What’s the most effective way for sports brands to engage with younger audiences in their marketing campaign?

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Engaging with younger audiences is an ongoing challenge for sports brands in today’s digital landscape. As we navigate the uncharted waters of an ever-evolving era characterized by short attention spans, viral content, and instant gratification, it becomes imperative for sports brands to adapt and connect effectively with the tech-savvy, socially-conscious, and ever-connected generation. 

In this discussion, we will explore the strategic approaches that sports brands can employ to forge lasting connections and secure a prominent position in the hearts and minds of the youth audience. Let’s dive into the world of sports marketing!

Recently, The Media Ant conducted a survey asking people for their views on the most effective way for sports brands to engage with younger audiences, and below mentioned are the results.Qkdnrjdiej0 26Oq U6Nnpgzsfgcltvvl8Af5Kgppw8Usw1Qkz0Gbfxwu Ztcrc Msdrjee8I0Izc8

The option that got the most votes was Interactive Storytelling, let’s have a look at it first and then discuss three other options as well.

Interactive Storytelling

Interactive Storytelling or Storytelling for a cause refers to the use of storytelling techniques and narratives to raise awareness, advocate for, or support a particular social or humanitarian cause. It’s a powerful tool for inspiring empathy, mobilizing support, and driving positive change. By crafting compelling stories that highlight the impact of an issue, the experiences of those affected, or the solutions being pursued, storytellers can engage the audience emotionally and intellectually. 

These stories can be shared through various mediums, including written narratives, documentaries, social media campaigns, and public speeches, all aimed at inspiring action, promoting awareness, and contributing to the greater good. Effective storytelling for a cause not only informs but also motivates individuals and organizations to get involved, donate, volunteer, or advocate for meaningful change. Below mentioned are a few examples of ad campaigns of storytelling for a cause.

FIFA World Cup Ad

In an advertisement by French telecom company Orange, they cleverly tapped into the country’s passion for soccer by showcasing a montage of international soccer highlights, featuring incredible goals, dribbles, and passes that have characterized France’s soccer prowess in recent years. 

However, a surprising twist was revealed as the ad conveyed, “Only the Blues can give us these emotions… yet it’s not them you just saw.” It turned out that the ad had digitally transposed the faces of renowned male soccer players like Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann onto the bodies of female stars from the French women’s national team, Sakina Karchaoui, and Delphine Cascarino, in a show of support for the then upcoming Women’s World Cup.

The ad concludes with the message, “When we support Les Bleus, we support Les Bleues,” emphasizing solidarity with the female counterpart of the national team.

Praise has been high for the ad from around the world, with the video taking off across various social media platforms since its release.

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Puma- Let There Be Sport

Puma’s “Let There Be Sport” campaign is a global initiative that aims to promote the benefits of sport and physical activity for everyone, regardless of age, gender, or ability. The campaign was launched in 2023 in India, where it was inspired by a survey that found that 54% of adults prefer self-guided workouts after the pandemic. The survey also found that lack of time is the primary barrier to participating in sports and physical activities, followed by lack of facilities and high cost.

Puma also said that “Let There Be Sport, will be our priority in India this year. It will promote and encourage sport and fitness as a life skill. We will heavily invest in creating awareness towards sports adoption at a mass level, build more moments of inspiration, continue to support grassroots athletes, and work closely with key stakeholders across sectors to integrate sports and fitness into the main curriculum. In five years, we are confident that a sports-focused survey will yield better insights in India.”

Influencer Collaboration

Influencer marketing has become a game-changer for sports brands looking to connect with their target audience on a deeper level. Whether you’re a sports apparel company, a fitness equipment manufacturer, or a sports event organizer, collaborating with influencers can supercharge your brand’s reach and engagement.

Why influencer collaboration? It’s simple. Influencers are experts at creating authentic, relatable content that resonates with their followers. When you partner with the right sports influencer, you tap into their credibility and reach to amplify your brand message.

From athletes to fitness enthusiasts, sports bloggers, and lifestyle coaches, the possibilities are endless. They can showcase your products in action, provide expert insights, and generate buzz around your brand.

To have a better understanding of the same, let’s have a look at a few successful sports brands’ Influencer collaboration campaigns in India:

Puma x Virat Kohli

Puma’s collaboration with Virat Kohli is one of the most successful sports brand influencer partnerships in India. Kohli has been the brand ambassador for Puma since 2010, and his endorsements have helped the company to become one of the leading sportswear brands in the country.

Recently Sports brand PUMA India has launched a unique AI-led campaign called PUMA DIVE this season. Virat Kohli, ace cricketer and PUMA ambassador, took to his social media to announce the PUMA Dive campaign along with an image of him diving and asking fans to rate it.

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Virat’s fans in the past have often compared his iconic dives on pitch to PUMA’s leaping cat logo, creating content that has gone viral several times. This season, PUMA has taken the fans’ love for spotting the cat and created a platform to reward them for every image of a dive that they upload on X (formerly Twitter).

Under the two-month long campaign, participants will be invited to upload images of best dives in everyday life – be it swimming, skydiving, artistes at concerts, to even self-participation at PUMA’s offline events at malls and stores this season with hashtag PUMADive. With #PUMADive, the brand promises that once you see the dive, you can’t unsee it!

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What makes PUMA DIVE unique is the integration of generative AI, which will assess the accuracy of each dive in relation to the PUMA’s iconic leaping cat logo, in under a minute. The closer a participant’s image of a dive matches the PUMA logo, the greater the reward they receive.

Top entries in the season will have the chance to play a real life cricket match against PUMA brand ambassador Virat Kohli or win his special boots. Every participant is guaranteed a reward.

“Fans are the heart and soul of the sporting culture of our country. As a brand, PUMA wants to give these fans a fun way to engage to celebrate iconic moments. Our #PUMADive campaign is a reflection of PUMA’s unique approach at capturing a collective emotion and creating innovative ways for people to own and express it. This campaign is an immersive mix of fun and AI-led technology with once-in-a-lifetime rewards such as playing a game with our star ambassador Virat Kohli, building an all-round fan experience,” said Karthik Balagopalan, managing director, PUMA India.

ASICS X Shraddha Kapoor

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ASICS, the Japanese sports performance brand, has named Bollywood actress Shraddha Kapoor as its new brand ambassador for the Indian market. This partnership aims to strengthen ASICS India’s commitment to promoting a balanced and active lifestyle while maintaining style and comfort. Shraddha Kapoor will endorse the brand’s footwear and women’s sportswear products.

ASICS India sees this collaboration as an opportunity to expand its reach and further connect with Indian fitness enthusiasts, particularly women, who resonate with the brand’s philosophy of a sound mind and a sound body. Rajat Khurana, Managing Director of ASICS India and South Asia, expressed excitement about this collaboration, highlighting Shraddha Kapoor’s alignment with the brand’s ethos. In response, Shraddha Kapoor expressed her enthusiasm for sharing the values of physical and emotional well-being with her fans and her eagerness to work with the ASICS India team.

These are just a few of the many successful sports brand influencer collaboration campaigns in India. Sports brands are increasingly using influencer marketing to reach a wider audience and connect with their target consumers on a more personal level.

Memes and Humor

Memes and humor have emerged as powerful tools for sports brands to engage their audiences in a playful and relatable manner. From cleverly captioned images of their favorite players to witty takes on memorable moments in the sports world, humor-infused content allows these brands to tap into the vibrant culture of online fandom.

The effectiveness of memes in sports marketing is further enhanced by their ability to spread rapidly through social media platforms. When a meme resonates with an individual, they are more likely to share it with their network, amplifying its reach and exposure. As a result, memes can quickly become viral sensations, generating significant buzz for the brands that incorporate them into their marketing campaigns. Below mentioned is one of the best recent examples of best usage of humor by a sports brand.

Dream11 #Sabkehelenge

Dream11’s #Sabkhelenge campaign is a humorous and engaging initiative that is helping to promote the platform and make fantasy sports more accessible to everyone. This innovative campaign, titled “Sab Khelenge,” features the renowned actors Aamir Khan, R Madhavan, and Sharman Joshi, marking their first on-screen appearance together since the iconic movie “3 Idiots” in 2009. 

In a series of light-hearted banter films, the trio engages in playful exchanges with India’s top cricketers, joking about their acting abilities and challenging them to a game on the field, promoting the idea that anyone can participate and test their cricket knowledge and skills through Dream11, reinforcing the #SabKhelenge proposition.

The overall tone of the campaign is lighthearted and humorous, and it has been well-received by the public. In short, the Dream11 #Sabkhelenge campaign is a successful example of how humor can be used to promote a brand and make it more accessible to a wider audience.

Star Sports Mauka Mauka Campaign

The Mauka Mauka campaign was a series of television commercials created by Star Sports for the 2015 Cricket World Cup. The campaign focused on the India-Pakistan rivalry, and featured a Pakistani cricket fan who was always waiting for his team to finally beat India. The commercials became wildly popular in India, and were credited with helping to increase viewership for the World Cup. 

The commercials were simple but effective, and they quickly struck a chord with Indian cricket fans. The commercials tapped into the intense rivalry between India and Pakistan, and they offered a humorous take on the situation. The commercials were also well-produced, and they featured catchy music and memorable lines.

The Mauka Mauka campaign was a huge success, and it helped to make the India-Pakistan rivalry one of the most anticipated events in cricket. The commercials were also credited with helping to increase viewership for the World Cup, which was a record-breaking event.

After the success of this ad Star Sports launched a series of ads featuring other teams with a slight touch of wit and not being offensive.


This generation of tech-savvy, experience-driven consumers craves personalization and authenticity, making it essential for sports brands to tailor their strategies to meet these expectations. 

Personalization involves understanding and catering to the unique preferences, interests, and behaviors of individual consumers. In the context of sports marketing, this means going beyond generic messages and promotions to provide targeted experiences that resonate with younger audiences. 

Think about it this way: young fans love experiences that feel like they were made just for them. So, sports brands are using data to create content, apps, and social media posts that cater to each fan’s unique interests and passions. It’s like getting personalized news updates, game highlights, and even merchandise recommendations based on your favorite teams and players. And if you’re a fan who loves gaming or immersive experiences, there’s something for you too, like augmented reality adventures and e-sports events. 

The best part is, these brands aren’t just talking at you; they want you to join in the conversation. You can create your own fan art, share your thoughts, and even design custom gear that screams your team pride. Plus, there are loyalty programs that say ‘thanks’ with exclusive perks and personalized offers. It’s all about making a meaningful connection with younger fans who want more than just a game; they want an experience tailored to them.

Let’s have a look at a few examples of sports brands that are leveraging personalization to its best.

Product Personalization


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What's The Most Effective Way For Sports Brands To Engage With Younger Audiences In Their Marketing Campaign? 10

Nike is implementing personalization by using a variety of strategies, including Nike By You, the Nike app, and personalized recommendations, to enhance customer experience. These personalized experiences can lead to increased sales, better customer retention, and enhanced brand perception. By understanding and catering to individual preferences, Nike is fostering meaningful relationships and driving customer satisfaction

Nike BY You: Nike offers a service called “Nike By You” that allows customers to design their own shoes, selecting colors, materials, and even adding personal text or logos. This level of customization enables customers to create unique, personalized footwear.

Nike App: Nike has a mobile app that encourages customers to create profiles with personal preferences, sizes, and favorite sports. This data allows Nike to recommend products and offer exclusive content that aligns with individual interests.

Personalized Recommendations: Through data analytics and AI, Nike’s digital platforms provide personalized product recommendations based on a customer’s past purchases and browsing history. This enhances the shopping experience by suggesting items that are more likely to appeal to the individual.

Under Armour 

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Under Armour has introduced the UA Shop mobile app, designed to enhance the shopping experience by tapping into fitness data. This app integrates information from Under Armour’s digital fitness community, offering personalized product recommendations based on users’ workout history, purchase history, and fitness interests. For instance, it might suggest running gear to someone in a warmer climate who frequently logs runs or hiking equipment to those in colder regions. 

The app streamlines the shopping process with one-touch Apple Pay, additional product content, and user reviews. It’s part of Under Armour’s strategy to connect digital and in-store experiences while providing customized shopping options for a diverse customer base. Other sports retailers are also exploring similar approaches to bridge shopping and fitness activities for their customers.

“UA Shop is the next step in our connected fitness evolution as Under Armour becomes a true Math House,” said Jason LaRose, senior VP, revenue, at Under Armour. “This app was created to maximize our digital platform and complement our existing in-store experiences by bringing consumers a way to find the products they want when they want it. We are now able to provide custom experiences across our various categories specific to our diverse customer base.”

Now that we have discussed the four major ways let’s shed some light on the additional tips, when combined with the four major effective ways, can work like magic in engaging younger audiences:

Rap Culture In Sports Ad Campaigns

The use of rap culture in sports advertising has increased significantly in recent years due to the growing popularity of rap music and its cultural influence. This trend has been driven by several factors, including the demographics of sports brands’ target audiences, the versatility and authenticity of rap music, and its ability to convey a variety of messages effectively. While there are some potential drawbacks to using rap culture in advertising, such as the risk of alienating older generations or appearing inauthentic, the overall benefits outweigh the risks for many brands. As rap music continues to gain popularity, it is likely that we will see even more innovative and effective ways for sports brands to leverage its influence in their advertising campaigns.

Below mentioned are a few examples of the same-

Adidas Reimagine Sports

TATA WPL 2023 | Har Zubaan Par Naam Tera


It’s like having a heart-to-heart conversation. Younger audiences want to feel like they’re talking to a friend, not a corporate entity. So, be genuine, stick to your values, and be real about your actions and intentions. If you’re doing something good for the community or the environment, shout it out proudly and show how you’re making a positive impact. And don’t forget to engage with your audience like you’re talking to a buddy. Respond to their comments, answer their questions, and let your human side shine through.


Think of it as being the life of the party. To grab the attention of younger audiences, you need to be the one with the best stories, the funniest jokes, and the coolest dance moves. Get creative with your campaigns and storytelling. Humor, emotion, and relatability go a long way. Collaborate with people who bring a fresh, exciting perspective to your content, like artists and influencers.

Social Media

Social media is like the neighborhood hangout spot. That’s where your younger audience spends a lot of their time. So, you need to be there too. But it’s not just about being present; it’s about making them feel at home. Each social platform has its own vibe, so tailor your content accordingly. Start conversations, encourage them to share their thoughts and creations, and always be there to chat with them. It’s like being the friendly neighbor they love talking to over the fence.


In the thrilling world of sports marketing, winning the hearts of younger audiences is the ultimate goal. The secret sauce? A dynamic game plan that’s all about being real, getting creative, ruling the social media arena, and making their mobile experience top-notch. It’s like starring in your very own sports epic, where your brand is the MVP. But here’s where the magic happens: spice it up with trends, embrace everyone, create content that’s so shareable it’s like wildfire, and get interactive. And don’t forget, stay flexible and roll with the punches, just like in a real game. It’s not just a marketing campaign; it’s a lifelong journey of keeping your fans on the edge of their seats. So, suit up, hit the field, and let the enchantment begin!

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Megha Singh

I am a mosaic of every person, thing, or substance I have loved even for a heartbeat. I love this world in all those grey areas where it's not just black and white. Every day I learn and unlearn things to become a better and beautiful version of myself so that one day I can proudly say ' You made it girl'

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