Video: Adidas World Cup advert ft Beckham, Zidane and Bale
The sportswear maker is pulling budget from traditional channels such as TV to fund the plan as it attempts to turn online video into a global brand marketing and sales channel.
Rather than just focus on boosting video views through paid media, Adidas is spending millions on understanding how to create videos fans share organically. This includes experimenting with the way viewing times for videos and their actual length grow audiences alongside the subject matter of posts and subscriber demographics to branded channels.
The hope is to map online videos to three categories of content YouTube believes are key to success. Large scale budget work that typically coincides with a product launch, videos created for a specific segment of its audience as a way to reinforce affinity and regular posts targeting core fans to establish an always on presence.
Rob Hughes, senior global football PR manager at Adidas, says the framework creates a “nimble content machine” capable of extending the experience fans get in-stores and on Twitter and Facebook to the video network. Crafting a defined role for YouTube in the customer journey to stores or an ecommerce transaction is key, the business adds.
Adidas will pull the learnings together to support a live “Soccer Am”-style show, dubbed “The Dugout”, to be broadcast from Rio during the tournament.
Fronted by TV presenter and model Layla Anne-Lee, the show lets thousands of subscribers interact with mooted appearances from brand ambassadors such as Justin Bieber and David Beckham in real-time. It is the first time a brand has attempted an event on this scale since YouTube launched live streaming last summer. Using Google+ Hangouts in conjunction with the live stream, other sports personalities from around the world will also be able dial-in to the events.
The company’s move towards a real-time YouTube strategy has also spawned 100 pre-prepared videos that will launch in response to specific player and in-game triggers. It tested the plan a few months ago when it ran a video of Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho eulogising the importance of his team’s semi-final clash with Athletico Madrid. The video’s reach was boosted by its appearance as a skippable ad as well as a suggested video against key football searches.
Other videos were also trialled, although the sports business admits pre-planned content is unlikely to be as prolific as the more reactive videos it is planning. Newsrooms in New York and London will help generate and distribute the World Cup films, conceived by the main hub in Brazil.
The subject matter for some of the videos will be cut from Google and YouTube searches alongside trending data from the video network. Adidas plans on turning in-game mobile searches into a window to what World Cup moments are likely to go viral ahead of its rivals. Additionally, fans will be able to link to Adidas’ ecommerce site when watching certain videos from their smartphones, a feature YouTube has only just added.
The activity is part of Adidas’ reported £50m “All in or Nothing” marketing campaign to generate an additional €2bn (£1.2bn) in football sales this year.
Hughes adds: This is our biggest and most integrated marketing campaign ever and our YouTube strategy plays a critical role in marking it work. We want to grow the adidas family. Whether that is delivering sign-ups to our CRM platform, increasing our YouTube subscriber base or building brand advocacy.
“The move towards a real-time campaign has meant we are looking much longer term with our content to understand what we have and how best to use it.”
YouTube sees the upcoming event as a “lightening rod” for advertisers mulling over the effectiveness of the platform. The social network is shifting the way it markets and sells content, promising more transparency in how video is measured and a willingness to educate advertisers.