Aussie Rules Football: Marketing and Advertising Strategy
With several media platforms, the Australian Football League (AFL) and its women's league (AFLW) launched several campaigns such as Don't Believe In Never, GenW, Dare To Create, and I'd Like To See That. The league also has several programs that contribute to its marketing efforts, such as AFL Player Appearance Program, The Consumer Product Program, and AusKick Program.
MARKETING MEDIA PLATFORM
- Aside from its website, AFL utilizes social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube in marketing.
- In 2017, AFL acquired the services of Facebook Ad. The success story is featured in Facebook Business as a case study.
- The league also has a community website, AFL Community, which offers video, resources, training, and advice for Australian football coaches, umpires, players, club administrators, and volunteers.
- AFL Players Association also has its own website featuring life stories of AFL players, projects of the association, and other AFL player-related information.
- The league partnered with Telstra for its digital network, including its mobile application that keeps fans up to date with the latest news, replays, trades, and transfers in AFL. The AFL Live app includes a match radio, scores, timeline, statistics, video highlights, shows, and player profiles.
- AFL Record is the league's official printed publication.
- From season 2019 onward, Crocmedia, the independent sports media syndicator which acquired the AFL Publications business from an agreement, will "produce all weekly match-day magazine content, including the AFL match-day Record, AFLW publications, the AFL Season Guide, JLT Community Series, International Rules Series, along with the AFL Finals and Toyota AFL Grand Final edition."
- Some of the best photographs from AFL and AFLW seasons are showcased in the new digital display at Federation Square. The display also features behind-the-scene galleries and historical project highlights.
- Michael Willson, AFL's head of photography and chief photographer, was named the 2018 Best Sports Photographer at the Australian Football Media Awards, while photographer Adam Trafford won Best Action Photograph.
- Launched in 2018 by AFL and its creative agency Clemenger BBDO Melbourne, “Don’t believe in never” campaign which focused on the use of human interest stories won Australia's sports campaign of the year.
- The campaign highlighted three stories of overcoming adversity to achieve great things.
- Richmond Football Club's Tigers, featuring Damien Hardwick, Trent Cotchin and Dustin Martin, won 2017 premiership despite finishing 13th in 2016.
- Aliir Aliir journeyed from a Kenyan refugee camp to the AFL, where the Sydney Swans embraced him.
- The Muslim girl from Western Sydney Dema overcame religious and cultural barriers to play the game for the Bankstown Bullsharks.
- The campaign also featured outdoor imagery showcasing personalities within the AFL community who have overcome great challenges to achieve excellence, along with "a retail focus with club and player content aimed at traditional fans, including TV commercials in each market, 18 club-hype reels, and outdoor versions."
- GenW is AFLW's new brand campaign, which includes a new television commercial as well as billboards, with one stationed at Punt Road — Olympic Boulevard intersection.
- Nicole Livingstone, AFLW's chief, acknowledges season 2's marketing efforts may not have been enough and hopes to ramp up the league's publicity this year with the new positioning and AFLW's new dedicated website.
- Created by Clemenger BBDO Melbourne to celebrate the diversity of AFLW's fan base, the campaign's 30-second ad clip features fans from different backgrounds and rolls out across different platforms throughout the football season.
- AFLW marketing manager Katie Hynes said, “GenW is a term that encapsulates the many and varied individuals that come together to make female football the force it has become. It is an opportunity to emphasize that women’s football is much bigger than the game itself.”
- In 2018, the second season of NAB AFL Women, the ‘Dare to Create’ campaign was launched, focusing on inspiring young girls and boys "to pick up a football and have a go."
- AFL claims the season launch film, released a few days before the first game, received a positive sentiment and was a strong driver for the season-opener at Ikon Park.
- However, Australian sports opinion website The Roar wrote in its article that the "Dare To Create" campaign was not enough to create noise for the women's league and criticized how the season promotion was left to clubs in the second season.
- In 2017, AFL revived its 1994 ad, 'I'd Like To See That' to celebrate the first women's season.
- Creative director and consultant on female economy Bec Brideson, art director Tisha Lazaro, writer Jane Caro, together with AFL's marketing and brand strategy lead, Jemma Wong, joined forces for the 30-second clip.
- The campaign ad, which was directed by documentary film-maker Celeste Geer and produced by broadcast producer Nik Round, featured prominent sports icons, Cathy Freeman, surfer Sabre Norris, Melbourne FC captain Nathan Jones, Melbourne Cup winner Michelle Payne, and TV presenter Lee Lin Chin.
- AFL's chief executive Gillon McLachlan was thrilled about how the players were making their marks, empowering women, and being role models for the younger generation of athletes. He shared his thought about the campaign, “The campaign reflects the change and revolution in our game.”
- The 'I'd Like To See That' campaign, led by the Australian international actor Chris Hemsworth, generated significant national interest, earning more than 40,000 social media engagements.
- The AFL Player Appearance Program is a marketing and community engagement program that utilizes all AFL players to promote, develop, and grow the game nationally.
- The Consumer Products Program is AFL's program to evolve and expand its merchandise store with products that include a range of club-branded tees, caps, and hoodies.
- AFL’s largest individual licensee is the PlayCorp Group of Companies.
- AFL’s AusKick is a program for attracting children to the game. The program focuses on children with plans that will "center around a consistent offering for schools, new digital products, and a broader scope utilizing AFL club initiatives, such as marketing and membership."
STRATEGY AND MARKETING SPEND
- In 2018, the consolidated expenses of AFL in strategy and marketing amounted to over AUD 34.52 million, AUD 2.53 million more than the previous year.
- Broadcasting and AFL media expenses amounted to almost AUD 22 million in 2018.
- AFL is reported to redesign its current logo, which has been around since 2000.
- Some strategies listed in AFL's annual report are consumer research and the use of data and analytics.