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Nissan sticks to Champs League

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Nissan has confirmed a three-year extension to its global partnership with the UEFA Champions League, including the UEFA Super Cup.

Legendary footballer Gareth Bale celebrated the announcement by surprising a group of schoolchildren in Spain and teaching them how to recreate his iconic winning goal from the 2014 final against Club Atlético de Madrid.

The agreement comes ahead of the first game of the 2017/2018 UEFA Champions League season and will see the Japanese manufacturer stay as an official partner up to and including the 2020/2021 season. The UEFA Champions League continues to be Nissan’s largest investment in sports sponsorship, which began at the start of the 2014/2015 season.

The UEFA Champions League continues to be the most watched annual sporting competition on the planet, with a cumulative television audience of more than 4-billion a season. The 2017 UEFA Champions League Final attracted a global audience of more than 160-million, more than any other annual sporting event, and it saw Real Madrid C.F. beat Juventus F.C. to record their 12th UEFA Champions League title.

“Innovation that excites is at the core of everything Nissan does and our partnership with the most exciting sports tournament on the planet over the last three years has been key to that,” said Roel de Vries, corporate vice president, global head of marketing for Nissan. “We’re delighted to be extending this partnership for another three seasons, and it will continue to be at the very heart of our global marketing strategy. We’ve seen huge success from the partnership and the additional engagement it has allowed us to have with consumers.”

“Football is the perfect arena to show Nissan’s commitment to performance, not just globally, but here in South Africa too. We’re a sports crazy nation and South Africans are very passionate about football. The UEFA partnership extension will certainly give us the opportunity to speak to fans of the sport and to communicate how intelligent our vehicles are,” said Kabelo Rabotho, Director: Marketing for Nissan South Africa.

Locally, Nissan SA has respected cricketing heroes, Shaun Pollock and Kagiso Rabada, as brand ambassadors, who form part of Nissan’s global partnership with ICC World Cricket. Nissan SA also partnered with Kaya FM for “Kagiso’s Coaching Clinic”, which will see one lucky school in the country benefiting from a coaching session with Rabada.

As part of the new UEFA deal, Nissan will continue to have extensive rights at UEFA Champions League matches as well as access to other exclusive rights, such as the pre-match Center Circle Carriers and post-match UEFA Champions League Goal of the Week, presented by Nissan digital activation.

Commenting on the agreement, Guy-Laurent Epstein, UEFA Events SA Marketing Director, said: “We are delighted to continue our partnership with Nissan after a very successful first cycle. They have become an integral member of the sponsor family and have been invaluable for the promotion of the competition on a global level. The UEFA Champions League brand appeal is growing from strength to strength every single year and its platform continues to provide top brands like Nissan the opportunity to connect and engage with football fans around the globe.”

“Our partnership with the UEFA Champions League has been instrumental in our mission to become the most desirable Asian brand in Europe,” said Jean-Pierre Diernaz, vice president, marketing, Nissan Europe. “In the coming years, we have an ambitious product plan supported with breakthrough technologies, having the world’s most exciting sporting event as a partner is giving us the perfect platform to emotionally engage with our audience and drive brand preference. I am excited to see how innovative we will be together with UEFA in creating excitement for the fans.”

The UEFA Champions League is another example of Nissan’s dedication to inspiring sports fans, which also includes the International Cricket Council, the City Football Group, the Canadian Football League, the Heisman Trust and the Heisman Trophy.

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Low-cost wireless sport earphones get a kickstart

Wireless earphone brands are common, but not crowdfunded brands. BRYAN TURNER takes the K Sport Wireless for a run.

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As wireless technology becomes better, Bluetooth earphones have become popular in the consumer market. KuaiFit aspires to make them even more accessible to more people through a cheaper, quality product, by selling the K Sport Wireless Earphones directly from its Kickstarter page

KuaiFit has an app by the same name which offers voice-guided personal training services in almost every type of exercise, from cardio to weight-lifting. A vast range of connectivity to third-party sensors is available, like heart rate sensors and GPS devices, which work well with guided coaching. 

The app starts off with selecting a fitness level: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Thereafter, one has the ability to connect with real personal trainers via a subscription to its paid service. The subscription comes free for 6 months with the earphones, and R30 per month thereafter. 

The box includes a manual, a USB to two USB Type B connectors, different sized soft plastic eartips and the two earphone units. Each earphone is wireless and connects to the other independently of wires. This puts the K Sport Wireless in the realm of the Apple Earpods in terms of connection style. 

The earphones are just over 2cm wide and 2cm high. The set is black with a light blue KuaiFit logo on the earphone’s button. 

The button functions as an on/off switch when long-pressed and a play/pause button when quick-pressed. The dual-button set-up is convenient in everyday use, allowing for playback control depending on which hand is free. Two connectivity modes are available, single earphone mode or dual earphone mode. The dual earphone mode intelligently connects the second earphone and syncs stereo audio a few seconds after powering on. 

In terms of connectivity, the earphones are Bluetooth 4.1 with a massive 10-meter range, provided there are no obstacles between the device and the earphones. While it’s not Bluetooth 5, it still falls into the Bluetooth Low Energy connection category, meaning that the smartphone’s battery won’t be drastically affected by a consistent connection to the earphones. The batteries within the earphones aren’t specifically listed but last anywhere between 3 and 6 hours, depending on the mode. 

Audio quality is surprisingly good for earphones at this price point. The headset style is restricted to in-ear due to its small design and probable usage in movement-intensive activities. As a result, one has to be very careful how one puts these earphones, in because bass has the potential of getting reduced from an incorrect in-ear placement. In-ear earphones are usually notorious for ear discomfort and suction pain after extended usage. These earphones are one of the very few in this price range that are comfortable and don’t cause discomfort. The good quality of the soft plastic ear tip is definitely a factor in the high level of comfort of the in-ear earphone experience.

Overall, the K Sport Wireless earphones are great considering the sound quality and the low price: US$30 on Kickstarter.

Find them on Kickstarter here.

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Taxify enters Google Maps

A recent update to Taxify now uses Google Maps which allows users to identify their drivers, find public transport and search for billing options.

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People planning their travel routes using Google Maps will now see a Taxify icon in the app, in addition to the familiar car, public transport, walking and billing options.

Taxify started operating in South Africa in 2016 and as of October 2018 operates in seven South African cities – Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Polokwane.

Once riders have searched for their destination and asked the app for directions, Google Maps shares the proximity of cars on the Taxify platform, as well as an estimated fare for the trip.

If users see that taking the Taxify option is their best bet, they can simply tap on the ‘Open app’ icon, to complete the process of booking the ride. Customers without the app on their device will be prompted to install Taxify first.

This integration makes it possible for users to evaluate which of the private, public or e-hailing modes of transport are most time-efficient and cost-effective.

“This integration with Google Maps makes it so much easier for users to choose the best way to move around their city,” says Gareth Taylor, Taxify’s country manager for South Africa. “They’ll have quick comparisons between estimated arrival times for the different modes of transport, as well as fares they can expect to pay, which will help save both time and money,” he added.

Taxify rides in Google Maps are rolling out globally today and will be available in more than 15 countries, with South Africa being one of the first countries to benefit from this convenient service.

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