How to activate brand experiences at sporting events

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Sporting events take fans on a rollercoaster of emotion. As an experiential agency, our challenge is to tap into and harness those emotions, in a way that gives brands the opportunity to win their long-term loyalty.

At Drive, we always start from the premise that audiences are there for the main event – whether that’s a football match, The Olympics or Wimbledon. So, the brand experience has to enhance the main event, without stealing the show.

When we created the World’s Longest Bar for Budweiser, the challenge was to engage journalists to talk about the brand’s association with the European athletics.

Budweiser got track and field athlete Mark Anthony Lewis – Francis on board. He set the bench mark time down our 100m bar and journalists were then challenged to see how far down the 100m bar they could sprint in his time. Each journalist received personalised bottles placed on the bar as a distance marker for how far they’d run within the time the athletics star ran the distance. It was a one-day activation that was a proper, physical experience.

 How Virtual Reality creates the money-can’t-buy ticket

With VR, you have the opportunity to offer access to experiences that people can’t attend. It’s that money can’t buy ticket. By building a virtual reality version of the event, you place a potential audience of millions (or a select CIP few) right at the centre of the experience, so they feel like they can be there and the brand is positioned as the enabler.

To achieve this, we either shoot a 360 film or build it as a (CGI) model. Both routes enable brands to curate their own environment and guide the customer experience.

Immersive, sporting experiences

From a brand point of view, sporting events offer a great opportunity to build an affiliation with that sport or that tribe of people who follow it.

The day after the 2015 Rugby World Cup last year, the creative team at Drive was responsible for the stage design and content for the World Rugby Awards.

 We opened the ceremony with a two-minute projection mapping installation that included 2D and 3D animations with a choreographed lighting show. We also projected key rugby moments from 2015 onto a 3 dimensional set. It was a superb evening, which ticked all the boxes for an immersive, sporting experience.

Whatever we create at Drive, it’s all about paying attention to every single detail: the soundscape, the smells, the brand ambassadors, the lighting and even taste and touch – all those points have to come into play. In the end, every detail matters. And that’s what makes a truly great experience.

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