21 Apr 2010
Nunu Ntshingila, chief executive officer of Ogilvy South Africa and a judge for the Virgin Active Sport Industry Awards, believes the World Cup this summer has made brands reassess their view of South African sport as a viable marketing tool.
Q. Have you noticed a substantial increase in marketing investment in sport ahead of this year’s World Cup?
The biggest impact that the World Cup has had on brands is that it is making them rethink their approach to sport. Those brands traditionally associated with sport have increased their investment while new brands and sectors have come into the market. From the PSL teams to sports outside of football, everyone’s felt the benefit from this new fringe spend coming in.
Q. Do you think that increased levels of marketing investment in South African sport will continue once the World Cup has been and gone?
For sure there has been an overspend on the World Cup which is quite simply not maintainable after the event. But not all the additional money will disappear. The World Cup has highlighted the possibilities that sport can offer brands and I expect an overall sustained increase on previous year-on-year levels. In particular firms have realised that sport can be used to portray brand values so there’s been a huge concentration on investment in sport development and legacy programmes. These are long-term investments as well so they won’t all just end after the tournament is over.
Q. What is the biggest challenge facing brands wanting to exploit an association with the tournament?
The biggest challenge is undoubtedly the clutter. With so much activity going on, how do you stand out? The brands that are and will be successful are the ones that have a point of view. It’s not enough to simply rely on the classic images of happy fans and lots of goals. It’s just wallpaper. The brands that go down this route aren’t contributing anything different. They’re not connecting with the fan.
Q. How has the approach of brands towards the delivery of sports marketing campaigns changed in South Africa in the last 5 years?
Brands have realised that a short-term approach is futile. There also seems to be a growing realisation that the traditional method of relying solely on celebrities isn’t enough. I’m not saying that celebrities don’t add value but it needs to go on to the next level of engagement. The World Cup has also introduced social media and digital marketing to sport although the traditional platforms of TV and outdoor do still dominate. Generally though, I’d say that the level of sophistication of delivery has improved immeasurably.
Q. What’s the best World Cup campaign that you have seen so far this year?
We’ve seen some amazing campaigns already. It’s been the clever, non-traditional work that has really caught my attention. Some brands have utilised the retail environment more than ever before and we’ve even seen some positioning themselves as anti-soccer with great success. I might be biased as its one of our clients, but we’re particularly proud of the work we’ve done for BP. They shown their role as unifying the nation behind the tournament and it’s really resonated with fans.
Q. As one of the judges for the Virgin Active Sport Industry Awards you’ll be reviewing a number of World Cup media campaigns among the entries. What do you think will make the best campaigns stand out from the rest?
Impact on brand. I’m really keen to see if firms have managed to shift consumer expectations of them as a result of their activities. This kind of endorsement is the bottom line of all marketing. While it might be a bit earlier to judge some of the World Cup campaigns against that barometer of success, I’ll also be looking for clever integration and strategy in reaching fans. If you do something different then you’ll reap the rewards.