An Olympic-size opportunity? Patronage and metaverse | Advertising

Triumph over adversity. These three words symbolize what we love about the Olympic Games: the compelling stories about the journey world-class competitors take to reach the pinnacle of sporting achievement. These stories, together with the unique advantage of galvanizing countries in the interest of seeing their nation’s flag represented on the podium, triumphant, in the eyes of the world, are the main reasons why the Olympic Games are one of the most popular events in the world. world.

The 2022 iteration of the Games had a slightly different reception. Not attributed in any way to the incredible sporting achievements of the participants, but rather to the political, social and public health concerns and considerations surrounding the event. As a result, several brands have reduced their sponsorship and advertising presence at upcoming games, being very aware of these issues and their perception.

How can brands, who invest significant resources in sponsoring these events, for brand association, impactful consumer engagement and shared equity at the peak of emotional resonance, potentially mitigate extrinsic factors like this- this, in the future? The culture of borderless community engagement mechanisms accelerated by a global pandemic and underpinned by resulting technological and social advancements may be the answer.

Let’s look at the metaverse

The definition of the metaverse and the seemingly endless possibilities that its advent may ultimately provide are still the subject of debate. There have also been many definitions in the collective consciousness but, to paraphrase Matthew Ball, an expert on the subject, I’m not sure there is a singular definition.

It works differently for different use cases and for different needs.

It’s no secret that the past few years have accelerated the rise of several trends, including digital transformation and adoption. While its design aimed to alleviate the lack of direct physical connection, it also unlocked the possibilities that exist from a digital perspective and could very well serve as the elixir for similar important events.

What does this mean for brand sponsorship?

Sponsorship has taken many forms over the years, spanning physical, digital and now even virtual. The spaces, worlds and communities created infinitely expand the opening through which savvy brand messages can reach an avid consumer. The metaverse also has some interesting applications to the stratospheric growth of digital collectibles in the market, serving as a mechanism for showcasing unique creative releases.

From a sponsorship perspective, we’ve just scratched the surface of the type of virtual inventory and brand integration that can occur. In addition to properties capable of replicating locations, as Verizon and Epic Games so effectively did in their Super Bowl LV activation, there are also endless and additional possibilities for world creation and thus mechanisms allowing brands to connect with their audience.

Luxury apparel companies, such as Gucci, have also found success in the metaverse, engaging with Roblox to create a Gucci Garden space, where users could purchase digital merchandise and collectibles. This is a new outlet for creative expression for consumers who are more digitally native, accustomed to interacting with their respective communities in a virtual environment as well as in a physical environment.

Conversely, brands are working on creating their own iterations, to leverage the IP of the federation, league or team/club in new and interesting ways to connect with their target audience. , even outside of a traditional, physical retail environment. The potential for exclusive drops, NFTs or other digital merchandise in a virtual environment is nearly endless.

Although many aspects of live events are not controlled, what we can control is to ensure the use of mechanisms to protect brand investments. Connecting with the community through a shared community experience does not rely solely on the live event, and the use of technology can ensure that at least parts of it will remain uninterrupted. A borderless and ubiquitous commitment with almost limitless creative possibilities: its promise is a reflection of infinite potential, just like the Olympic Games themselves.

It will be increasingly critical for brands to find their place in this precious and fertile territory to ensure the amplification of their partnerships in an environment that is both digital and physical. Perhaps in the end, the definition of the metaverse is moot – its growth and evolution will rely less on semantics, and more on the ability to add and unlock value for fans and consumers. And, as long as brands and properties focus on that, triumphing over unexpected adversity feels a little less impossible and a little more achievable.

Sampson Yimer is Vice President, Sponsorship Consulting, at Momentum Worldwide

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