Big Content: New Era and Soccer Star Rio Ferdinand
Posted by Vince Giorgi on Jul 31, 2012
If you lead marketing for your brand, you might find yourself in discussions and debates — with colleagues, within the C-suite, probably even with yourself — about how far, how deep, how BIG can (or should?) your organization go with its content strategy.
To give you a benchmark against which to measure, Content Is Marketing will occasionally post about what we consider to be new, noteworthy, BIG content marketing programs. Programs you might want to know about, study, maybe even emulate in certain aspects of their strategy or implementation (or maybe not, depending on how smart they seem to you, or how they play out).
Note that Big Content posts (like this one on AT&T’s Daybreak program) are not exhaustive case studies or even formal critiques. They’re mostly intended as a heads up, a “you might want to check this out,” pointing up possible discovery and benchmarking opportunities for you and your team.
With the eyes of the world focused on London and the 2012 Olympic Games, this Big Content post takes a look at a program from London-based New Era Global Sports Management.
Putting Your ”Product” on a Content Podium
But that might change now that I’ve discovered what New Era is doing to provide one of its clients, Man U star Rio Ferdinand, a brand platform and presence that supersedes his sport.
On its About Us web page, New Era states: “We believe that every one of our clients is unique and as such deserves a unique approach from us.” For Ferdinand, that unique approach is a magazine, #5, which New Era touts as ”the world’s first digital lifestyle magazine.”
Visit Ferdinand’s official website and you’ll find #5 magazine at its core. Viewable on PC, iPhone and iPad, the magazine’s value proposition is video-centric and built around three subject areas: music, film and sport, with a pinch of fashion thrown in for good measure.
Ferdinand, 33, plays a world-class center defender for Man U, but his role with the magazine appears to be editor-at-large and roving reporter. Here he is interviewing hip-hopper Drake, getting (and then giving away, presumably to someone in his fan community) an autographed jersey from soccer superstar Pele, and interviewing basketball superstar Lebron James. Here, too, is one of the less-common text-based pieces, an interview with movie actor Micky Rourke.
Soccer Scene, Trace Sports and Netflix own prominent logoed positions as sponsors. A “Competitions” section features several reader-engagement promotions, including sneaker, hat and t-shirt giveaways.
#5 extends its reach (and with it, Ferdinand’s) via a presence on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google+. E-commerce, interestingly, is surprisingly under-developed within the program. Click on the #5 Store tab and the product catalog as of today consisted of…hats (#5 hats, of course, available in five different styles).
A Showcase for World-Class Expertise
While the UK’s more traditional media companies might not have much to worry about from #5, it definitely has the heft and feel of a big content program, one with serious quality standards and ambitious scope.
You could say it positions the brand — in this case, a human brand — for awareness and affinity in ways that go well beyond the competition within the category in which that brand traditionally operates.
At the same time, like all good content marketers, New Era and Ferdinand find ways to shine the spotlight much more on the content than on the brand. This is a superstar leveraging his access and connections to bring us entertaining information and experiences. It’s not (well, mostly not) a superstar bringing us his remarkable life, lifestyle and talents, 24/7.
A prime example, and a highly entertaining one, is this video of soccer phenoms Cristiano Renaldo and Jeremy Lynch engaged in an amazing duel of freestyle soccer tricks.
Note who’s off camera, watching in amazement with the rest of us, for most of the video. It’s #5.
Bringing us content — without presuming to be the content.
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