Sport Industry Column

Carling Cup success for SAB

2011-09-07 08:25
Rob Fleming
Rob Fleming

For the vast majority of South African soccer fans, nothing captures the passion, pageantry and drama of the beautiful game than the Kaizer Chiefs/Orlando Pirates rivalry. Yet it is not just the fans who savour the showpiece. As a prospect for sponsors, the spectacle is peerless.

Indeed, it was the quest for this prize that brought SAB, through its Carling Black Label brand, and Dr Irvin Khoza to discussions in late 2010. And when the pre-season friendly between the two soccer giants was proposed by the latter, the scene was set for one of the most captivating sponsorship properties.

Yet to stop merely at naming and branding rights would have done an injustice to the fledgling opportunity. What was needed was a powerful insight to ignite the property and provide an engaging, unforgettable experience for the fans. Returning to a sporting activation study commissioned 18 months ago, we were inspired by an imaginative concept that understood many fans’ frustrations when their cries from the stands, taverns or couches fell on deaf ears. Building on that concept, our campaign sought to address this by ceding more control to the fans and empowering them to influence both team selection and substitution.

Similarly inspired when the idea was presented, both Kaizer Motaung and Dr Irvin Khoza embraced it enthusiastically and the “Be the Coach” campaign was born. Although confident that we had developed a powerful idea, effective implementation of it was key to the campaign’s success.  

Importantly we needed to establish a platform that would enable fan participation. A solution from mobile specialists Brandtone would offer soccer fans the means to vote for their favourite player, at no cost to themselves. In addition the mechanism provided Carling Black Label with a means of gathering vital fan data, which in time will prove invaluable in both informing marketing decisions and driving direct marketing.

The campaign came to life in four content-rich phases.  The launch at Monte Casino unveiled the ground breaking idea, reminding fans that their long-standing desire to have their say in selection and substitution had finally been heard and acted upon by Carling Black Label.  While a through-the-line call to action rallied beer drinkers to buy Carling Black Label as a means to player selection, further communication educated fans on how the substitution mechanic would work on game day.

Underpinning the campaign, a CSI initiative will feature the 18 teams promoted from the SAB Regional League to the Vodacom League.  In it, the head and assistant coaches from each of those teams will attend a workshop led by Bafana Bafana Coach Pitso Mosimane and SAFA Technical Director Serame Letsoaka.  Over and above this, Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates elected to split the R2 million prize money, a portion of which went to a winning fan from each team, as well as to that fan’s nominated charity.

This detailed activation culminated in excess of 11 million selection votes and an 80 000 strong outpouring of fan-fuelled passion at Soccer City – a sponsorship activation which was unprecedented in South African sport and one that we at SAB are extremely proud of.

* The Business of Sport Column is produced in partnership with the Virgin Active Sport Industry Awards 2012. Now in their second year, the Awards have officially opened for entries; an annual opportunity for the rapidly evolving South African sports market to be recognised for its work. Click HERE for more details...or follow us on Twitter: @SportindustrySA

Rob Fleming is Head of Sponsorship: SAB Ltd


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