• Christian Michaels

Six Nations vs. Super Bowl: Marketing Strategies Either Side of the Pond

With the commencement of the Six Nations and the recent passing of the Super Bowl we have been thinking about the vast difference in these sporting occasions and more importantly, how they are marketed. Though the sports have the same origins in history their development and images couldn’t be further apart.

The Six nations

So how does the Six Nations brand itself? It’s rather simple. The build up to the tournament, which starts in February every year, is focused around the beauty of the sport and the fierceness of the competition. As the nations taking part are in such close proximity to one another, rivalry is a huge part of the tournament. The preamble subtly evokes nostalgia by referring to the greatest upsets, triumphs and disappointments of years gone by.

Furthermore, Guinness, who sponsor the tournament, follow this nostalgic and subtle strategy in their adverts around the tournament. In their advertisement for the 2019 tournament they used a beautiful advert in which two sons are encouraged by their recently deceased mother in her will to spend every penny she left on going to the Six Nations. The ensuing events see the two brothers touring Europe, following Wales, and literally using their mother’s red dragon-woven purse to pay for everything. You are drawn in by the memories of years past and the hope for the years to come; it teases your interests whilst reaffirming your love of the sport and competition. It is in fact beautiful in its simplicity. The Six Nations is an evocative tournament, especially in the U.K, where every game is seen as a grudge match with each team battling for bragging rights over the British Isles for the next eleven months.

The Super Bowl

The glitz and glamour of the Super Bowl has increased in popularity in Britain over recent years. In fact, it seems that its over-the-top nature is in fact what makes it so popular internationally. The novel nature of a game that lasts seven hours, thrown in with an indulgent half time performance and more advertising space than you can shake a red, white n’ blue stick at, is actually rather appealing. There is almost a somewhat comical aspect to the Super Bowl, with Brits finding it rather amusing to see the vast differences between themselves and their trans-Atlantic counterparts.

In America, the advertising of the Super Bowl comes at massive expense to the NFL, however, the more effectively they can create hype around it, the more they can charge for their advert slots. An advert for the Super Bowl showdown, alongside American football in general, will often contain flying graphics, overly-intense music and mobile presenters who seem to be constantly jogging around the studio. So, why this blitzkrieg approach to advertisement? Well, it’s an entirely different market separated by a huge ocean and a few centuries of different cultural developments. Though it generally lacks any subtleties there is something about the American way of advertising which is so consumable, it really does draw you in.

The marketing of the Super Bowl has made it a fixture in the international sports calendar. However, it is very much a once-a-year occasion for Brits and Europeans alike. Non-Americans show little or no interest in the games leading up to the Super Bowl, just the grand finale itself. We believe this is because it is only the nature of the spectacle that draws in the foreign audience for the Super Bowl. Moreover, this would not necessarily work over the course of a sporting season or a longer tournament, as it isn’t the sportsmanship, history or rules of the NFL which draws in foreign audiences, just the idea of watching an overly zealous and flamboyant finale.

So Where do We Stand on all this?

While the Six Nations’ advertising campaigns are beautiful in their simplicity, the Super Bowl’s counterparts are enticing in their over-complexion. These tournaments give us a great insight into the psyche of the sports followers and their expectations, as well as an insight into the expectations of audiences either side of the pond.

Though the novel appeal of the Super Bowl has made it a fixture in the world’s sports calendar, it lacks the advertising model to sustain interest in more than just a one-off occasion in a British market. We see merits in both strategies, the Six Nations has its nostalgia, while the Super Bowl excels in its ability to advertise and deliver a truly fanatical display of flamboyancy. Although, as a British company we operate more on the rugby field than the American football one, delivering impactful designs, strategies and content, built to stand the test of time!

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