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Volume 7 No. 109
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Wish Recruits Howard, Neymar For 'Time On Your Hands' Campaign

To coincide with this summer's World Cup, online marketplace Wish introduced a marketing campaign titled "Time On Your Hands," which centers around int'l footballers not participating in the quadrennial event. The global ecommerce company, which boasts 300 million customers, was built through social media advertising and had never done any traditional marketing prior to sponsoring the NBA L.A. Lakers jersey ahead of the '17-18 season. "[Wish] kind of falls into the category of the biggest company you've never heard of," Managing Dir of Partnerships Sam Jones said. "This is a brand which has kind of come from nowhere." Jones joined Wish last year with the goal of using sport as a conduit to build the brand. The current campaign was designed to reach a broad audience during the world's largest global sporting event. It recruited Gianluigi Buffon, Robin Van Persie, Claudio Bravo, Gareth Bale and Tim Howard, whose national sides did not qualify for the World Cup, to participate in a six-spot series that lets fans see what the athletes are doing behind closed doors. Paul Pogba, who will compete for France in Sunday's final, and Neymar also took part in the campaign. The ads show the athletes interacting with each other via mobile video and using the Wish app to find new hobbies, such as Bale learning to style hair and Buffon trying his hand at baking. Howard told SBD Global, "I was lucky, I think I had the best job in the world -- world-famous DJ." The U.S. goalkeeper was excited to participate in the campaign, saying, "Not being at the World Cup but still feeling a huge part of the World Cup and the World Cup fever -- it was an easy decision to make."

GOING VIRAL: Although Wish devoted a large chunk of its ad spend to TV, and bought primetime slots in markets including the athletes' home regions as well as Asia, Australia and South Africa, an important catalyst behind the drive has been social media. Player posts were elements of the athletes' contracts with Wish. "From the very outset, we saw this as a social media campaign as much as a TV campaign," Jones said. "We bought TV ad slots all over the world, but we really wanted to push this on the players' social media channels." Howard's tweet from last month featuring his ad from the campaign has been viewed more than 2 million times, while a post from Neymar's official account has been seen nearly 9 million times. Jones said that Wish has noticed early positive returns through sales and app downloads that can be attributed to the campaign. He added, "The truly great thing about sport, or athletes, is there's no way these athletes put their name to something unless this company's legitimate. I don't know anything else we could've done other than sport to get through that."