December 6, 2021

Nothing but net; the fundamentals of leveraging subcultures in sport marketing

Source: AdNews

Aussies have always been sports fans, but a year of lockdowns have left them more interested in sporting communities than ever before. Now We Collide’s Ryan Bodger shares his thoughts on basketball subcultures and the opportunities for marketers in reaching these audiences.

Patty Mills, Steph Curry , LeBron James.

How many people would recognise these names without having watched a full game of professional basketball in their life?

The popularity and cultures surrounding sports entertainment have skyrocketed. Digital innovations, particularly throughout the pandemic, have been geared towards emulating real life experiences in the digital and now virtual world. This has expanded the borders of sport further than ever before, bringing new communities into the foray and invigorating those that already existed.

Basketball in particular has seen incredible growth, particularly in Australia. The national men’s basketball team, Boomers, made history in the Tokyo Olympics with the team’s first ever Olympic Medal. Interest in the athletes and their stories have built a pop-culture even when fans weren’t able to physically attend the games.

Marketers have a unique opportunity to tap into this thriving, passionate and engaged audience. But every new game comes with its own rulebook and challenges, and understanding these are foundational to any success a brand might hope to achieve.

A household game

Australia is a sporting nation, and basketball has become a very important part of that national psyche.

The recent success of Australian basketballers overseas, including Patty Mills, Andrew Bogut, Ben Simmons, and more recently Josh Giddy and Joe Ingles, has contributed to skyrocketing interest in basketball and the NBA. The triumphs of these athletes on a global stage has played into a sense of patriotism and community built across international borders.

The Last Dance, a docuseries focusing on the career of Michael Jordan, also introduced popular narratives around basketball to the everyday Australian audience. For those who weren’t able to watch the games Michael played, this was a portal into the world of the NBA and basketball culture they previously didn’t have access to.

Another consequence of being an international fan is embracing virtual channels and innovations to consume sports.

This means that a significant proportion of NBA fans are no longer sitting through entire games via streaming. Instead, they’re accessing highlight reels, recaps, dedicated sporting apps, and even betting websites to participate with the game. These are all channels outside of the traditional sports broadcaster which are being engaged to support thriving fandoms.

This gives marketers more mediums than ever to tap into the subcultures created by these communities.

It’s not all balls and whistles

Basketball fans aren’t just interested in the game. They’re participating in art, music, fashion, pop culture and values that support it.

The barriers that separate these cultural avenues from each other are disintegrating. An example of this is Drake’s music video for Laugh Now Cry Later, which featured athletes Kevin Durant and Odell Beckham Jr. playing basketball with the artist. The unique combo brought Drake’s fans to the NBA and the NBA’s fans to Drake - broadening the reach that either combo had solo.

Now We Collide was also recently involved with an extended campaign for ESPN and the NBA. The campaign’s goal was to market the NBA finals to a wider audience outside of those fans who would already be tuning in. The solution? Now We Collide commissioned Aussie artists to create six original artworks of some of the game’s iconic athletes including LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kawhi Leonard.

The campaign immortalised these superstars in paint, with artists selected for their genuine passion for the game and their social media presence. The campaign successfully played to an Australian demographic of those interested in street art, culture and sport.

It’s a clear example of how effective sports marketing partnerships can be. Utilising new cultural avenues can expand audiences to new horizons, as well as providing passion points to freshen and invigorate brand images.

Don’t just bet on it

For all brands looking to get involved in these subcultures or communities, brand safety has to be at the forefront of their concerns.

Ensuring brand and artist values align is essential for productive work relationships. Some subcultures developed as a rejection to mainstream cultures, so understanding the passions, interests and concerns of artists is paramount in ensuring both parties are on the same page.

Brands also need to invest in authentic messaging, rather than bombarding the fans with the product. Understand audience triggers and interests to ensure you’re building awareness in a genuine and sustainable way. Culture changes with the click of a mouse, so proactivity not reactivity will be the key in staying ahead of the curve.

Data, as always, is a fundamental part of analysing the impact of campaigns and can be rolled into future plans. Making use of all available assets, including smaller digital-first, creative agencies, will help brands keep up in a fast-changing environment.

When it comes to sports marketing, in particular for basketball, the time is ripe for marketers to capitalise on super-engaged and interactive subcultures. Understanding who exactly these cultures are and how your brand can support their interests gives your company the best chance of getting a slam dunk.

December 3, 2021

Meta works with Now We Collide to champion Aussie small businesses

Source: Mumbrella Bandt

Meta has partnered with creative agency, Now We Collide to showcase the strength and resilience of small businesses around Australia.

The campaign “Good Ideas Deserve To Be Found,” features the stories of four Australian businesses including Singing Magpie (SA), BoardSox (VIC), D-STILL Drinkware (QLD) and Survival Emergency Solutions (NSW).

Each story shows how the business found their own way to pivot and thrive through the pandemic, whether it was using Facebook or Instagram to start a new business, running personalised ads to find new customers or listening to customers to refine their offering. 

Notably, this is Meta’s first dedicated small business campaign in Australia since its re-brand in November.

Insights from Meta’s Dynamic Markets Report helped to inform the direction of the campaign, highlighting how Meta’s tools were used to help Australian entrepreneurs start a new business, pivot to new ways of working and grow online.

The report found that 82 per cent of Australian SMBs used Meta’s apps (Facebook and Instagram) to start their own business, while 64 per cent said that Meta’s apps were important to adapt to the changing business environment during the pandemic.

One of the most popular tools was the use of personalised ads which 71 per cent of SMB’s reported were important for the success of their business.

The campaign will feature across digital, print and out of home channels utilising a range of video and still assets.

“The approach we took allows the genuine journey of each business owner to really shine through and we hope they inspire others to understand what’s possible,” said managing partner and CEO, Now We Collide, Keir Maher.

Head of policy programs, Meta ANZ, Alisha Elliot also commented stating, “This campaign highlights the value of Meta’s tools and in particular, personalised advertising, to enable small businesses to participate in the digital economy with precision, impact and ensures their marketing investments are effective.”


Client: Meta

Head of Policy Programs ANZ – Alisha Elliott

Project Manager – Montana Cooper

SMB Marketing Manager – Meg Montgomery

Creative: Now We Collide

Executive Producer – Keir Maher

Chief Creative Officer – Ryan Bodger

Creative Director – Kurt Toohey

Producer – Amanda Cooton

Art Director – Kate O’Donnell

Copywriter – John Kerswell / Lyndon Christie

Director of Photography – Patrick Harris

Media: Dentsu X

Senior Media Director – Sonam Singh

Associate Media Director – Jose Pantangco

Media Executive – May Ng

October 19, 2021

Navigating Purpose: The New ‘P’ of Marketing

Dust off the cover of any marketing textbook, inside you’ll find a familiar chapter focused on the ’Four Ps of Marketing’. For years, marketers and their brands have lived, died and thrived off a strategy directed by ‘Product, Price, Place and Promotion’. Since then, more ‘P’s have emerged including ‘People and Process’, however in the new age of conscious consumption powered by consumers willing to vote with their wallet, is it time to finally etch a new ‘P’ into the marketing mix?

A P for Purpose.

Purpose, it’s a term that continues to trend throughout the industry. In the last five years we have witnessed a flood of brands reevaluating their brand positioning, based on the need to (or at least appear to) align with stronger ethical, environmental and societal standards.

The push has largely been driven by consumers, a recent study suggests shoppers are four to six times more likely to buy, trust or champion companies with a strong ‘brand purpose’. The stat is a telling explanation as to why brand books around the world are currently being rewritten and reimagined in the era of conscious consumption.

But which consumers have ignited this shift?

The need for brands to reconsider their ethical standpoint has largely been driven by younger consumers, the digital zoomers of Generation Z. Data shows that 62% of Gen Z prefer to buy sustainable brands, while 72% are more likely to support a company that contributes to social causes. With Generation Z’s combined disposable income predicted to increase almost seven-fold to $3.2 trillion in 2030, it’s no wonder marketers are reassessing the need to publicly align to a strong set of values.

Whilst sustainability remains a present concern for all demographics, the data suggests the presence of a mental divide between generations. In the same data set, only 54% of Generation X and 39% of Baby Boomers identified sustainability as an important factor that influenced their purchasing behaviour. So while brands transition to market their ‘clean green credentials’, a reminder that for many older consumers, the four classic P’s are still as relevant as ever. 

So how can brands ensure they set themselves up for success, through the lens of Purpose? In an era of radical transparency, it can be argued that brands must ensure their claims are authentic and backed by tangible actions. 

Armed with smartphones and a desire to achieve social justice, Gen Z have been likened to a generation of online sleuths, unafraid to conduct some amateur detective work. We’ve already witnessed numerous examples of brands being held to account, even #cancelled, due to their unethical brand practices appearing at odds with their public perception.

Luxury fashion label Coach was recently caught out for slashing and destroying unsold product, in a set of viral Tik Toks by New York influencer @thetrashwalker. The practice that some have linked to an effort to avoid paying tax, spurned widespread criticism of the High Street fashion house. Consumers were quick to point out that the practice seemed to contradict Coach's new (Re)Loved campaign, which championed the brands commitment to sustainability and recycled goods. So while the brand attempted (unsuccessfully) to navigate the subsequent PR nightmare, battered and bruised it was clear that severe damage had already been done.

Beyond sustainability, marketers are increasingly reevaluating their brand positioning to ensure their ‘Purpose’ is aligned to broader public sentiment. Nike has been one of the most visible pioneers of the practice with their 2018 Dream Crazy campaign featuring American civil rights activist Colin Kaepernick. Closer to home, we’ve seen numerous examples of brands making a conscious decision to reimagine themselves, going as far to rename their products to ensure their company values represent modern community standards. From a popular confectionery giant changing the names of key products, to a major cookware and grocery brand ditching a ‘celebrity chef’ over inexcusable conduct, brands are constantly reassessing their partnerships and the public causes they associate with. From this point onwards, it seems vital that brands look inwards, rather than outwards when engaging with partners.

One of the most important things brands need to ask themselves is:

  • What is it we are aligning to? 
  • Is this a cause or social practice that we are making conscious effort to address within our own business? 
  • What tangible actions can we make to ensure our effort is beyond virtue signalling?

Without thorough examination of the state of their own backyard, brands are exposing themselves to significant risk whilst appearing disingenuous in their communications. In contrast, within Australia we’ve seen a number of forward thinking brands build success off a well established brand purpose. Numerous companies have grown substantially, thanks to a strategy driven by values and the ability to cultivate a loyal following of like minded customers. From tradie friendly workwear designed to support mental health, to a toilet paper startup raising significant capital, Aussies are onboard with brands committed to making a tangible difference. The skyrocketing growth should come as no surprise with studies indicating purpose-driven brands grow on average three times faster than their competitors. 

Now more than ever, it’s vital for brands and marketers to be considering the ethical, environmental and societal values that shape their business. In an era when shifts in markets can eventuate so rapidly, it’s vital for brands to be on the front foot with a clear and distinct set of values that publicly guide their business and differentiate themselves from competitors.