Digital Media Cafe Blog – Featuring Formula One, Brazil 2014 & McDonalds – David Granger

July 9, 2014

Hello and welcome to this week’s Digital Media Café. This week we take a look at how social media may force sponsors to re-think the value of their investment, why an F1 team is turning its back on the sport’s elitist and how chips are helping us re-live the best moments of the World Cup. Yes, really.

We begin though by thoughtfully pointing you in the direction of a blog on the UK Sports Network. The post, Is Sponsorship being devalued by Social Media? Is the work of Tom Kelk, the senior social executive at Pitch. We’ve questioned this one before – how unofficial sponsors are losing out to the clever guerilla social marketing. But Kelk takes this one stage further citing the Unruly Media study in which just four of the top 11 most viewed brand ads about the World Cup were from official sponsors. Worryingly for official supporters Continental Tyres and Sony are not even on the list. The change in the digital and consequentially the social landscape means everyone can get in on the act, there is no ‘exclusivity’ of association for rights-holders and despite the best efforts of FIFA, FOM and the IOC brands no longer need an official stamp of approval to grab the public’s attention. Indeed, freed from the restraints rights-holders can put on their official partners, it may be that it makes better financial and marketing sense for to steer clear of that official tag.

McDonald’s re-enacts World Cup highlights – using French Fries

Now The Guardian newspaper in the UK has used Lego before, Scalextric has been used to recreate some of the best F1 circuits on the calendar, but – as far as we know and we’d love to be proved wrong – MacDonald’s has for the first time decided to use food to recreate great sporting moments. Yep, they’ve decided to paint eyes on fries and make them play football. Two interesting things to note on this one. Firstly they’ve managed to create a wordless campaign, giving it global appeal and secondly the campaign was done in conjunction with Facebook’s creative department – yep, they’ve gone to the top for this one. There’s also of course about serving an Unhappy Meal for Luis Suarez. But we’re far too serious to go there.


Formula One

Formula One is a sport which divides opinion like few others. Some admire the technological arms race, the pomp and ceremony and exclusivity of the Paddock and the drivers who risk life and limb to achieve fame and glory. Others think it’s a load of people who live in a bubble, joined a circus to spend too much money watching cars go round and round and round… which makes the latest Force India and Smirnoff campaign all the more confusing. The hashtag-lead campaign aims to shun the elitism and exclusivity in F1 and show the fun side of racing. To this end they have an American comedian and a British actress making YouTube clips celebrating and documenting races in a funny way. There’s a danger though that this all becomes self-parody – and F1 teams for years have been trying to get fans closer to the action without ever actually giving them Paddock passes and a meal in their motorhome. We’re wondering if this means the Force India yacht party next year will be a first-come first-served basis to extend this shunning of exclusivity.


And finally a small piece of homework. Next week we’re going to take a look in depth at one organization which is trying to not only socially interact with sports fans, but build a whole new network on which to do it. So, before next Wednesday, why not take a trip to and see what they’re doing to create sporting social communities and let us know what you think via the blog. We’ll have an in depth look at what they’re doing in next week’s Digital Café.

Having spent eight seasons in Formula One managing the digital channels for world champions Red Bull Racing, David Granger now runs Fact 51, a social and digital content agency.
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