How social media enhanced Wimbledon 2016

Even if you’re not into sport, the chances are you’ve been spending your summer keeping up to date with major sporting events like Wimbledon or Euro 2016. You had no choice, really. They’ve been everywhere.

And when it comes to events like Wimbledon, well-known brands – if they’re smart – will seek to get in on the action. But the ways in which brands engage with the event will differ depending on their product and, interestingly, whether or not they are official sponsors of the event itself.

The official Wimbledon channel across the social media platforms, unsurpisingly, posts lots of content related to the event. As well as videos of highlights, the official feed provides its followers with build-up and reaction to the big matches, as well as infographics, quotes and behind the scenes footage. It serves up original content as well as making use of the likes of periscope to engage its audience.

Brand engagement with the Championships, by its nature, is a little different. Brands, even official sponsors, don’t always have a product directly related to the action on the court, nor will they attempt to provide the kind of coverage that newspapers, broadcasters or other sport websites provide. IBM, for instance, are keen to simply retweet the likes of Sports Illustrated when they use IBM data. An endorsement from a respected sports publisher is good enough.

But brands like Adidas and Nike, take advantage of the event to market themselves to tennis fans who are actively looking to consume tennis-related content at the time.

What’s interesting here, is that these brands are also sponsors of they players themselves, and will use the success of their sponsored athletes to market their own products.

It’s a bit different, though, if you’re a brand whose product doesn’t have an obvious relevance to sport. The challenge for official Wimbledon partners, brands like Robinsons fruit juice and Lavazza coffee is to create rich content around an event where their brands have no direct relevance.

Anything gimmicky or quirky and image or video-based is a good way to get people engaged – like this from Lavazza that made it into our wash-up this week.

Robinson’s, however, have taken up residence within the SW19 campus and invited celebrities with huge social media followings along to spend the day with them. The activation then comes in the form of these delicious-looking portraits created from fruit, and then shared on social media by the celebrities themselves. Robinsons have 15,200 followers on their @DrinkRobinsons Twitter account, so a tweet from Girls Aloud singer Kimberley Walsh, with her 692,000 followers represents a significant boost in reach. Especially with the addition of their hashtag and Twitter handle in the photo.

But just like with the sports brands, sponsoring athletes themselves is – if they win – a sure fire way to gain exposure. Just look at this selection of tweets from champion Andy Murray’s sponsors:

They’re not the only ones attempting to boost their brands with shareable video content and celebrity endorsements. Jaguar produced a video with – aptly – Jimmy Carr chauffeuring Andy Murray to Wimbledon.

Whilst Stella Artois have gone with a more traditional TV ad, but still shareable online, as well as adding a special addition Wimbledon packaging to their cases in the shops.

But even if you’re not an official sponsor, you can still get in on the action – the one thing about infrequent sporting events is that everyone’s watching!

About author

Chris McMullan
Chris McMullan 831 posts

Chris is a sports journalist and editor of Digital Sport - follow him on Twitter @CJMcMullan_

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