Sky heads to Snapchat to court young rugby fans

As is increasingly becoming clear, brands can no longer expect to put the bait out and wait for its audience to come. A bit more is required these days to target the more distracted modern audience, and brands are having to travel to audience-territory or risk being ignored. A big brand which has cottoned onto this is Sky TV which (along with a number of other brands) has now joined image and video-sharing app Snapchat in an attempt to target a millennial audience, to generate interest in its Rugby World Cup 2015 coverage.

The broadcaster joined Snapchat earlier this month, says Sky director of communication Kirsty Way.

“We were looking at appropriate social platforms to support our #24hourrugbypeople Rugby World Cup campaign, which asks rugby fans to send photos and videos to us with the chance for their face to air on TV during the Cup,” she says.

She says so far Sky has been very pleased with the response and has well over 2,000 Snapchat followers in just over one week.

“ … we Snap our followers with fan messages, and add user-submitted Snaps, as well as Snaps from the Sky team to our ‘Story’,” she says.

“We know that the user base on Snapchat skews slightly younger than other social platforms, so we expect it to be a popular choice for millennials to show they are #24hourrugbypeople. We’ve also provided ways for our audience to send us photos and videos via Twitter, Instagram and at sky.co.nz/24hourrugbypeople.”

She says so far the platform has just been used to promote Sky activity, and hasn’t been used to push out its SVOD platform Neon.

“We’ve had a great response so far,” she says. “with our follower numbers, and received Snaps tracking above our predictions. So far we’ve received hundreds of Snaps from rugby-mad Kiwis and we look forward to sharing these to our Story as the Rugby World Cup progresses.”

Sky is always looking to support innovative Kiwi companies, she says. “ … and have been happy to partner with Auckland-based Mish Guru, who provide businesses with an innovative Snapchat management interface.”

Though this is Sky’s first foray into Snapchat territory, Way says the broadcaster may well continue to use it after Rugby World Cup ends.

Sky released its 24 Hour Rugby People campaign late last month to promote its 24-hour coverage of the Rugby World Cup 2015.

Sky marketing manager Kate Whittle says the campaign celebrates the shared passion and sense of togetherness that Kiwis have when it comes to the Rugby World Cup.

“After collecting insights from viewers we saw a real opportunity to tap into the emotive sense of belonging and togetherness, along with the excitement that comes from our collective passion for the All Blacks and the Rugby World Cup,” she says.

“Nothing beats watching the action unfold with the people in your life and we are excited about every moment of the event,” she says. “We are in it together, around the clock, we are 24-hour rugby people.”

Whittle says the TVCs highlight the bonding and excitement over live game times, with the wider campaign using a variety of media touch-points to tell the story around the clock. “Sky is thrilled to bring New Zealand audiences all games live, highlights, peak replays, and exclusive live studio shows.”

Sky TV told NBR it would screen every All Blacks game of the Rugby World Cup 2015, free-to-air on Prime.

“In 2011, NZ free-to-air broadcast rights were awarded to a consortium formed between Maori TV, TVNZ and TV3, aided by $3.2 million pitched in by the government (a contribution that came after controversy over Maori TV using its taxpayer funding in a bid for an exclusive contract),” NBR reported.

Another businesses using Snapchat is ASB, with its marketing manager Shane Evans saying the bank has seen huge success with the platform with around 20,000 friends on Snapchat. It used the platform to reach out to tertiary students and achieved 160 percent of its target for sign up accounts.

One of the reasons it worked so well, he says, was the playful nature of the content ASB used. “ … We tried to remain as relevant as we could for the audience and we were quite playful with our content and focused on using it in a natural way”.

Stuff also joined Snapchat, in July, to share news with a younger audience.

Stuff digital communities manager Janine Fenwick said earlier: “Experimenting with new networks is really a big part of our audience-centric strategy and we are working to reach New Zealanders where they want to consume content rather than expecting them to come to us.”

Vodafone, Spark and the NZTA have also had a crack at the platform.

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