A global initiative to give young boys a chance to be coached at Chelsea Football Club showed how sponsorship can go beyond return on investment, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.
On the neon signs that flash day and night above Picadilly Circus in London, tourists have become accustomed to two brands that have dominated the iconic advertising space for this entire century so far: Coca-Cola and Samsung. This year, the Korean ‚”newcomers‚” for the first time overtook the American beverage maker as the world’s biggest advertiser.
One would think, then, that the electronics giant’s tactics are all about making a bigger and bigger impact, dominating high-profile spaces like Piccadilly Circus and Times Square.
But this week, at a training ground just outside London, Samsung was making a different kind of impact: on the lives of a small group of children from around the world.
It was the culmination of the Dream the Blues campaign, launched in January this year across seven countries by Samsung Electronics and the Chelsea Youth Academy. 1400 children took part in initial youth training camps, from which the two most passionate from each country were chosen to fly to London and spend a week being trained by Chelsea’s own youth coaches.
The children, from Mexico, Brazil, South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, China and Thailand, spent much of each day being coached and melded into a team at the club’s Cobham Training Centre, culminating in a match against a local team.
Yesterday, they got to watch the Blues in action against Everton, in their final league match of the season. But that experience almost paled against another event last week: a personal training session on Friday with four players appointed ‚”Chelsea Ambassadors‚”: Fernando Torres, Juan Mata, Oscar and Victor Moses. For two young South African players, 12-year-old Goitsemang Lengene and 10-year-old Mvelo Mvuleni from South Africa, it was more than a dream come true. It was an impossible dream unfolding before their eyes.
The Cobham Training Centre is a high security venue, with access by invitation only. Even those granted access are prohibited from taking photos or even asking players for autographs. That restriction didn’t apply to the young trainees: they had full access to the four stars.
The timing of the training camp could not have been better. When it started last Wednesday morning, Chelsea had yet to win a trophy this season. That night, Torres scored the crucial opening goal in the team’s Europa Cup Final 2-1 triumph over Benfica.
The next evening, Mata was named Chelsea Player of the Year for the second year in a row, as well as Player’s Player of the Year. Completing a hat-trick for the Ambassadors, Oscar took the prize for Chelsea’s Goal of the Season, scored against Juventus. Then, at the Everton match, Mata opened the scoring and Torres scored the winning goal.
If it had been a movie, no one would have believed those plot twists. But, as a motivational script, it could not have been better written.
‚”Samsung believes in supporting and motivating the youth of South Africa to discover and expand possibilities and opportunities to benefit themselves,‚” says Michelle Potgieter, head of Corporate Marketing and Communications at Samsung South Africa. ‚”We are sure that this camp in London will be a meaningful step in doing so, as well as a great opportunity for the participants to get closer to their dreams.‚”
The ‚”Dream the Blues‚” campaign is an expansion of the Samsung-Chelsea FC Youth Football Camp program that the two have been collaborating on since 2007. Originally a grassroots programme initiated by Chelsea in the United Kingdom, it has since brought more than 6000 youth from around the world to Cobham.
Chelsea officially qualified for the European Champions League yesterday, further cementing the value the side brings to the brand that emblazons the front of its players’ shirts. Samsung estimates that, in the 2009/10 season, when Chelsea won the league and FA Cup double, it generated more than $100-million in marketing value.
Will that sell more smartphones, TV sets and other electronics? Consider this: in its first year as Chelsea sponsor, in 2005, Samsung’s sales doubled in Europe over the previous year.
Bringing 14 children to Cobham is hardly going to make anything like that kind of impact. But it shows that the relationship between a sports team and its sponsor does not only have to be about a return on investment.
* Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @art2gee
Millennials turning 40: NOW will you stop targeting them?
It’s one of the most overused terms in youth marketing, and probably the most inaccurate, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK
One of the most irritating buzzwords embraced by marketers in recent years is the term “millennial”. Most are clueless about its true meaning, and use it as a supposedly cool synonym for “young adults”. The flaw in this targeting – and the word “flaw” here is like calling the Grand Canyon a trench – is that it utterly ignores the meaning of the term. “Millennials” are formally defined as anyone born from 1980 to 2000, meaning they have typically come of age after the dawn of the millennium, or during the 21st century.
Think about that for a moment. Next year, the millennial will be formally defined as anyone aged from 20 to 40. So here you have an entire advertising, marketing and public relations industry hanging onto a cool definition, while in effect arguing that 40-year-olds are youths who want the same thing as newly-minted university graduates or job entrants.
When the communications industry discovers just how embarrassing its glib use of the term really is, it will no doubt pivot – millennial-speak for “changing your business model when it proves to be a disaster, but you still appear to be cool” – to the next big thing in generational theory.
That next big thing is currently Generation Z, or people born after the turn of the century. It’s very convenient to lump them all together and claim they have a different set of values and expectations to those who went before. Allegedly, they are engaged in a quest for experience, compared to millennials – the 19-year-olds and 39-olds alike – supposedly all on a quest for relevance.
In reality, all are part of Generation #, latching onto the latest hashtag trend that sweeps social media, desperate to go viral if they are producers of social content, desperate to have caught onto the trend before their peers.
The irony is that marketers’ quest for cutting edge target markets is, in reality, a hangover from the days when there was no such thing as generational theory, and marketing was all about clearly defined target markets. In the era of big data and mass personalization, that idea seems rather quaint.
Indeed, according to Grant Lapping, managing director of DataCore Media, it no longer matters who brands think their target market is.
“The reason for this is simple: with the technology and data digital marketers have access to today, we no longer need to limit our potential target audience to a set of personas or segments derived through customer research. While this type of customer segmentation was – and remains – important for engagements across traditional above-the-line engagements in mass media, digital marketing gives us the tools we need to target customers on a far more granular and personalised level.
“Where customer research gives us an indication of who the audience is, data can tell us exactly what they want and how they may behave.”
Netflix, he points out, is an example of a company that is changing its industry by avoiding audience segmentation, once the holy grail of entertainment.
In other words, it understands that 20-year-olds and 40-year-olds are very different – but so is everyone in between.
* Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram on @art2gee
AI, IoT, and language of bees can save the world
A groundbreaking project is combining artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things to learn the language of bees, and save the planet, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK
It is early afternoon and hundreds of bees are returning to a hive somewhere near Reading in England. They are no different to millions of bees anywhere else in the world, bringing the nectar of flowers back to their queen.
But the hive to which they bring their tribute is no ordinary apiary.
Look closer, and one spots a network of wires leading into the structure. They connect up to a cluster of sensors, and run into a box beneath the hive carrying the logo of a company called Arnia: a name synonymous with hive monitoring systems for the past decade. The Arnia sensors monitor colony acoustics, brood temperature, humidity, hive weight, bee counts and weather conditions around the apiary.
On the back of the hive, a second box is emblazoned with the logo of BuzzBox. It is a solar-powered, Wi-Fi device that transmits audio, temperature, and humidity signals, includes a theft alarm, and acts as a mini weather station.
In combination, the cluster of instruments provides an instant picture of the health of the bee hive. But that is only the beginning.
What we are looking at is a beehive connected to the Internet of Things: connected devices and sensors that collect data from the environment and send it into the cloud, where it can be analysed and used to monitor that environment or help improve biodiversity, which in turn improves crop and food production.
The hives are integrated into the World Bee Project, a global honey bee monitoring initiative. Its mission is to “inform and implement actions to improve pollinator habitats, create more sustainable ecosystems, and improve food security, nutrition and livelihoods by establishing a globally-coordinated monitoring programme for honeybees and eventually for key pollinator groups”.
The World Bee Project is working with database software leader Oracle to transmit massive volume of data collected from its hives into the Oracle Cloud. Here it is combined with numerous other data sources, from weather patterns to pollen counts across the ecosystem in which the bees collect the nectar they turn into honey. Then, artificial intelligence software – with the assistance of human analysts – is used to interpret the behaviour of the hive, and patterns of flight, and from there assess the ecosystem.
Click here to read more about how the Internet of Things is used to interpret the language of bees.