It’s not just the worrying litany of injuries among the Welsh squad that is starting to impinge upon my enjoyment of the Rugby World Cup. The advertising that surrounds all coverage of the tournament is also beginning to grate.
Predictably the usual array of multinational corporate sponsors is officially associating themselves with the event – DHL, Emirates, Societe Generale and Heineken (whose biggest contribution has been to deny fans the opportunity to drink anything else at the venues).
The rest of the largely motley bunch – despite some valiant attempts at humour – seem to be hoping that some magic dust will automatically attach itself to them simply by creating a piece of advertising that’s vaguely rugby-related.
It’s not good enough – particularly for a sport like rugby that elicits such strong emotions among fans. Rugby is about passion and pride and not just obvious corporate messages from institutions that draw tired and convoluted parallels between banking or insurance and team playing. Fans want more – they want to know about their team and their players and not just some laboured and clumsy advertising message.
From a data point of view, there are no brands out there giving me what I want. This is a missed opportunity – rugby fans want messages that are relevant and personalised to them.
With the technology that we now have why aren’t I experiencing my own personal World Cup? Surely an event that engenders such powerful emotions is the perfect place to get a personalised experience with content that I want.
While Sky’s Adsmart system, which provides relevant advertising that can be personalised (to a degree), provides some succour to the TV viewer it’s not enough. Increased viewing on online platforms presents an opportunity – and not a threat as those supporters of ad blocker technology claim. But it’s up to us to make the banner ads more relevant and useful and I think that events such as the Rugby World Cup are the ideal opportunity for the industry to do so.
If advertisers would change their banner ads to something that actually provided relevant content to those who see them then the need for ad blockers would become obsolete and the advertisers would see a corresponding rise in engagement levels. Moreover people are more likely to exchange their data with brands if they are giving or enhancing an experience of something that they truly love.
It shouldn’t take a huge leap of faith to manage this for either advertisers or agencies. It’s the teams on the pitch (and online) that provide the calon.