A month-by-month review of the best sport marketing campaigns of 2019

By Michael Constanti

Take a look back at this year’s best sport marketing campaigns as we dive into our favourite for each month. 2019 was another memorable year for many sport campaigns and adverts. The World Cup led the way for numerous sports as their creative brand campaigns displayed brilliance, but there were many campaigns that shone over the 12 months. These viral hits are great examples of how to leave a positive digital imprint on the world of sport. 

January 2019 – BT Sport FA Cup

BT Sport kicked off the year with a series of short & humorous adverts to promote the FA Cup. They created three short clips of an actor in a giant life size FA Cup costume watching over people ‘mug off the cup’. The video started off with a Premier League fan complaining that there is no Fantasy Football this week. The giant trophy was not impressed and resulted in it throwing a plate of food at the fan and trashing his restaurant dinner table. BT Sport cleverly used a football fans common perception of the FA Cup in order to relate to viewers in a more personal level. They promoted the FA Cup after each clip by stating that The Emirates FA Cup is shown live on BT Sport.

February 2019 – Pepsi Max Messi and Salah

Pepsi Max teamed up with two world class footballers, Lionel Messi and Mohamed Salah, as the pair went head-to-head in a gas station shoot-off. A short 30-second advert showed them trying to one-up each other’s ball skills to see who would reach the Pepsi Max can first. Despite their efforts, a bystander knocked over a rack of car tyres which resulted in him grabbing the last can before the football superstars. The hashtag of the campaign was #FORTHELOVEOFIT and promoted the UEFA Champions League as one of their official soft drink partners.

March 2019 – Heineken Rugby World Cup  

As official partners of the Rugby World Cup, the beer brand has a history of creating funny sport related adverts; however, this one was relatable for many people around the world. The short 30-second advert shows a man in a pub watching the World Cup, with no idea as to what is going on, or the rules of the sport. As the team he was supporting scored, he was in agony until he realised what was actually going on from the reaction of fellow fans. Heinekens strapline for the campaign was “You don’t need to know all the rules to enjoy Rugby World Cup.”, and everyone can become a fan, even if they don’t know all the rules. This engaged many new fans as the tournament reached the sports largest digital audience of all time.

April 2019 – Sterling free FA Cup tickets

Raheem Sterling worked with Manchester City to hand 500 tickets for their FA Cup semi-final to students of his old school in London. Along with the kind gesture from Sterling and his club, the young English forward took the time to give 10 students from the Ark Elvin Academy a tour of the Etihad Stadium. A 3-minute video was created by CityTV to showcase the campaign to the public. This had a positive effect on supporters of the club and proved good marketing by both Manchester City and Sterling himself. The England winger has also just been nominated for Sports Personality of the Year 2019 which shows the effect of this campaign.

May 2019 – Lucozade Sport: The Lionesses

Lucozade Sport ran a campaign for the nation to get behind England at the Women’s World Cup. The sport energy drink posted the one-minute video on television as well as across social media. On Twitter it reached over 500,000 views with just the simple caption of #ThreeLionesses. It was very powerful and very inspiring for English football fans, especially those who were just interested in the men’s national team. The video began with the sentence “it’s coming home”, which was the main strapline for England at the 2018 men’s World Cup, and very well-known across the country.

June 2019 – Nike Women’s World Cup 

In the days leading up to the Women’s World Cup, Nike released a marketing campaign to promote the tournament and inspire young athletes to follow their dream. The campaign was led by a 3-minute-long video advert titled “Dream Further” and is based around a young mascot (Makena Cook) living her dream in the football world both on and off the pitch. The campaign reached over 2.5 million views on YouTube and many fans across the world have described it as ‘moving’ and ‘inspiring’. 

July 2019 – BBC Netball World Cup

At the end of May, BBC launched a new campaign looking at the upcoming summer of women’s sport. They were the largest broadcaster for all women’s sport action during those mid-year months and the Netball World Cup was part of the leading campaign. They used the hashtag #ChangeTheGame to market the Vitality Netball World Cup 2019 which was free-to-air on the BBC. A series of short videos were created to showcase the sport which most sport fans may not be as familiar with compared to other sports. They did a great job in engaging new fans with netball with the use of the hashtag during their campaign. This promo-vid was released at the start of July.

August 2019 – Coca-Cola Premier League Season 

As the Official Soft Drink partner of the Premier League, Coca-Cola teamed up with all 20 clubs to represent English football whilst subtly promoting their soft drink. The one-and-a-half-minute video advert was first published in February this year; however, the soft drink brand decided to remake the advert to include the three newly promoted Premier League Clubs. The advert showcases the strength and uniqueness of all clubs fanbases with a twist of humour. Brilliant example of b2b marketing with the two brands working together to create unity and promote both of their products.

September 2019 – Budweiser #BeerOfKings

Budweiser have teamed up with the Premier League to run their campaign titled “Kings of the Premier League”. As the brand is the new Official Beer of the Premier League, they post a short video on their social media each week before match-day to highlight the “Kings to watch”. They showcase goals and skills of four players to keep an eye on if they are in-form or having a good run of games. They sign off every post with their hashtag #BeerOFKings which helps promote their product as well as the Premier League. 

 

October 2019 – Virgin Media Usain Bolt 

Usain Bolt continued his partnership with Virgin Media broadband with a brand-new advert showing off his ‘superhero’ side. Virgin Media are partners for the upcoming 2020 Olympics, and Usain Bolt is a double World-Record holder, therefore their “Switch To Super” campaign ties well with the sport and engages fans with the Olympics. The 60 second advert is all about a tailor making a super-hero suit for Bolt which makes him super-fast. This is a campaign which leads up to next years Olympics with Bolt set to continue as Virgins face of it.

November 2019 – Premier League Rainbow Laces 

The Premier League stood alongside Stonewall in promoting equality and diversity with their Rainbow Laces campaign. All Premier League clubs came together between 3-9 December to celebrate the campaign and to show support for all LGBT people in the UK, but in football especially. The Premier League teamed up with all clubs to create a series of short videos with unique personal club stories at the heart. The campaign was a great success with “bespoke Rainbow Laces pitch flags, ball plinths, handshake and substitute boards, rainbow captain’s armbands and rainbow laces available for both players and fans on match-days during the campaign”.

December 2019 – Amazon Prime Video & Premier League 

To wrap up the year, Amazon created a variety of humorous adverts through their massive launch campaign of the Premier League, which was set to be live streamed through their Prime Service for the first time ever across the festive period. The digital giants are notorious for their high quality free next-day delivery service, and this was cleverly incorporated into a series of adverts starring notable football figures such as Harry Redknapp, Thierry Henry, Alan Shearer and Peter Crouch. Most of their adverts revolved around homeowners across the UK opening their door to these football stars instead of their average Amazon Prime delivery drivers. Below is one of our favourites.

We hope you enjoyed our top 12 list of 2019! Let us know your favourites in the comments below!

This article was sponsored by Snack Media, which is a leading independent sports digital media company with over 30m sports fans. They specialise in multi-channel content creation, distributed at scale. Through data driven engagement strategies Snack Media creates authentic connections between brands & fans. To find out how Snack Media can connect your brand with 30m sports fans, contact rupert@snack-media.com.

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