Bundesliga ‘Imitation Game’: Youku Video Competition Campaign
Updated: Jun 6, 2019
What can sports social media accounts do to better engage with their fans online in China? How can brands really grow a fanbase while recognizing top fans with meaningful rewards? How can we do something BIG?
These questions are at the core of Mailman Sport. With Bundesliga, the second most engaged sports organization online in China, we were eager and motivated to execute a big campaign for the brand and for the fans.
Bundesliga Facts & Figures:
1.4 million followers (7x more than La Liga)
#2 most engaged sports organization (behind only the NBA)
188 avg. engagement per post (likes, fwds, comments)
(Numbers on Sina Weibo)
Although Chinese fans are extremely passionate supporters, motivating meaningful action can be extremely difficult. In order to inspire social media activity that can convert casual fans into brand ambassadors, agencies and brands need to look beyond the simple “@ + forward weibo contests” and the standard UGC photo contests. Such mechanisms, while valuable with regards to the full arsenal of a social content strategy, fail at achieving the main mission of increasing exposure to new fans while deeply engaging and rewarding top fans.
The key challenges for this campaign were to develop a unique mechanism inspired by the brand that resonates with fans, to gain support of major media partners & KOLs, and to engage top fans in a competition for legitimate prizes while exposing the brand to a wider audience.
In order to launch a major social campaign, we partnered with leading media & KOLs that could help us reach read a broader fan base. Equally important, was to provide an incentive that will motivate fan participation and a mechanism that would inspire significant demonstrations of passion (valuable marketing) for the brand.
With the Grand Prize set as an incredible “Trip of a Lifetime” visit to Deutschland to see the German Super Cup, we needed a relatively big “ask” of fans to show their love for the Bundesliga. Supported by a partnership with Youku, China’s top video platform, we challenged fans to create short videos inspired by their favorite Bundesliga moments. We then built a mini-site where fans could upload, share, and comment on their submissions. The best videos were accepted to the final voting stage, where fans would determine 2nd place (match tickets for the Bayern China Tour) and 3rd place (official signed jerseys), while 5 celebrity ambassadors would decide the Grand Prize winners.
2x Top media partners
9x Celebrity ambassadors
2x German football clubs
6x Official supporters’ clubs
5x Promotional videos
The competition was promoted on Bundesliga’s official Weibo, WeChat and Youku channels, with social backing by celebrity ambassadors, football supporter groups, and Youku Sports for a full 6 week campaign period. In order to generate maximum exposure for the campaign, we created promotional videos in partnership with our KOLs, ran mini-contests on a daily basis, and owned an official hashtag page to drive discussion of the #ImitationGame.
With the two grand prize winners selected by our celebrity judges, we were off to Germany to reap the rewards of the campaign with a video documentary of the tour. Bundesliga put forth a fantastic itinerary for the winners as they were treated to 3 guided stadium tours of the Bundesliga clubs Hannover 96, Wolfsburg FC, and Frankfurt FC. As well as attending two matches, a friendly of Frankfurt FC vs. Tokyo FC, and of course the Super Cup featuring league winners Bayern Munich and DFB Cup winners Wolfsburg. Mailman was there to capture the magic of the Bundesliga through the eyes of two of China’s most passionate fans of the league.
The Super Cup turned out to be an incredibly exciting and fast paced game, with Nicklas Bendtner not only tying the game in the 89th minute to force Penalty Kicks, but sealing the victory for Wolfsburg by drilling home the final goal. For our grand prize winners, it was an experience of a lifetime, unless of course you are a Bayern Fan!
For the Bundesliga, the campaign turned out to be a thrilling success. By partnering with major media and leading KOLs, we simultaneously maximize Bundesliga exposure to fans of football & popular culture while inspiring social action of top followers. By enabling these brand ambassadors to share memorable moments through the promotion of fan made videos, we educated new fans on the league’s’ rich history and grow the already popular brand in China. Since the launch of the official Bundesliga Sina Weibo account in July, 2014, follower numbers have grown to 1.4 million and the account is the 2nd most engaged professional sports league on Weibo. With continued support from the league and its fans, expect more big things to come for German football in China.