Vivo reveals global ambitions to become top smartphone brand after securing World Cup sponsorship

Vivo is harnessing the 'global passion for football' and the Fifa World Cup to grow the brand as it seeks to become one of the top smartphone players globally.

Vivo inked a six-year sponsorship deal with Fifa last year, which will see the Chinese smartphone brand sponsor the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, as well as the Confederations Cup.

Michael Chang, brand director, International business at Vivo tells The Drum, the aim is to promote the brand to “young people globally, and empower them to capture and share beautiful moments brought about by Vivo and the Fifa World Cup”.

“As a sport, football has the power to bring people together, and create lasting memories for everyone. It also is one of the most popular sports in the world enjoyed by a diverse audience,” says Chang.

“The Fifa World Cup is one of the biggest sporting events globally and brings together both football fans and non-football fans from all across the world. Sponsorship of the Fifa World Cup makes sense for us as it will help us reach our target audience of passionate young people around the world, raising brand awareness and aid our progressive expansion across the international market.

“The sponsorship will help thrust Vivo into the international spotlight, raising brand awareness and show the world how our products can empower lifestyles by being trendsetting, innovative and creative,” says Chang.

To leverage this sponsorship, Vivo has launched a global advertising campaign, “My Time, My Fifa World Cup”, which was created by BBDO South China. The campaign features a range of initiatives which aim to enable fan engagement with the brand through exclusive events and opportunities around the World Cup.

“The campaign will focus on bringing fans opportunities to create and share their memories of the Fifa World Cup through photos, videos and music, made possible through initiatives such as Vivo Super Fan Photographer, Vivo Super Time and Vivo Super DJ and powered by our innovative technologies.”

The move is part of Vivo’s strategy to grow its footprint globally as it competes with other Chinese smartphone brands such as Huawei, Oppo and Xiaomi, all of which also harbour global ambitions, as well as the likes of Samsung and Apple.

“We are confident about the future and believe that we are on the right trajectory in sustaining our position as one of the top smartphone players internationally,” says Chang.

Vivo has grown steadily across the APAC region since launching its international expansion in 2014. The brand initially targeted markets in Southeast Asia and India, before sighting its sights further abroad. It now has retail stores in 373 cities and more than 200 million users.

Chang says the brand is currently focused on Russia, Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong, all markets where the brand has recently launched and is looking to “accelerate growth”.

“As a global brand, we think global and act local. We are actively investing in offline retails stores as a touch-point to provide customers with a first-hand experience with Vivo smartphones.

“Vivo aims to continue its growth trajectory and international expansion by providing stylish and innovative products to more consumers worldwide. The duration of this sponsorship with Fifa aligns very well with the long-term business strategy for Vivo.

The World Cup fits within Vivo’s ongoing strategy to align the brand with sports through sponsorships, which has been put to great effect in India, where Vivo sponsors the Indian Premier League (IPL).

“Our sponsorships with major sporting events and leagues has contributed to our growth in China and has aided with our global expansion. We will continue to use this platform to bridge technology and sport and spur innovation and creativity.

“Football as a key global passion point is just one of many routes for Vivo to communicate with our consumers. Vivo has been sponsoring several top sporting leagues and events for many years and has a successful track record to show for it.”

Chang continues, “As a brand, we aim to empower consumer lifestyles by introducing innovative technologies and setting the trend. ‘Camera and Music’ is a huge part of Vivo’s brand DNA as we focus on creating products with the perfect sound quality and ultimate photography experience. These are also two key ways by which we can empower lifestyles as people can fully experience, capture and share extraordinary moments in their lives through our smartphones.

This emphasis on the phones camera and music features is evident in the brand’s World Cup activations the Vivo Super Fan Photographers program will give fans a smartphone and access to exclusive events such as pre-match player warmups to capture and create content, while the Vivo Super Time and Super DJ projects will provide entertainment at all match events. Chang says the aim is to provide opportunities for the brand to create deeper connections with consumers.

“The Fifa World Cup has tremendous influence and worldwide coverage. It is the biggest platform for football at a world stage and brings together both football fans and non-football fans from all across the world. Sponsorship of the Fifa World Cup is a clear signal of Vivo’s progressive expansion into the international marketplace.

“With the opportunity for special marketing activations, we hope to build deeper association with the global footballing spirit, by showing consumers all over the world Vivo’s creative, innovative and trendsetting brand image. The sponsorship will leverage Fifa’s position as a truly global organisation. Vivo will utilise this platform to engage global audiences,” says Chang.

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