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Ricciardo, Feds and Kyrgios Get Creative With Ads During COVID-19

W
hile the COVID-19 pandemic has shaken up the entire sporting world with cancellations, rescheduling, and the absence of fans for live events, athletes and brands are still finding ways to boost their commercial value with creative advertising.

Star international athletes including Roger Federer, Daniel Ricciardo, Nick Kyrgios, Baker Mayfield, Saquon Barkley, Joel Embiid, Damian Lillard, and Allyson Felix have all used their unexpected ‘free time’ during the pandemic to work with brands to create new commercial content.

Optus’ managing director of marketing and revenue, Matt Williams, saw it as a great partnership to collaborate with one of Australia’s most renowned athletes who embody Optus’ vision for a 2 year deal announced late this week.  The first phase in the partnership will see the Optus’ famous ‘Yes’ logo will appear on Ricciardo’s Formula One helmet design for the remainder of 2020 as well as the 2021-22 seasons promoting the 5G network.

Daniel famous teeth smile for Optus Deal.

With several of the above opting out of their respective sporting competition due to concerns over the pandemic, specifically Roger Federer and Nick Kyrgios, they have managed to remain in the public and commercial spotlight due to their appearances in branded content.

Demonstrating the “mess-free”-ness of Old El Paso Tortilla Pockets, Kyrgios executed four forehands and a tweener while holding a taco for a great cause  with NKFoundation and Old El Paso Australia have partnered to donate 10,000 Mex meal Kits to FoodBankaus with video content.

Federer managed to appear in 2 separate commercial releases in one day, with separate video advertisements with Mercedes Benz and Swisse telecommunications company, Sunrise We. Federer begins the SunriseWe singing a famous beatles track to promote the brand, unheard of from many tennis stars.

With countless advertisements focusing on using the pandemic in their core messaging, such as Hulu’s campaign, “deep faking” star athletes faces onto regular, everyday people’s bodies, the messaging has shown everyone, even the world’s biggest star athletes, has been affected by COVID-19.

With the push for social justice change across the world, especially in the US, with ongoing protests over racial justice, several brands have combines the messaging of the pandemic with social justice causes to try set themselves apart from the crowd.

None have succeeded quite like Nike, who have released a number of successful and influential ad campaigns over the last few months, including the ‘For Once, Don’t Do It’ and the ‘You Can’t Stop Us’ campaign.

The financial loss in the sporting world, and the rest of the world, due to COVID-19 is undeniable, and likely won’t completely recover for a number of years, but that won’t stop brands and athletes from doing whatever they can to create their own commercial value while they can’t play their sport.