Knowledge of local customs is the quickest way for sports brands to make an impact on China’s saturated digital landscape. A.S. Roma changed their home kit sponsor for a Chinese New Year message in February becoming one of the most engaged sports posts of the year, while Tottenham Hotspur launched a bespoke Chinese New Year mini-site on their local website. Mid-Autumn Festival was celebrated on Sunday, prime time for sports brands, but who made the most of this opportunity and how?
Football teams are now realising the power of their LED boards in communicating with fans in China. An extremely valuable commercial resource, teams are sacrificing this additional revenue to engage with their fans watching from China with Chinese-language messages. Tottenham Hotspur wished their Chinese fan base a happy festival during their victory at home game against Manchester City, whilst many other clubs also joined in. Greater experimentation can be taken for this approach, moving away from just social call-to-actions.
A tried and tested way is to get the support of first-team players to celebrate Chinese festivals through video messages. Many sports brands were able to leverage this opportunity, promoting their videos across all digital platforms to get the greatest reach possible. Bayern Munich created a short video with their players wishing their fans a happy festival in German and Chinese, as well as them trying out the traditional moon cakes. This isn’t going to win anyone a marketing award, but it’s authentic content with strong Chinese elements.
Chinese fans love visual content, especially if designed with strong Chinese elements. This was one of the simplest ways for any sports brand to celebrate the festival with the Chinese fans sharing amongst their friends and family. Liverpool created a powerful graphic as well as running a contest ahead of the festival that ended up being their most engaged post of the week.
Chinese festivals are a great way for sports brands to show their commitment to the Chinese audience and their recognition of their culture. Many sports brands missed this opportunity to GO BIG around this holiday, when even a simple message to your fans would suffice. Novak Djokovic came out on top amongst his peers by posting a message to his fans on Sunday evening, become the only tennis player to celebrate the holiday with their fans. Great timing from the #1 tennis player in the world and in China with the China tour fast approaching.