Three as a brand have become synonymous with Irish sport, being the main sponsors of both the Irish national football and rugby teams. As a company, the brand utilise digital platforms well through both sponsorship partners and when it comes to social media, they let the Irish teams do the heavy duty promo work for them. Everywhere you look around the FAI and Irish rugby social media platforms, you can’t help but notice the Three branding that is so prevalent it almost acts as subliminal marketing tool
The Irish rugby platforms are more active and a bit more innovative if truth be told then their football counterparts and when you log on to their Facebook and Twitter accounts, virtually ninety percent of the imagery and video content being pushed out has a reference to Three in some shape or form (visually).
Their engagement levels on Facebook in particular are excellent and you simply can’t help but notice the Three brand at virtually every step of the way on the page. When you first land on the page you are greeted currently with a cover photo featuring members of the Irish team with their backs turned in training gear, all clearly displaying the Three logo. This almost digital takeover strategy seems to be apparent in other areas of their online sponsorship activities
A good example of this would be actually moving slightly away from sport and came before Christmas with the launch of the latest iPhone 6. They employed a ‘guaranteed eyeballs strategy’ which is also known in digital circles as a ‘page takeover’ when they plastered their logo and branding across both sidebars and the banner heading area across the most well-read online news publication in the country, TheJournal.ie.
In the weeks leading up to the iPhone 6 going on sale in the country you almost couldn’t log on to The Journal without been struck by the bright, intense branding campaign of Three. Being a massive phone network provider in Ireland, this mobile technology focused campaign no doubt worked very well during the iPhone 6 launch for the brand as a sponsored digital content strategy. This form of getting your brand on such a popular online media platform cannot have come cheap but the exposure benefits are massive and more importantly through digital utilization – measurable.
Content Marketing As A Whole
When one investigates further and digs out information around the web, it really seems that Three like to perpetuate their content marketing online through the brands that they sponsor and not so much directly themselves. This makes perfect sense, as why would one invest heavily in digital campaigns directly when you can sponsor sporting brands who have larger, more engaged digital presences to essentially market your brand online for you?
It makes perfect sense to let long, trusted sporting brands like those two titans of Irish culture maximise their passionately followed online presences to get Three out there online.
Sport and social media have a compelling relationship in particular due to the B2C, viral nature of both entities.
Sports fans are very passionate and like to converse and debate with one other online. This social engagement adds further reach to Three’s brand online as every time someone makes a comment, likes, shares or tweets underneath an image or video that contains an Irish rugby jersey, Irish football jersey or even of the Aviva stadium, you can bet your bottom dollar that Three’s logo or branding will be there, giving more and more reach to their brand.
Three obviously get this and let sport do the hard content marketing work for them through the major brands they sponsor. Sport is at the heart of a nation’s culture and Three’s Irish brand taps into this online through consistent exposure from both the Irish rugby and football teams.
Essentially, you could say the Three Ireland sponsorship deal between both national teams acts as primarily as a brand awareness piece for Three online when looking at the sponsorship deal purely from a digital perspective. It will be interesting to see how this digital relationship grows in 2015 with the relentless evolution of both online marketing and digital sponsorship techniques.