“There’s no better analogy for the market economy we live in than sport,” said Kevin Burke, CMO, Visa, setting the tone for a session on sports as a source of creative inspiration on day one of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2014.
“Between glory and failure, winning and losing (sic), sports is the best tool to create the greatest advertising possible,” he added.
Stating that ‘human spirit wins over every medal possible,’ he led the audience to what according to him has been the ‘best Olympic film ever made’: P&G’s Thank You Mom.
Underlining that the Olympics and the FIFA World Cup, both of which Visa is a sponsor of, are inherently different properties, Burke pointed to certain basic requisites for advertising that the brand looks for: (i) Meaningful purpose, (ii) Universal human truth, (iii) Unexpectedly delightful and (iv) Relevant.
Joining him on stage for the talk were David Wise, an American Olympic Gold-winning freestyle skier, and FIFA World Cup-winning former French national soccer star Marcel Desailly.
Among other things, both athletes were asked for their views on social media. Wise said, “As an athlete, you just want to focus on the moment of experience. Until social media came along, you didn’t know whether you were moving fans or not. You can view it (social media) as annoying, or as inspiring. I enjoy the responsibility. You have to balance. You have to take the inspiration and toss away the hate responses.”
“If we had it earlier, it would have really helped us,” remarked Desailly, referring to social media. It would have helped build the teams’ and players’ connect with fans all the more, he reasoned.
Asked about athletes' relationship with brands, Wise noted that with some brands, it was positive as they sought to find out more about the athlete before creating their messaging plans.
Desailly concurred only in part, and added, “In soccer, we need to educate players much more, that the sponsors are very much part of the package. We need to allow brands to use our image to deliver messages. Then, all the key messages of sports, like commitment (sic) will get through. There are a lot of positive messages around sport that we can across through brands.”