‘Sports marketing is stuck in the 1970s’: Iris launches new division to cater to millennials

Iris created 'Force of Black' for the All Blacks and Adidas

Iris created ‘Force of Black’ for the All Blacks and Adidas

Creative agency Iris is setting up a global sports division, claiming sports marketing has failed to evolve with modern media habits and default to a ‘Chairman’s Choice’ mentality.

The ‘micro-network’ agency which became part of the Cheil group in 2014, already works with sports clients including Adidas globally,  with a team already set up in Sydney, Singapore and Amsterdam.

Nico Tuppen, managing director, Iris Sport said: “Sports Marketing is still stuck in a 1970’s world. It’s still middle-aged men talking about passion and glory, trying hard, and the joy of being a fan.

“A whole new generation of male and female sports lovers is bored of this. They want sport to be colourful, diverse, entertaining, social.

“It’s more than being passionate about the game or displaying loyalty to a team. We believe it’s as much about culture as it is about sport – and should resonate with what we describe as the ‘Slash Generation’; an audience that wants brands, assets and campaigns to be more creative, more provocative and more challenging.”

According to a release the agency will be focussed in particular on digital results for clients, and “harness the power of ‘passion, provocation and participation’ to create meaningful, two-way conversations between fans and brands”.

The sport teams will tap into consulting, CRM, data & insight team, Iris Concise, “to add commercial rigour across all activity; from identifying the right partnership or influencer, to evaluating the activity and proving its worth”.

The agency has recently been behind the All Blacks Force Of Black activations for the 2015 Rugby World Cup and opened the digital Ferrari garage to F1 fans with Shell.

Tuppen, who led Iris Culture, added: “This is where the real difference (and benefit for clients) lies; our approach with Iris Sport actually understands the real commercial return of sports marketing.

“It is this unrivalled blend of resource, experience and capability that ensures our clients  sports activations always win. We have already seen what we do completely transform our clients business and approach.”

Alex Hayes

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