Balls

Adidas Soccer revealed the Telstar 18, a reimagining of the original Telstar ball used at the tournament back in 1970 to be featured in the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

It will be the most tech-savvy ball in history with an NFC microchip embedded inside. The chip will allow consumers to interact directly with the ball using their smartphones. Each ball generates a unique identifier, unlocking exclusive content and information for the user about the details of each ball and providing access to challenges that users can enter before the World Cup.

In short, passionate soccer fans can tap their phone on the ball to unlock a consumer experience – technically this could be anything from player exclusive content, to games, to Adidas’s discounts, to brand co-partnership

Why It’s Hot:

  1. Harnesses a red-hot passion point (aka soccer) at a global scale
  2. Enables increased product sales (the balls)
  3. Delivers on a unique and exclusive consumer experience
  4. Sky is the limit when it comes to content

nike connected jersey…

Nike added a new layer of to clothing recently when it introduced connected NBA jerseys.

To coincide with its new status as official NBA gear provider, jersey owners can now tap their iPhone 7 with iOS11 on the jersey’s tag to activate “premium content” via NFC.

Per 9-to-5 mac:

“Essentially what happens is customers can purchase a jersey for their favorite player and unlock “premium content” about that player via the NikeConnect app. That premium content includes things such as “pregame arrival footage,” highlight reels, music playlists from players, and more. Just so everything comes full circle, the jerseys can unlock boosts for players in NBA 2K18.”

Why It’s Hot:

Everything is now a platform. With AR, NFC, and QR truly becoming mainstream, and mixed reality and AI presumably not long behind them, we’re interacting with things in a whole new way. This is a relatively light example – less utility, more entertainment – but it shows how technology is integrating into everything to provide a new layer of experience to even the clothes we wear.

Is Lebron James one of the Best Brand Storytellers of All Time?

As one of the greatest to ever play the game, and perhaps one of the most polarizing figures in sports today, Lebron James’s has seen his share of ups and downs since he joined the NBA in 2003. But there’s no arguing that James has carefully crafted his Brand. At times powerfully emotional – at times wholly contrived – James harnesses his branded partnerships and massive media leverage to tell his story and sell product while he’s at it. Because that’s exactly what a superstar player like James does off the court– he constructs and carefully manages his image. Through media and brand partnerships over the years, James has established himself as one of the most iconic figures in advertising– most notably through his work with Nike.

This week, The Ringer published a retrospective look at James’s Brand narrative, so to speak, “A Reverse Chronology of Lebron James’s Persona, Told Through His Commercials”

Here’s my favorite:

Why It’s Hot:

Watching James’s career through the lens of his ads shows us the story arc of his own personal brand strategy come to life. Juxtaposing James’s Nike spots during his stint in Miami with those that followed once he returned as the Prodigal Son of Cleveland make for an uneasy character study; The Ringer’s Jason Concepcion cynically muses of the spots, “Authenticity is a valuable commodity that can be replicated as necessary”. Yet if this tells us anything as marketers, it’s that strong brands are resilient, despite losses, missteps, and change.

Making Music with Tennis Data

IBM and the U.S. Open teamed up together for last year’s summer tournament to bring an interesting twist to what is often thought of as an older sport. IBM’s data team partnered with James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem fame to translate the raw data that IBM collects during matches into listenable music. The raw data that is collected passes through an algorithm that James and his collaborators created that eventually spits out something that is pleasing to the ear. Some tweaks are then made by James and tracks are created.

Why It’s Hot:

We often hear the buzzword of Big Data being thrown around constantly but have many different ways of interpreting its definition. Some may say it’s for optimizing experiences, uncovering insights, or seeing patterns that we normally would not have been able to uncover. In this case, the data is actually used as a medium to create art with. There are tons of ways to think about and use data, this just happens to be one of the more creative and sonically appealing.

 

The Future of Online Sports Viewing Is Bright for Both Fans and Marketers

Television, the long-dominant medium for sports consumption, is quickly losing ground as audiences everywhere turn to computers, phones, tablets and streaming set-top boxes to watch their favorite games online. These digital platforms are winning the battle for audience attention by providing the kind of flexibility and control that consumers can’t get from standard cable contracts. For example, if you live in New York but root for a team in Chicago, in all likelihood you can’t consistently watch your team’s games on TV. Online streaming solves the problem wherever there’s an Internet connection.

Why It’s Hot
These advantages are already driving impressive audience growth in the digital space. According to Adobe Digital Index (ADI), the average consumer viewed 4.2 authenticated sports videos per month in Q3 2014, a healthy 10.5 percent increase year-over-year. Furthermore, audiences will soon to be able to stream ESPN and other channels that broadcast sports, such as TNT and TBS, for as little as $20 per month on emerging Web-TV services. Cord cutting even
took a chunk out of TV ratings from the Big Game this past Sunday. NBC reported that a peak of 1.3 million people streamed the broadcast concurrently, a record for a championship game.

Marketers may consider reaching fans more efficiently with a less expensive, multi-channel digital campaign that can be both targeted and measured than moving forward with a seven-figure TV ad. There is potential for brand lift, as ADI explains, online viewers see 66 percent more ads per video when watching sports content than they do when watching non-sports content.
The digital space will also have a huge impact on how major North American sports leagues compete for international attention. While leagues, sponsors and sports networks won’t be able to easily reach audiences abroad via TV, the barriers to entry online are so much lower. According to ADI, the major basketball, football and baseball leagues have already generated respectable social buzz outside of the United States. This should continue to increase as steaming services and other digital options give fans access to games from remote locations. Sports

This information shows how much the playing field has shifted for sports media in recent years, and how much potential there is to keep evolving. Just as radio broadcasts gave way to TV, it’s clear sports consumption has entered a new, digital era.

Which Sport Does Your State Like Best?

usmap

The WSJ’s “The Count” asked Facebook to compile a list of the most-liked sports in each state when compared with the sport’s own national average. The “big four” North American sports — football, hockey, basketball and baseball —dominated much of the country, so they asked Facebook to run the list again with those four sports being exempt.

Why It’s Hot

Many of the results are what you would expect based on regional popularity, like skiing is popular in the 11 states across the mountain ranges of the East and the Rockies in the West. But also finding out that volleyball captured 11 states, and softball is popular in the Midwest and South (10 states) is more surprising. This data may show regional trends and also offers marketing opportunities on Facebook and other social media. Advertisers can engage the tennis lovers in Georgia or the bowling fanatics in Michigan with unique messaging targeted to these audiences. These may be minor sports, but advertisers can hit home runs by reaching out to their fan base, getting their attention, and initiating dialogue.

Ralph Lauren Goes Tech

Ralph Lauren unveiled a high-performance Polo Tech shirt at the start of the 2014 U.S. Open. The Polo Tech shirt merges biometrics into active lifestyle apparel, marking a revolution in advanced technology designed to improve general wellness and increase personal fitness. The shirt features sensors knitted into the core of the product to read biological and physiological information. The data collected by the shirt is stored by a “black box,” which includes an accelerometer and gyroscope, which capture movement and direction. That ”black box” transmits the data into the cloud, where it is plugged into a number of algorithms that gauge important performance-oriented biometrics, including heartbeat and respiration, as well as some psychometrics such as stress level and energy output.

Why It’s Hot:

Our vision is that this will transcend sports to help us at every age and in every aspect of life. Reaching far beyond just the needs of elite athletes, Polo Tech will offer innovative technology for all ages and lifestyles to promote general wellness and quality of life.” David Lauren Senior Vice President of Advertising, Marketing and Public Relations

As wearable technology continues to emerge as a hot trend moving forward, many more luxury brands will be jumping for a chance to take a slice of the pie. Ralph Lauren is getting ahead of the game by creating a useful garment to appeal to the affluent tennis/golf/fitness audience that the brand tends to attract.

You Have to Sweat It to Get It

Gatorade just launched a handful of videos that feature normal people going into a gas station convenience store, and trying to buy Gatorade.  The clerk then denies them their purchase because they didn’t break a sweat… they have to sweat it to get it.  From there, famous athletes come out and surprise the people.

Why It’s Hot

The videos have cumulatively gained hundreds of thousands of views, and hundreds of comments in a matter of four days.  Whether people think the idea of trying to attract a smaller audience- athletes- is smart, people are talking about it.  Any PR is good PR, right?

Nike Highlighting the Pros and Cons of Technology in Sports

Gallery

This summer Nike launched the Risk Everything campaign as well as The Phenomenal Shot (with Google). The two campaigns are extremely interesting because they juxtapose the usage of technology in sports. The Risk Everything commercial “The Last Game” shows a … Continue reading

The NBA’s Instagram Team Scores Without Sneakers Pro basketball continues to slam dunk social video

The National Basketball Association has held a Dr. J-like grip on the No. 1 ranking in the weekly Adweek/Shareablee Instagram video charts since the pro league’s playoffs got into full stride last month. It would be easy to say the dominance is all about LeBron James—his fans and haters who seemingly cannot get enough of the best player in the world.

But the NBA’s social media staffers deserve a lot more credit than that, routinely finding creative ways to post 15-second clips that generate huge engagement. For instance, one week, it was a series of stills that showed the trendy/preppy duds being worn by James, Kevin Durant, Paul Pierce, Russell Westbrook, etc., as they strutted their stuff before and after their playoff games. No highlight reels needed.

Most recently, the NBA won Instagram with a social video showing the Miami Heat’s Mike Miller running the court and nailing a three-point shot in a Finals game versus the San Antonio Spurs. The catch: The basketball journeyman was only wearing one shoe—and the #FlashBack clip was from last year’s Finals against the Spurs. In terms of repurposing creative, that’s a slam dunk.

Why it’s hot:

Interesting way to generate content around the event.  Sometimes unusual and unknown activities around an event (pre/post) provides the audience with a moment of “discovery” to fuel their immersive experience.

 

 

How The North Face uses voice search to drive mcommerce sales

Outdoor gear and apparel retailer The North Face continues to see strong results from its use of natural language and voice-enabled search, helping its sites across mobile and desktop in several European counties to deliver a 35 percent increase in search conversion rate and 24 percent increase in revenue from search.

EasyAsk has been deployed across 11 sites in nine countries, including Britain, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, France, Italy, Spain and Austria. As a result, visitors to these sites can use specific terms for what they are looking for in their local language as opposed to using traditional keyword search.

 

north-face-big-opt

Read more here.

Why It’s Hot

Voice-enabled on-site search makes sense on mobile because users are familiar with speaking into their smartphones. The problem is still accuracy–I keep getting “pizza places” recommendations from Siri, whenever I search for Dry Cleaners…

For on-the-go users who may be trying to find something quickly, natural language search means they can quickly and easily find what they are looking for without having to use a general keyword and then have to scroll through a lot of unrelated results.–I get it for public restrooms: bit how urgent is your need for a new “warm winter jacket”?