The strategy aims to address what the business says is its “growing disconnect” with millennials as it plays catch up in the mobile market. It is targeting the Catalan giant’s estimated 349 million fans worldwide to restablish its brand credentials after penning a £15m five-year deal – its first sporting tie-up – last week (12 December).
Barcelona players such as Lionel Messi and Neymar will star in behind-the-scenes “Look Inside FCB” social media and in-store activity over the next two quarters alongside CSR work with the club’s foundation. The pan-European effort will lay the groundwork for a global Barcelona-themed TV campaign around the start of 2014/15 season which will dovetail into a wider marketing ploy to promote its “Inside Intel” strapline.
Much of the early buzz around the deal has been focused on the company’s logo appearing on the inside of the club’s shirt, an unprecedented move in the football arena, which Intel promises will insert its long-running strapline into key cultural moments.
The Intel logo would be revealed when players lift their shirts to celebrate scoring a goal but the company says players will not be encouraged to do so. The business, however, said it was planning coordinated global stunts with the players and the shirt around “big matches”.
David Haroldsen, VP of sponsorships at Intel, told Marketing Week it wants to convert Barcelona supporters into loyal Intel advocates by tapping into its “active” social media community. It is developing a raft of launches ranging from second-screen initiatives to wearable technology to push the brand closer to the fan experience.
Haroldsen adds: “The days when people would buy a computer and think Intel are long gone. The Barcelona deal allows us to reintroduce ourselves as a brand and connect with a new audience.
“We could have gone with appearing on the sleeve of the club’s jersey and that way people would have seen the name all the time. That didn’t feel authentic for the Intel brand. If we truly are “Inside FCB” then we needed to be inside the jersey. And if we activate around it all the time and people know the logo is there then it becomes almost like a badge of honour that’s linked to special moments for the club.”
Fans will be able to buy the Intel replica shirts from next season and the brand is already plotting a flurry of user-generated campaigns to showcase fans recreating their own celebrations.
The move is the latest in Intel’s efforts to change perceptions and position itself as an outwardly creative business. It is hoping the changes attract the next generation of shoppers as the brand readies expansions to its mobile and wearable technology ranges.