Tag Archives: sports sponsorship

Are messaging apps the new bar stools?


This is a post from PRISM’s Social Army – regular briefings on topics aligned to our business or close to our hearts. Today’s entry is from Shane O’Sullivan, Head of the Global Content network at PRISM.

One of the best things about working for a sports marketing company like PRISM is analysing how fans and audiences are engaging with sports in different ways. This presents many opportunities for the brands we work with. It’s exciting to think we will be telling stories on platforms or using methods in 2017 that do not even exist yet.

Sport and technology are two of my key passions. I have been lucky enough to attend a mixture of live sporting events around the world and when reflecting back on my most memorable sporting moments they have not always been physically at the event itself. For me the best thing about sport is who you share it with. Technology is very much aligned with shared experiences and creating moments in time. I have read a lot of 2017 trend reports from various outlets, particularly ones focusing on sport, and while mixed reality, virtual reality, eSports and live experiences will no doubt play a more prominent role this year, I feel one area that tends to get overlooked is conversational interfaces.

In 2016, it became quite common for people to describe WhatsApp as the “new bar stool” because messenger apps give you the ability to discuss the live match while not physically being near your friends, and to do it in a fairly natural way. Research certainly validates this: a report from BI Intelligence shows that the combined user base of the top four chat apps is larger than the combined user base of the top four social networks, and, in 2015, active use on messaging apps surpassed monthly active use on the top four social networks.

Currently, when I watch sport – be that live, out socialising or at home – I tend to use a messenger app for a lot of the lean-forward moments when I am debating with friends, actively discussing contentious decisions or sharing pictures, videos or GIFs. Anecdotal evidence suggests I’m certainly not alone. Most of the people I work with at PRISM are using messenger apps in the same way when watching sport.

We know this is happening, but how do brands tap into this behaviour? A good place to start is to look at what other brands are doing outside of the sporting category. Two that spring to mind are Kayak and Burberry. Kayak launched its chatbot to make flight booking more conversational and remove the friction of airport codes, checking flight permutations and so on. A big plus of this approach is that your history is captured and allows you to pick up conversations about flight options and bookings as and when needed.

Burberry is one of the best brands in adopting technology trends but, more importantly, also provides a consistent experience across all platforms. Burberry has embraced conversational commerce and tested messaging formats for customer service and product recommendations, both designed to drive deeper customer relationships with the brand.

But my favourite example of a brand adopting a conversational interface is actually from the unlikely sector of insurance. Lemonade is an online peer-to-peer insurer that has mastered the art of providing a conversational interface for that most boring of tasks, buying insurance. The app makes the often painful process of searching for a new policy or making a claim more seamless than its ever been. Look at the video below for a demonstration:


Sports rights holders and brands involved in sports sponsorship could adopt a similar conversation-based approach anywhere there is a data exchange with fans. This could be anything from purchasing tickets to the brand serving up real-time official content, offering access to talent or behind the scenes moments, all distributed directly into the conversation itself.

If brands can find a way to provide this sort of value to fans in a conversational way it may feel more natural and sticky than the traditional model of interrupting their sports experience with a TV commercial. That would certainly be a good space for them to play and drive brand affinity.

At PRISM we are working on one of these messaging approaches at the moment, so watch this space, or message me… just please don’t interrupt!

Shane O’Sullivan

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PRISM’s ESA Shortlist Explained


Next week the winners of the European Sponsorship Association’s Excellence Awards are announced. PRISM has been shortlisted for seven awards – more than any other agency and more awards than we’ve ever been up for in a single day.

The projects come from many different departments of our diverse business, so here’s a primer to what’s up for which awards, and the work that’s being recognized…


Our work with SUBWAY on its sponsorship of the Helping Hearts 5k run series is being recognized in the Community Sponsorship category and the Mass Participation category. The challenge was to create a unique and enjoyable experience for participants and create standout from other running events. The 2016 series smashed targets, with an average 1,187 family participants per event and reach for the race series of 3.4 million on Facebook and Twitter.


PRISM’s SUBWAY team won more plaudits with a shortlist in the Sports Sponsorship Award for their work on SUBWAY’s sponsorship of Liverpool FC, namely the Late for Training content, Breakfast with Kloop series, and through SUBWAY’s Training Day campaign. Most of us will be familiar with this work – it’s some of the best content PRISM has created – but check these videos if you want a refresher. The PR and digital element of this work alone created a reach of 35 million with 5.5 million video views for SUBWAY, off the back of a social spend of just 20,000 euros.


PRISM’s client Aston Martin has been shortlisted for Best Newcomer to Sponsorship for its work with Red Bull. The extraordinary collaboration was the result of PRISM’s deep connections with both companies and saw Aston Martin’s iconic wings emblazoned on Red Bull’s Formula One cars throughout the 2016 season and the two brands collaborating on the development of the AM_RB 001 hypercar.

Infiniti-Performance-Engineering-Academy-1.1-1024x607.jpgAlso in F1, PRISM’s work on the INFINITI Engineering Academy has been shortlisted for Best use of Sponsorship across Multiple Markets. This project truly draws on PRISM’s global footprint to deliver a mixture of digital engagement, events management, strategy and PR, and has generated earned media coverage across the world – 462 articles and counting, reaching 400 million readers – plus multi-million Twitter views and 100% increase in applications to the programme, year on year.


In the Best Use of Innovation category, PRISM’s Global Celebrity Index has reached the shortlist. This proprietary tool helps brands evaluate their global celebrity ambassadors and select which offer them the greatest potential to meet their business needs. If you’re not familiar with the tool, find out more here.

The ESA awards also have a special category this year recognising agencies with superior development programmes for staff. PRISM’s up for this for the work that our HR department does to onboard staff, help us learn and develop, and instill a defining culture across our teams.

There’s fierce competition across all categories from agencies such as Fuse, Octagon, Mediacom, Bauer, Leo Burnett and Havas, working for brands such as O2, McDonald’s, Vodafone, Prudential, Colgate, Nissan and Jaguar.

In the spirit of sportsmanship we wish them all the best of luck. Stay tuned for results next week, or watch our Twitter feed on the night of Thursday, February 9, for live updates from the ceremony.