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FMCG Sports Marketing Marketing

How Fonterra chose a provocative theme during the Asian Games and won


By Charlotte McEleny, Asia Editor

November 27, 2018 | 4 min read

Making a mark during a major sporting event can be a case of ‘who pays, wins’ but Fonterra brand Anlene didn’t have sponsorship during the Asian Games this year. Without the ability to connect with the game itself or its athletes, it decided to connect with people around the topic of heroes at home and athleticism.

Without the use of any sporting connection, it decided to be provocative by asking, ‘who is an athlete?’ and created a new type of competition between a homemaker and Olympic badminton champion Liliyana Natsir.

The campaign, created by FCB Jakarta, started by asking social media followers the question, ‘what makes an athlete?’ and following up with a TVC and online video that introduced the idea that a homemaker can be just as much of an athlete. The social media activity culminated in a Facebook Live challenge between the two trying to do each other’s ‘sports’ as a competition.

Making the decision to launch on a provocation did worry the brand to a point, says Rochana Wijeyaratne, marketing manager at Fonterra Brands Indonesia. He told The Drum, “Especially during a major athletic event such as the Asian games, all eyes are usually focussed on celebrating and encouraging athletes. However, while this was also a part of our campaign, a bigger objective was to celebrate everyday Indonesians for being ‘athletes’ in their own right. It was a very important balance that was needed to be achieved which I think the campaign did very well.”

The agency too felt the challenge of provoking but said that working with a client as a partner helped sooth fear. Executive creative director at FCB Jakarta, Ravi Shanker, said, “Since it was a provocative and sensitive idea, there was a fear of backfiring. But when your partner in crime ‘the client’ and the whole agency are with you – fear can turn into a strength.”

Later on in the campaign, the agency chose to add more focus onto the ‘everyday people’ and worked with photographer Peksi Cahyo to capture common people with an athletic spirit. On Indonesia National Sports Day, it showcased those pictures in an exhibition.

“The film shoot in which we asked Olympic gold medalist Liliyana Natsir for retakes to capture her signature jumping badminton shot was another awkward challenge. Once I thought she would target my face. But she was a gem of a person and highly collaborative. The best part was that she was totally convinced with the idea. The capturing images of ordinary people with an athletic spirit all over the city were a big problem. But our team and the photographer stalked random people like private detectives and made it happen.

He also said that the Facebook Live element added a challenge, “The massive challenge was to execute the challenge (via Facebook Live) between Liliyana and housewives where they have to switch their roles. Since it was live and the actions/activities had to be coordinated between both parties without retakes, we prayed a lot that day. But our team and the production team planned it well and it came out well.”

In terms of results, pitching the two different types of athletes against each other ultimately helped drive incremental sales up by 17% online and 35% offline, according to FCB.

For Wijeyaratne, a surprise result was content sent in by people on Facebook. “The most interesting thing was to receive user-generated content, which we didn’t ask for. When viewers start engaging with a campaign of their own, you know the campaign is working and the brand is getting closer to them,” he said.

Trying to cut into the space of official sponsors of sports events is a tough task but being provocative and tying the heights of athleticism to everyday challenges helped Anlene gain attention and sales.

FMCG Sports Marketing Marketing

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Foote, Cone & Belding, a.k.a. FCB, is one of the largest global advertising agency networks. It is owned by Interpublic Group and was merged in 2006 with Draft...

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