SportPesa is an Africa superbrand. Ubiquitous with the local marketplace, the Kenyan-born sports betting company has innovated & disrupted the African status quo – helping leapfrog the community into becoming the new challengers on the global stage through heavy investment in the development of the local sports leagues and tournaments in Kenya and Tanzania.
With the FIFA World Cup kicking off in 2018, SportPesa wanted to demonstrate their grassroots, cultural & community capital & prevalence on this monumental occasion to their already established markets & bulldoze competitors out of the way.
Contrastly, SportPesa had recently entered the European market & was establishing a modest footprint through individual & team sponsorships. And while some may have noticed the ‘SportPesa’ logo printed across some of their favourite sports personalities shirts, few knew what the brand stood for or what it even was.
The FIFA World Cup is the world’s biggest tournament & brands invest heavily in sponsorships, ambassadors & airtime – stretching as far as they can to be associated with the game and ride the mania that goes with the most-watched drama unfold.
This poses a local threat of losing overall market share from the added (out-of-category) players now encroaching on our space.
And even more challenging for a newcomer to enter markets where the sports-betting market is flooded with options… and not unlike the game itself, the ones who lift the trophy come the end of it tend to be the biggest players who have the biggest investment.
Drawing upon the universal connectedness demonstrated through sport, produce a universal brand platform, which can be expressed & articulated independently in each market delivering upon respective goals.
Africa: Cement SportPesa’s position (market share) as the #1 sports betting app/brand
Europe: Expand the SportPesa market value/penetration
A universal brand platform appealing to sports fans and can be articulated per local market to equal potency;
Africa: Lead share of voice around the tournament
Europe: Define & establish the brand & positioning
Africa: Flex brand heritage & superiority – express our sport & cultural relevancy in the everyday lives of young, passionate fans
Europe: Capture the intensity of being the underdog
Africa: Amplify awareness by utilizing influential & aspirational social feeds from the key counterpoints/interests in people’s lives
Europe: Using local ambassadors, populate sports culture through sharable, branded content pieces
Africa v Europe
The market landscape couldn’t be more contrasted and with the biggest tournament on the horizon, attitudes towards the competition are very fractured.
The rapid spread of mobile technology in the developing world — especially in Africa, which has lagged behind in closing the income gap with the west — has given rise to the theory of “leapfrogging” – countries which can make “a quick jump in economic development” by harnessing technological innovation.
Technology & digital connectivity, more than ever, is creating a level playing field for Africa to express themselves in the global light radiating from millions of mobile phones.
SportPesa defined itself as a key player in this new “leapfrogging” Africa. And while the region is well aware of SportPesa’s innovation, sports betting offers & community development, the continent’s region was heading into the tournament was underrepresented.
However, Africa is a unique fanbase. Interest in foreign teams and mega-clubs like Real Madrid, Man United & Barcelona garners massive support for when these players take to the global tournament representing their home countries – shifting alliances to many different teams many miles away from their own home.
Furthermore, neighbourly support for African nations would see huge interest around games where their African brothers would face up against their global role-models & poster-boys.
Positioning: African markets
Recognising opportunity will allow me to reach my potential
Make your chance
Story development and phasing
We wanted to find a way to tell our brand story in parallel to the competition’s emotions to achieve greater impact.
Developing a storyline that follows the excitement and emotions of the WC, but to our own brand story and positioning in a way that increases impact but doesn’t lose relevance, message or story consistency.
Layering our channel mix in an effective way that would reveal more from different angles and audience perspectives to maximize assets, formats & channel behaviours.
Investigating emotionally-planned phasing arrived at a storyline that precedes the events/phasing and associated emotions of the WC as our narrative builds to a climax.
This allows us to grasp the majority of share of voice before, during and after the tournament.
The second layer of media would be necessary to home an always-on touchpoint, while the TVCs add to it effectively.
We celebrate the spirit, entrepreneurship, and attitude of young Africans.
Lead by a narrated voiceover the footage is be a corresponding snapshot of modern East Africa – a humming, buzzing, incubator of chance.
As we travel around different locations within a single city block each turn reveals another moment of chance being seized on by young Africans in this land of opportunity.
Some famous and some just everyday people taking their chance.
Each vignette is connected by the theme of football or sport either as the main action or a feature in the setting.
From a filming perspective, we look to use interesting camera techniques to further stitch together each scene. With the ambition being to end up with an execution that gives the impression of one chance flowing smoothly into another in a single shot take.
The European market was a new world for the African superbrand.
Entering as a challenger to the already flooded sports betting marketplace, and where market share is more heavily contested than the mega-money, super weights who dazzle the local leagues, SportPesa needed to announce itself with the right tone, identity & be selective of key moments to earn attention in such a distracting & football-overwhelmed media frenzy.
Competition between European teams is met with fierce passion & rivalry: veterans England v Germany, French-charming France v Belgium & sun-kissed Italy v Spain mean there is little love when taking to the field.
Positioning: European markets
It’s not where you’re from but where you’re going
Embrace the underdog spirit found in all of us
Identifying a universal theme was imperative to solidify the global brand positioning.
Allowing flex for each region’s colloquialisms, attitude & articulation makes for a brand that can still have sports fans identify themselves in that brand, yet still unite each of us – which is just the magic of sport.
The creative centers on a voiceover with extracts from Theodore Roosevelt’s ‘Man in the Arena’ speech. It features a collection of moments where everyday people – no screaming crowds or glamorous Lamborghini – recognize the passion that burns within them, the underdog in a fight that can define themselves, grave success to course through their veins on their local stage – seize their opportunity in the sporting arena.
Leveraging the portfolio of sporting ambassadors, and pursuing Tony Bellew as a local hero, Everton fan & face of the brand, he took the social-scrolling sports fans on a story a through long-form content series which explores the long-road to success but taking every opportunity presented.
Strategy: Mick Valentine
Account Director: Andy Gill
Creative Director: Rapha Campos
Production Director: Chris Chaundler