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Volume 24 No. 112
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'13 CSE Sports Marketing Symposium: What's Trending In Activation, Fan Engagement

The evolving landscape of content creation and consumer engagement was a main topic of conversation during an opening panel of the '13 CSE Sports Marketing Symposium. Anheuser-Busch VP/Media, Sports & Entertainment Marketing Blaise D’Sylva said the traditional ad agency model “is going to break down.” He explained, “There are so many places where you can source great content today. There are so many people out there with great ideas that (good content) is so much easier to access and can be produced cheaper.” A new source of such content that was continually cited during the discussion was the consumer itself. AT&T VP/Consumer Advertising & Marketing Communications Daryl Evans said, “The content is going to come to you. The fans are going to create the content.” He cited the company’s campaign featuring school-aged children and added, “We don’t write that stuff. We can’t write it. As good as we think we are, no one’s writing it as good as what they say. That content comes directly from the minds of those kids.” D’Sylva said brands are not trying to replace traditional content providers, but are “trying to provide a different type of content that resonates with the consumer and gets them to like us, talk about us, add that social aspect to it.” He added, “It’s not just that we’re going to make two 30-second commercials and we’re done for the fall. We’ve got a million things that we can do and we’ve got to really plan it out. There's so much content we can use and we all know we need more of it because the consumer gets turned off so fast. The old reach of frequency metrics don’t work anymore. If I don't have new stuff all the time then I’m going to lose that consumer pretty fast.”

THE BIG GAME: Super Bowl XLVIII will be played at MetLife Stadium on Feb. 2, and panelists were asked about the challenges that brands face in trying to break through the clutter of a marketplace like N.Y., and if that might deter their companies from activating around the event. D’Sylva said, “We’ll have significant activation around the Super Bowl both in the market as well as on television. We think it’s a tremendous opportunity and there’s going to be a lot of energy and excitement around an outdoor Super Bowl.” CSE President of Marketing Adam Zimmerman echoed the uniqueness of the event and said, “In a lot of ways it’s a throwback. We’re playing outside in the Northeast and I think that’s going to be fantastic with all that that’s going to bring.”

Zimmerman pointed to the NFL's deal with Twitter
when discussing the rise of the second-screen user

SOCIAL BUTTERFLIES: Asked about the NFL’s recent content deal with Twitter, Zimmerman said it proves “the power” of social networks. D’Sylva added, “It’s only going to grow. As we all talk about second screen experience, it really seems that Twitter is definitely the one out in front. ... The more things that Twitter can continue to do and associate with, whether it’s the league or with the media partners, is only going to benefit them because it’s going to continue to drive people to Twitter, so I think it’s a smart move.”


--Zimmerman on the second-screen experience: “There’s a realization that TV plus social is better. People are engaged, whether it’s sporting events or how Twitter and other media exploded around ‘Breaking Bad.’ It is a part of how people are engaging with content. Everyone should be exploring what that second screen experience is, and that becomes an opportunity to be ownable for a brand, to own that second-screen.”

--D’Sylva on consumer-created content: “Everything we do these days in marketing is really social at the core. ... We’re constantly looking for ... how do we involve the consumer in the creation of whatever we’re doing? ... The millennial consumer today wants to be a part of it. They want to help create it.”

--Zimmerman: “(Social media) helps us get closer to the holy grail of sponsorship, which is, what if I knew what my target, what my fan really wanted to do? ... Well now social conversations, and us being able to listen and infiltrate those conversations, tells me exactly what that fan would like to do. … Knowing what we know, we can lift that insight and be so much more impactful with our activation and be real time because actual fans are telling us what they want to do as opposed to us supposing what they want to do.”

For more from the event, see our On The Ground blog.