Social Media Report - 2nd December

Hot Topic

Top football clubs join forces to launch new social media network

Top football clubs join forces to launch new social media networkA number of the world’s largest football clubs are collaborating on a new social media network, which aims to replicate the success of Facebook for their supporters. Nearly two dozen teams including Arsenal, Chelsea, Barcelona and Bayern Munich have joined forces to launch Dugout.com, which has also signed partnerships with more than 150 individual players, including Gareth Bale, Alexis Sanchez and Neymar. The site officially launched on Monday in eight languages and offers a dedicated profile page for each club and player partner. The social network promises fans exclusive content, including behind-the scenes videos and interviews. ‘The game today is truly global and fans today don’t just want to watch matches, they want to follow their favourite clubs and players across the world, on and off the pitch’, said Dugout’s co-founder and president Elliot Richardson. Reflecting the growing interest in Asia, one of the launch languages will be Indonesian. It will also team up with ‘leading football influencers and legends’ including Pele, to create their own profiles and provide content. The new social network will be promoted at partner club stadiums from this week, via digital advertising on hoardings, as well as in match programmes and on club  websites. To celebrate the launch, 77 top players took part in the Touch Challenge, the largest number of footballers to ever feature in a video for a brand

Dugout claims it is the first time so many of the world’s top clubs have partnered for a commercial venture, a fact which will help it develop a vast fan base by offering exclusive content 24 hours before it is released on other social media sites. The social network will be free to access and plans to adopt Facebook’s model of selling advertising against what it hopes will become a large user base.  Launch partners include Coca Cola, BetVictor and Allianz. Former Google, Buzzfeed and AOL executive Kate Burns has been appointed executive vice-president and is tasked with driving commercialism. She revealed: ‘It has been designed to engage and attract millennials from across the globe and we know this is a critical audience for advertisers to reach.’ 

PR and Marketing in Social Media

Agent Provocateur slips into uncharted territory with WhatsApp campaign

Agent Provocateur is claiming a brand first with the rollout of its new WhatsApp campaign.  The ‘Ménage à Trois’ WhatsApp chat feature allows couples to shop with its agents, and makes up part of a larger holiday campaign called Naughty or Nice, which highlights the duality of women via features such as a dual-sided video.  An agent will advise couples, in a three-way group chat in WhatsApp, whether to choose naughty or nice items from the Agent Provocateur Christmas collection to suit their personalities, with the aim of driving them in-store to make their purchase. Agent Provocateur said it had chosen to launch its biggest ever campaign on WhatsApp because of the role of mobile in choosing Christmas presents. Bridey Lipscombe, CEO of the Cult LDN agency, which worked on the Ménage à Trois campaign, commented: ‘The initiative takes a revolutionary step into using the messaging platform to drive a campaign, taking advantage of the group chat function on WhatsApp to provide a personal shopping and recommendation-based service.’  WhatsApp was seen as a natural channel for Agent Provocateur for many reasons, among them the 1.6 billion people using their mobile devices to shop online globally, with 56pc expected to choose mobile when buying presents in the run up to Christmas.

‘Agent Provocateur shop girls have been using WhatsApp as a customer service tool, but it has not been publicised until now. Used by 1 billion people currently worldwide, WhatsApp is the most nimble platform - it doesn't impinge on peoples’ day - it's quick, simple and easy,’ said Lipscombe.

Social Media Brands

Facebook launches Express WiFi trial in India

Facebook has confirmed its project to provide internet connectivity to India is now live. The social network’s Express WiFi website revealed the update, noting ‘we’re working with carriers, internet service providers, and local entrepreneurs to help expand connectivity  to underserved locations around the world. We’re currently live in India, and are expanding to other regions soon’. Through its Express WiFi initiative, Facebook will allow customers to buy fast, reliable and affordable data packs using digital vouchers to access the internet. The social network hasn’t shared locations where the programme is currently live, as it is still testing the service. Nor has it revealed pricing details.

Express WiFi is part of Facebook’s Internet.org initiative and is separate from its Free Basics programme that was banned by the Indian government earlier this year due to issues surrounding net neutrality. Free Basics offers limited access to a few websites. The social network’s chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said he was ‘disappointed’ with the decision at the time but noted: ‘Connecting India is an important goal we won’t give up’. 

Facebook Messenger offers Instant Games

Facebook Messenger’s new Instant Games makes Pac-Man, Space Invaders, and Words With Friends Frenzy available from a user’s message threads. Built on the HTML5 mobile web standard, they load in seconds and Facebook hopes some friendly competition will entice people to spend even more time in Messenger.  Instant Games has launched  in 30 countries including the US, with 17 games.  Competition is asynchronous, and Messenger automatically shares high scores and leader boards, making it easy to challenge people. The social side of gaming is a large part of how Facebook is trying to engage players with the new feature. ’What we see is the conversations that you have with Messenger create these unique experiences where you talk to the people you really care about, in small groups, and those groups become this private space where you can have games and contests with one another,’ says Messenger product manager Andrea Vaccari. ‘So we partnered with games developers but added the special ingredient of that personal space’, he added. To access games, users will have to turn off encryption in Messenger. The biggest draw of Instant Games is how quickly playing can begin, and people can also share a stylised high score screenshot that can be doodled on top of, like Snapchat, to trash talk opponents.  

If it can use its 1 billion-user reach to lure top developers and put games just two clicks away, Facebook might have found something to add to Messenger that’s almost as addictive as talking with friends. ‘Over time we’ll find ways for game developers to monetise,’ says Facebook’s head of Messenger David Marcus. ‘That’s our commitment to them in the new year.’

Clarkson, Hammond and May unveil ‘Facebook for cars’ 

Jeremy Clarkson and his colleagues from The Grand Tour say that even traffic wardens will be welcome on DriveTribe, their new ’Facebook for cars’ social network. The website allows motoring fans to follow ‘tribes’ of people with similar interests. Car lovers can join tribes based on their personal interests or start up their own if they can't find one to suit them.  DriveTribe aims to reach the same broad demographic who tuned in to Top Gear, and the social network will be closely monitored to prevent trolling and the uploading of content that might upset its family-friendly vibe. Technology investor and entrepreneur Ernesto Schmitt is the site’s chief executive and the group is looking to grow from 20 UK editorial team members to 60, with worldwide, multi-language launches by autumn 2017. Richard Hammond concluded: ‘Gamers have got Twitch, travellers have got TripAdvisor and fashion fans have got, oh, something or other too…There’s no grand-scale online motoring community where people can meet and share video, comments, information and opinion. DriveTribe will change that. And then some.’

Clarkson says women are already beginning to flock to the site. ‘There are plenty of tribes being set up by women, arguing ‘it's nonsense to say that only men are interested in cars.’  Both Hammond and Clarkson agree that May is by far the most tech-savvy of the trio. May is even ‘hip’ enough to use SnapChat. ‘I'm not averse to social media,’ he says. ‘I think the internet is the best thing to have happened in my lifetime, if not the whole of history.’