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Volume 10 No. 24

People and Pop Culture

ALEX LEITÃO is president of Octagon Brazil. Leitão joined Octagon in '10 when his sports marketing firm, B2S, merged with the agency. Leitão helps develop strategic plans for companies that use football as a tool for brand positioning, sales and business development. His marketing experience in the retail, advertising, hospitality and entertainment industries spans Brazil, Latin America and Europe. Leitão has consulted with sponsors of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, including AB InBev, Johnson & Johnson, Oi, Liberty Seguros, Wise Up and Itau.

On the biggest adjustment when his firm merged with Octagon...
Leitão: Octagon saw an opportunity to combine their global expertise and experience across the FIFA World Cup and Olympics with B2S’s expertise and knowledge of Brazilian sports. The transition was an easy one. It meant that collectively we had more resources and experience to leverage in order to help our clients achieve their objectives across the biggest global sporting events.

On what other lessons Rio 2016 will take away from what is happening with the World Cup?
Leitão: We all expected this FIFA World Cup to be well viewed through broadcast media and to be one of the most social media-driven sporting events ever. Even with those expectations, I’m blown away by the numbers. We’ve seen multiple viewership and social media engagement records broken, and we’re only through the first half of the tournament. As we look ahead to Rio 2016, Octagon Brazil will be working with our clients and the community to ensure we are ready to engage with fans across the globe, and to share our experiences across multiple social media platforms.

On one difference between the marketing for the World Cup and the 2016 Olympics in Brazil...
Leitão: Marketing for any of the global events is about passion, and understanding why fans are passionate about a particular sport or event. Octagon’s Passion Drivers research allows us to quantify why fans are passionate about a particular sport or event, and then allows us to work with our clients to create programming and messaging that resonates with those fans. For example, Passion Drivers tells us that Olympic fans in Brazil are more focused on the social aspects of the Games, whereas Brazil is a mature football market where fandom is tribal in nature and fans demonstrate strong team devotion. This has a significant impact on how sponsors should customize their activation programs to appeal to and engage fans during the different events.

On what Brazil companies can learn from London 2012 as they consider sponsorships for the 2016 Rio Games...
Leitão: The FIFA World Cup and the Olympics are the largest global sporting events, and companies can leverage the excitement and passion for those events by truly understanding fans and building plans around them. Give fans opportunities to engage with the property, listen and speak to them through social media and provide content-rich experiences on the ground and through digital. I’ve encouraged our Brazil-based clients to consider ways their campaigns and activations can provide memorable experiences, and leave consumers with a lasting connection to the brand.

On what his experience has been like in Brazil since the World Cup started...
Leitão: I’m very pleased with how the tournament has progressed so far. The stadiums are impressive, the operations on-site are running smoothly, and sponsors are having meaningful interactions with millions of fans at the stadiums and Fan Fests. During my recent trip to Fan Fest in Rio, I saw a sea of yellow and green, fans having their faces painted and felt an overwhelming positive energy from the local and international fans.

Hangin' With runs each Friday in SBD Global.

The Int'l Cricket Council named N. SRINIVASAN as its new chairman. The ICC also appointed a new exec committee -- which will report to the ICC Board. The initial exec committee chairman will be Cricket Australia Chair WALLY EDWARDS. The ICC’s Finance and Commercial Affairs Committee chairman "will continue to be" England & Wales Cricket Board Chair GILES CLARKE. The Annual Conference also saw MUSTAFA KAMAL "become the 11th President of the ICC." Kamal: "This is a memorable and historic day for Bangladesh cricket." From 2016, the ICC Board, which will continue to be the primary decision-making body, "will elect the ICC Chairman for a two-year term" (PTI, 6/26). ... Argentine first division side Independiente hired RICARDO RODRÍGUEZ as its coach (LOS ANDES, 6/26).

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A trailer for a LIONEL MESSI movie titled "Messi" has been released. Though the film's release date has not been announced, "a presentation is scheduled for Wednesday." The movie, which ÁLEX DE LA IGLESIA will direct, "will feature interviews and archive images" (LOS ANDES, 6/25). ... Former German F1 driver NICK HEIDFELD and French rally and World Endurance Championship driver STÉPHANE SARRAZIN have joined the Venturi Formula E team. Venturi has selcted this professional duo to compete in the inaugural Formula E season (Venturi Formula E). ... Chinese cycling fans will have their own rider to root for when JI CHENG "will become the first Chinese to race in the Tour de France." Ji was included Wednesday in the nine-rider lineup of Dutch team Giant-Shimano. Ji, from China's northern city Harbin, "turned from track and field to cycling when he was 15." He began his professional career in '07 when he joined Shimano. Ji "was the first Chinese rider to compete in a Grand Tour race when he finished the 2012 Vuelta a Espana" (XINHUA, 6/26). ... Former NBA player YAO MING and his wife, YE LI, will be featured "in a forthcoming reality TV show that will challenge teenagers to team races." The show, called "One Heart Racing," will make its debut on June 28 on the Dragon TV channel based in Shanghai, Yao's hometown. Yao said that "he accepted the invitation to encourage teenagers in less developed regions of China to realize their dreams by working hard." Other celebrities, such as former badminton player BAO CHUNLAI and Olympic gymnastics champion CHEN YIBING, will also be featured in the show (XINHUA, 6/25).

Financial Times' ROGER BLITZ: "How exactly is Fifa going to police its stadium ban on Suarez? And what is the reasoning behind it?"

Sky News' PAUL KELSO: "Sepp Blatter leaves hotel without comment. Fifa spokesman: "Mr Blatter does not comment on decision of independent disciplinary committee"

London Times' MATT DICKINSON: "Impossible not to have sympathy with Liverpool given work they've tried with Suarez in last year (practical help as opposed to t-shirts)"

ESPN's CARL WORSWICK: "Colombian authorities have banned the sale & throwing of flour for the country's last 16 clash with #URU on Saturday. Via @oddsmakeradam"

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