollars. Thirty trillion dollars of spends are available in marketing towards the women."   

Meme culture

Showcasing a collection of memes that went viral post Drake's 'Call me on my cellphone' track, Hunter said, "The song was designed for this."   

He cited the case of Adidas, post one of its brand ambassadors Luis Suarez biting an Italian player Giorgio Chiellini, during World Cup 2014. He explained, "The press was going mental. The internet started going mental too with their own memes. Adidas had this ATL execution (below) running during the World Cup in Rio." 


He added, "Suarez got a whole lot of hate. Adidas could have walked out the relation with him. But instead launched, 'There will be haters'. The long film could be made into bite sized content."

Hunter followed this with three main principles for brands in the space.   

Citing an example of NBA's work, Hunter said, "NBA has taken an aggressive stance on social media. They produce all their content in-house. They actively put up stats, graphs, etc in real-time as the plays happen on the court. The slash generation wants all this in real-time and this helps."   

He then urged brands not to be to afraid of memes. When cyclist Chris Froome fell of his bike, the world was out with memes again.    

Hunter then picked on another social media phenomenon, 'Thug Life' memes and linked it to this piece Adidas did for the launch of its 'ACE 16+ boots'. The content was pushed out by influencers too. 

The last point  was about trust. "Recently during Rio 2016 there was news of doping, then there have been betting allegations in cricket and football. The slash generation values authenticity."

With this he left the stage to introduce Ross Henderson, account director, Iris Sport, iris worldwide who played a video message from Peter Draper, commercial and marketing director, Valencia CF.   

Henderson who is a fan of Scottish football club, Hibernian F.C., spoke about the club's recent Scottish Cup success. He said, "From 1902 to 2016, the club won nothing. Then, I was rewarded with the 2016 Scottish Cup. This win rewarded me and my toil to the brand."    

Draper's message was about Valencia CF's progression in Asia Pacific and said that it is important for all sports teams to operate like brands. He said, "We (Valencia) had to understand what we stood for. We had to discover a brand. It's not (possible) to win games every week. It's about understanding fans and bring them into support the club. Our challenge is to be in the top  20, then top 15 and top 10 sports teams in the world. We have kicked off targeting fans outside of Spain. It's important to have kick-off times at a convenient time for fans in Asia too. Every club plays its games abroad, we want to have  a festival of football. We want to impact local football in these countries too. We are talking to an audience that wants snack-size content." 

Campaign India

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