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Examining The New Wave Of Sports And Entertainment Marketing

Sports and Entertainment Marketing

Sharon Byers, Coca-Cola North America
Stephen Chriss, Mondelez International
Steve Pamon, JPMorgan Chase
Tom Shine, XIX Entertainment
Andrew Wilson, EA Sports
Alan Zucker, IMG Talent Marketing Group

Sports and entertainment have always been linked, but the two industries are becoming increasingly intertwined. Coca-Cola’s activation around this weekend’s Final Four is a prime example. The soft drink company is bringing several top musical acts, including Muse, Ludacris and Macklemore, to Atlanta for a concert at Centennial Park for fans coming to the city for the event. “You want to make sure that you’re picking artists that are relevant for the brand – in this case Coke Zero – that merge fans interested in that music and also in basketball,” said Sharon Byers, senior vice president of sports and entertainment marketing for Coca-Cola, during a panel discussion at the World Congress of Sports. “Finding that merger in your consumer base is critically important.” XIX Entertainment Senior Executive Tom Shine said the difficulty that companies face is “getting the right people for the right product.” He pointed to a recent Mercedes-Benz ad featuring musician Usher and supermodel Kate Upton as a good example of using celebrities in the proper setting, and said, “It has to look like it fits together. You can’t just take assets and drop them in an ad.”

The emergence of social media and Twitter has allowed both sports personalities and entertainment stars to “interact together on a minute-to-minute, hour-by-hour basis,” said Andrew Wilson, executive vice president for EA Sports. EA put rapper Snoop Dogg in a commercial for its “FIFA” videogame franchise last year, and Wilson noted the appearance added to the authenticity of the game “because before we had a relationship, he was tweeting about ‘FIFA.’”Additionally, actor Paul Rudd starred with former Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis in a series of ads for “Madden 13,” in part because he actively plays the game. Wilson: “Not only did he want to be involved in the campaign, he wanted to bring his whole writing crew to work on the campaign.” He added, “What we found is the level of passion out there that’s been created by social media, and Twitter is actually bringing these two groups together very, very naturally.”


– Stephen Chriss of Mondelez International on keeping its sports and entertainment properties separate: “My budget might not be as deep where I can begin to bring things together, so I have to be laser focused.”

– Steve Pamon of JPMorgan Chase: “If you’re a 13-year-old girl that lives in Queens, you might not care about the Knicks or the Rangers. But if One Direction shows up for Jingle Ball, you’re there early.”

– Shine, on activation mistakes: “I don’t think there’s a bigger fault in all of marketing than people that buy something, put their name on something, then walk away from it.”

Here's a slide show of the panelists. Click on any photo to launch.

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