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Do sports advertisements target audiences that are not into sports/fitness?

I am wondering if sports advertisements consider audiences outside of their ideal agenda to increase sales and views, but how would they do this? sports health marketing-and-advertising fitness publicity

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Candace’s Answer

This is such a great question! Generally, sport advertisements are targeted at people who watch or participate in sports because they are mostly going to be the ones to buy their product. There are examples of companies targeting different types of audiences. The most common example is seeing how different commercials have changed over the years during the Superbowl and the Olympics. Research has shown that 44% of people that watch the NFL are women and that they are the majority audience for the Olympics. So it's interesting to see how companies mesh stories to sport and tie in themes of family and camaraderie over competitiveness. Nike had a brilliant commercial during this Olympics and it still featured sport, but the sport was being completed by an unlikely candidate who was 86. This makes the commercial appeal to a wider audience especially because most commercials feature young people. The commercial helps people associate Nike with words like grit, perseverance and dedication. And you don't need to be a professional athlete to wear their clothes or shoes. You can view the commercial here:

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Brittany’s Answer

An example of how these sports brands would target a non-endemic audience would be ESPN's new website THEUNDEFEATED.COM. This site, as well as espnW, are verticals ESPN uses to super-serve a specific audience segment. The Undefeated tackles social justice issues, highlights HBCU news and speaks on sports through the lens of race. This allows us to open client conversations with non-endemic advertisers looking to reach this audience segment in a cultural space as opposed to a strictly sports medium. For example, if Under Armor were to have a community outreach opportunity they might consider partnering with that site.

And to piggyback off of Candace's response - in the current advertising marketplace brands are trying to relate products to individuals as a part of their lives or their personal narratives, using sports as a prop rather than a stage. A good example of this is the Jimmy Graham Powerade commercial that shows determination in overcoming adversity which is a universally relatable narrative, he just so happens to be an amazing tight end.

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Stefania’s Answer

Hi Kiana,

To answer your question - yes. While the "core target" audience would still be their key viewers, the industry is shifting and more mainstream messaging that appeals to larger audiences is becoming necessary and important. Research is showing, for instance, that there are increasingly more women sports viewers/fans (who, by the way, are doing most of the shopping in the household including items for their husbands). There is also quite a bit of co-viewing happening, which is natural for sports but there are more women and and even kids co-viewing in households. Big events like the Super Bowl are an exception because they draw mainstream audiences that may not be typical sports fans. Likewise, college basketball, for example, may draw older audiences or women because they draw a lot of alumni who are lifelong fans that continue their loyalty to the university they attended.

As to HOW they would do this -- one example is messaging around larger, culturally relevant themes like diversity, giving, perseverance and strength, which resonate with men and women ("strong is the new beautiful" type spirited messaging resonates with today's women, for instance). Another example would be smart partnerships. A fitness brand, for instance, may (and did) decide to offer local discounts or services to the visitors at the local hotel. The hotel, they knew, had many sports/fitness-oriented business travel guests who want to work out but aren't home to do it. They offered sneakers and gear that guests could borrow and super discounted short-term memberships. A sports retailer may, for example, feature an interactive display (like a rock wall or virtual reality experienced) sponsored by a sports brand.

Hope that helps you, best of luck.