Having taken on the Kickmaster range in 2001 to take advantage of football being boys’ most popular pastime, MV has successfully highlighted the sector through TV, endorsements and PR.
The striking black and yellow Kickmaster products sit between cheap toy products and serious adult targeted football equipment and have a track record in keeping the football sector fresh, cool and relevant.
MV Sports is now throwing more weight than ever behind the brand, with a huge marketing campaign throughout Q1 and Q2 this year.
The campaign takes in five main elements. The first centres on a new product, Boot It, which will be supported by a traditional TV advertising programme. Boot It is a new, innovative, technology driven hero product for the Kickmaster portfolio, which was one of the driving factors for launching the marketing campaign.
Phil Ratcliffe, sales and marketing director, explains: “We have a wow product in Boot It, which combines the fun training/skill development aspect of the Kickmaster brand with indoor electronic games.
“In the same way that Wii Fit has successfully combined the concept of exercise and electronic gaming, we want the Kickmaster concept of improving football skills to move in the same direction.”
The ad campaign will run from July to August, then October to December and is estimated to incorporate 450 TVRs overall.
The second main reason for the campaign, is to increase awareness, as Ratcliffe explains: “It is important that when faced with a choice, kids will choose the Kickmaster brand because it is a brand that they know and trust whilst being successful at the same time.”
Next is a sponsorship deal with the Disney XD channel. Kickmaster is the official sponsor of Goalmouth and its spin-off series, Football Funnies, new programmes aiming to be ‘a younger person’s Soccer AM’.
The sponsorship includes a ‘sponsored by Kickmaster’ bumper, which is featured four times per show, racking up an impressive 172 bumpers over the course of the deal. Over 1.8 million children aged four to 15 are estimated to watch the show, encompassing almost 650,000 boys aged seven to 12.
Ratcliffe comments: “We want to spread the awareness of the Kickmaster brand to a new generation of footballers.
“Our links with and sponsorship of Disney XD’s Goalmouth TV series is perfect for the brand because football crazy kids will be made aware of the Kickmaster brand while watching this excellent new football magazine style show.”
For retailers which support Kickmaster, there is the option to have an in-pack promotion, offering a brand relevant, free football training session in association with Premier Sport. Sessions are available across the UK and the offer is designed to emphasise the skill training message of the brand.
Targeting boys directly in a fourth section of the campaign, is the Fantasy Football League competition, which Kickmaster sponsored for the month of April. The monthly quiz section boasts 2,000 – 3,000 unique page views per week and welcomes over 50,000 players per season.
Tying in with each of the other four strands of the activity, is the www.kickmaster.tv website. Initially, Disney will create a hub through its website, www.disney.co.uk, for viewers of the Goalmouth series to play games, quizzes, watch clips, get football tips and enter competitions.
The Goalmouth website, which is forecast to generate over two million hits, will link to the Kickmaster page, which includes product information, games, competitions and links to retailer websites. Once the series is over, content from the Disney hub will move to the Kickmaster site.
With all of this activity, it seems there will be few boys in the UK who don’t know about Kickmaster by the end of the year. Although the range enjoyed strong growth last year as a result of the World Cup, Ratcliffe has high hopes for further sale increases this year: “We anticipate double digit growth this year as a result of the activity in place.”
This is largely due to the focus of the campaign. As opposed to the wide reach of TV ads, this marketing has been designed to hit the core audience. Ratcliffe explains: “The activity is ‘laser targeted’ with no waste in terms of reach. Every strand of activity is reaching kids who have an active interest in football.”
And this certainly isn’t a one-goal wonder. MV plans to expand the concept of Boot It further once it has established itself and more marketing will roll-out in 2012 and beyond.