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5 Reasons why brands need great Action Sports content.

It was recently announced that surfing and skateboarding are likely to be Olympic events in the 2020 Games in Tokyo, after organisers recommended five extra sports for inclusion.

Reaction to this decision has focused mainly on the IOC’s intention to attract a younger, “cooler” audience – no doubt to attract a wider net of potentially lucrative sponsors.

“In skateboarding, surfing and sport climbing, the IOC gets a three-way edgy bang — urban sports, beach scene, hard-core gym rat with heavy outdoor vibe — in its reach-out to the demographic, teens and 20-somethings, with whom it is assiduously trying to connect.” Source: WireSports Many global brands have aligned themselves with action sports over the years. Think Chanel and surfing, Lexus and skateboarding, Unilever and snowboarding, to name but a few.

But aside from the obvious – to be associated with the hip, young, vibrant cultures and lifestyles these sports involve – what’s the benefit for brands of creating advertising and content containing these sports, and why should brands seek out an action sport strategy in future?

To understand this, Factory Media commissioned some analysis, focusing in on the consumer response to action sport advertising.

The study, conducted by social media research consultancy The Insights Distillery, explored the engagement and sentiment consumers have with action sports campaigns, compared to non-action sports campaigns.

It’s no secret that both RedBull and GoPro are killing it on YouTube with their action sport content (new kid on the block, GoPro, has topped YouTube’s brand channel rankings 5 months out of 9 so far this year) but we wanted to know whether any type of brand – from makeup to cars – could benefit from injecting action sports into their creative.

The Insight Distillery’s analysis of advertising campaigns on YouTube uncovered that there is a statistically significant uplift in positive sentiment amongst comments on YouTube, for ads containing action sports, compared to non-action-sports campaigns. But why might this be? Further qualitative analysis of video comments suggested the following 5 reasons why consumers love action sport advertising:

1. The content is inspirational and features skill levels & activities that are generically “impressive”

Action sports advertisements can inspire, not just in terms of making people want to take part in the sport. Filming locations, techniques and the scale of skills on show frequently drive people to claim a physical response in addition to an emotional one.

This video makes me so happy. Right after watching that guy on the snowboard I caught myself with the biggest smile and goosebumps. This is the only commercial I would pay to watch. It makes me think of my kids.

What an awesome video! I was captivated and my heart is beating, so fast. It’s like, I was actually there. Wowzers!

BEAUTIFUL!!!! Again this is how people need to do commercials….I don’t know who came up with the idea that you need glam and fame to make someone want to buy your product….Showing the strength of the human spirit as far as I’m concerned is a far more effective way to get people interested in something than showing some celeb who could buy the company enjoying the product…

2. Stunning imagery and executional merit:

Location and action shots allow film makers the chance to innovate and work with a greater variety of styles and techniques. Consumers appreciate these and are quick to complement.

Amazing!! Anybody knows what type of drone they use to film this stunt??

Wow, this is so cool! Even though there’s magnets in the park to make it work, it’s still freaking working and hovering and it’s a step closer to REAL HOVERBOARDS

3. The celebrities or participants tend to elicit respect and empathy:

Action sports icons are seen as inspirational, driven to the top of their sport by a combination of courage, drive and talent. These are highly prized values, which celebrities from the worlds of entertainment rarely embody.

Such a sick advertisement, Skateboarding has come a long way for all the big Nike Stars to be included in this vid. cant see any skater more deserving then Eric Koston

Love Amy [Purdy] ! So inspirational and motivational!

4. They inspire viewers to action

We saw some examples of consumers saying they wanted to own the advertised product, but a more visible theme was that action sports inspire people to want to do more, to be active and try new things.

OMG what a great video!! I’m so excited to practice all these activities.

5. Done well, they don’t feel like advertisements

The skills and locations on show make for dramatic filmmaking, creating brand content that moves beyond the more traditional (and less appreciated) push model of “traditional” advertising.

Those views of walking on the mountains and cliffs are awesome! +GoPro completely changed the video/film industry.

Kudos to Jeep for making a commercial that is well done, not obnoxious, has good music, and displays their product in a good way. I wish more companies would do commercials like this. I don’t own a Jeep, but this is well done.

One of the most beautiful ads i’ve ever seen , and it feels like they are thanking us , the customers.

The suggestion here is that sport in general, and action sports in particular, can help brands to convey their message to consumers, through a prism of athleticism, endeavour and authenticity. It’s important to make it clear that what we’re not saying is “add sport to an ad creative and it will work harder”; a bad ad is a bad ad. Ultimately it’s about content and context, but the positive traits of sporting pursuits are welcomed by the consumer, and will assist in creating a compelling brand message.

The final decision on whether the new sports will be added to the 2020 Games won’t be announced until next summer. In the meantime, there is an opportunity for brands to take a small leap of faith and tap into some of the most vibrant and exciting sports ever seen and showcase some of the greatest athletic feats the world currently has on offer.

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