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Nissan creates digital playbook to amplify Champions League sponsorship

Nissan is favouring tried and tested marketing over less experimental activations for future Champions League matches after collating what resembles a tried and tested playbook during its first season as a global sponsor.

The carmaker is poised to unleash its biggest wave of ads around football’s premier club competition this week, marking the peak of what has been a slow build since last September.

Nissan’s exclusive rights to the tournament’s goals of the week and the away team training in the hosts’ stadium will now take centre stage as it looks to create far longer-lasting buzz around the final matches of the competition.

The most memorable goals between the second legs of the quarterfinals this week and the final next month sit at the hub of the strategy. Fans can vote and view the top goals up to seven days after they’ve happened in an activation aimed at extending the chatter around matches and ultimately Nissan’s involvement.

It is a similar tactic employed for content on the away team’s training whereby the car marque tries to be more progressive with its rights and not just limited to the usual physical and online promotions. The videos, like the goal highlights, are positioned around “innovation that excites”, a theme Nissan developed to give its own technological prowess credibility when aligned against the creativity of Europe’s elite players

While awareness not sales is the focus of the car’s sponsorship strategy, Nissan’s two exclusive packages are primed to boost its exposure beyond the two matches during every game week.

Gareth Dunsmore, general manager of marketing communications at Nissan, said the decision to try and maximum the “window of engagement” around matches stems from a need to bring clarity to the brand in Europe. Behind the scenes the car marque is trying to bring consistency to its marketing in a bid to accelerate efforts to become the number one Asian manufacturer in Europe by 2016.

“[The Champions League] is the biggest sponsorship Nissan has taken on and it's been a very exciting experience,” added Dunsmore.

“We do a lot of work comparing ourselves versus the other brands in the [tournament] but also our other automotive competition. We want to continue to lead that area and we’re putting the learnings from this year to ensure that next [season] is an evolution. It’s absolutely key that we deliver that consistently over the four year cycle.”

The learnings suggest a more honed sponsorship plan from Nissan next year, which will continue to leverage both goal of week and the away team training content online in its bid to drive value from the competition. Fellow UEFA sponsor Heineken is on a similar path, albeit one that is more focused on reaching non-core football fans more likely to be interested in the glitz and glamour around the high-profile matches.

Nissan’s sponsorship push is part of wider efforts to lift its premier credentials worldwide, which has seen it sharpen its focus around specific models in various markets.

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