2021 was a year of perseverance, pivots and innovation in the Fan Marketing space. With a 44% increase in digital campaign usage, and more than 10 million tracked clicks, our partners have been busier than ever connecting with their fans.

What better way to start the year than by highlighting those who went above and beyond?

Read on to discover the winners of our second annual Fan Marketing Awards - the best fan marketing campaigns, ads, shows and engagements of 2021:

Best in Digital Campaigns


Sports

Sports

The Swannies’ “Final Frenzy” bundle launched as a series of daily activations that lasted for the entire month leading up to the AFL Grand Final. They used this bundle to fulfill partnerships, generate leads & engage fans in the most efficient way possible.

Key Takeaways:
Reduce time to build, and improve marketing qualified leads. The Sydney Swans were able to showcase 25 campaigns over 25 days by pre-establishing themes and guidelines for each campaign. Then, throughout these 25 campaigns, they gradually asked fans increasingly strategic questions in an engaging way.


Gaming + Entertainment

Best Gaming + Entertainment Digital Campaign

At the beginning of 2021, Gila River Hotels and Casinos [GRHC] saw a major opportunity to leverage their partnerships with major sports teams to become the leader in sports betting in Arizona. They turned to Tradable Bits to centralize their data, create sponsored assets and engage fans.

Key Takeaway:
Leverage new networks. Starting from a weekly campaign for one sports partner, they expanded to up to 30 partner activations a week across multiple partnerships - quickly becoming the “glue” between different teams and their fans.

Music

Best Music Digital Campaign

Running as Australia was entering its first “post-Covid” summer in 2021, this Spin to Win campaign for Summer Sounds was put together to give fans the spark of excitement they needed. The team at Secret Sounds came up with a creative take on our Spin to Win Campaign by playing off the classic Wheel of Fortune game. The quirky, colourful campaign featured some awesome prizing and created the perfect low-barrier opportunity to gather first-party data.

Key Takeaway:
If it’s part of your brand image, have fun with it. Secret Sounds’ quirky voice and branding with this campaign made it stickier for fans.

Best Engagement Campaign Design

Best Engagement Campaign Design

The Perth Wildcats doubled down on a mobile-first strategy for their regular post-game campaigns. Their design team used clean graphics and large images for easy mobile viewing. This allowed for a strong format that could be recycled for other uses, all while creating a simplistic yet stunning campaign.

Key Takeaway:
The Wildcats showed us the ultimate playbook on designing for mobile-first: pre-planning, image sizing, and simplicity

Best Digital and Physical Activation Combination

South Carolina Gamecocks

The South Carolina Gamecocks wanted to create a truly unique fan experience to highlight their Sponsor- Coca-Cola. They turned to Tradable Bits to implement a city-wide scavenger hunt. During this campaign, fans were tasked with hunting down 6 unique digital trading cards in exchange for the chance to win a bigger prize.

Key Takeaway:
Try more creative ways to put your fans in front of your sponsors. The Gamecocks brought something new and exciting to the table for their fans, while also exposing them to Coca-Cola products.

Best Partner-Branded Activation

Toronto Raptors

The Toronto Raptors are always at the forefront when it comes to giving their partners deeper value to drive their revenue. This partnered campaign with Ford Motor Company was no different - they used data from our Personality Quiz to differentiate and provide real value.

Key Takeaway:
Use fun ways to progressively profile your fans. Their personality quiz - with a combination of quiz questions and smart data capture fields - is a textbook example of how to drive extra value for partners, while keeping it light for fans.

Most Successful Campaign (Short-Term)

Breeders' Cup

The Breeders’ Cup wanted to build hype for their world championship in Del-Mar California. They designed the “Dreaming of Del-Mar campaign,” using a Tradable Bits entry form to give one lucky individual a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Key Takeaway:
The right incentive leads to better data. With 10s of thousands of entries, the Breeders’ Cup not only achieved their goal of driving interest for the Del-Mar race, but they also set themselves up for the future with strategic data collection.

Most Successful Sustained Campaign

BC Hydro

With over a million entries into their Holiday Bundle, BC Hydro knows how to engage their audience. Using an advent calendar style countdown, BC Hydro engaged their audience for the entire month of December using a multitude of different engagement campaigns that mixed in educational moments.

Key Takeaway:
Take advantage of tentpole events to bring a year of engagement altogether. BC Hydro launched their annual advent calendar on the back of a year-long campaign to educate, connect and reach their audience - giving folks a chance to win prizes and unwind. It was the perfect campaign at the perfect moment.

Best Use of a Campaign for CSR

Dallas Mavericks

The Mavs Foundation has been supporting its local community for over 25 years. Looking to empower fans to donate, the Dallas Mavericks launched 2 campaigns that inspired thousands of fans to raise $18,000 in just 1 hour.

Key Takeaway:
Lean into gamification. In transitioning a typically live event to digital, the Mav’s made it interactive for fans by tying donations to “Mystery Prizes”.

Best Use of Fan Data

Sports

Fremantle Dockers

​​Looking to expand their fan base the Fremantle Dockers implemented a “one-two-punch” strategy using Tradable Bits’ Advertising Platform and Entry form. Their strategy was focused - they wanted to create segmented audiences of new fans, to which they would then exclusively market their campaign.

Key Takeaway:
Action your existing data. By starting with the fans they knew, the Fremantle Dockers came up with a cohesive advertising strategy to reach new fans.

Music

Life is Beautiful

Life is Beautiful was set on obtaining affinity data to understand exactly who their fans were listening to. Using the Lineup Predictor campaign powered by Tradable Bits’ Spotify integration, fans voted for who they wanted to see at the 2022 Life is Beautiful festival.

Key Takeaway:
Provide personal value to fans in addition to prizing. Life is Beautiful gave fans the chance to share their thoughts on the roadmap of the festival. As a result, they transformed an engagement opportunity into insights to inform their booking strategy.

Gaming + Entertainment

SuperflyX for 'the friend's Experience'

The FRIENDS™ Experience continues to grow as a multi-city event, making brand recognition crucial. The Superfly X FRIENDS™ Experience leveraged several campaigns, as well as Tradable Bits’ FanCRM and Advertising Platform to build a marketing database, increase brand awareness & drive sales.

Key Takeaways:
Centralize, clean and activate your data. Then build regular engagements to capture more. The Superfly X team knows how to work with data, capturing ticketing, merch and first-party data with their TBits FanCRM. Every insight they gathered, they transitioned into hyper-segmented audiences that got the right message in front of the right fan - whether that be through email, SMS or digital ads.

Best Social Ad Campaign Creative

Country Nation

Tortuga Festival knows how to capture the right fan attention to drive sales. This year, their creative assets for their social ads checked all the boxes. Not only did they have a consistent (and dreamy) theme throughout all of their digital ad creative, but they cleverly used notable causes, like World Ocean Day, to showcase what their festival is all about. They did a great job engaging fans while driving positive business results, including a sell-out year.

Key Takeaways:
Consistency is king. Selling an event is all about amplifying the story and experience of that event. Tortuga did this incredibly well by amplifying their theme throughout all creatives. They also played around with various ad styles, including video, animation and flashy videos.

Best Livestream Event

Live Nation

It's a great time to be an Air Miles member! In a year where live events were cancelled, Live Nation Canada and their sponsors at Air Miles were able to super-serve their gold and onyx members with an exclusive digital concert featuring Jim Cuddy.

Key Takeaway:
Build moments for interaction and community into your Livestream. From an intimate gated experience to the serenade of a Canadian Legend, Live Nation Canada and Air Miles showcased what a premium online event looks like.

Best In-Venue Activation

Portland Trail Blazers

With the 2021 NBA season coming in hot, the Portland Trail Blazers reminded fans what being in the stands is all about. They organized two live Tradable Bits Campaigns - “Be the DJ” and “Memory Match.” Moda Center was jamming all night.

Key Takeaway: It’s all about personalizing the in-stadium experience. The Trail Blazers:

  1. Gave power back to their fans, letting them vote for their preferred 4th quarter song,
  2. Mixed digital with a very special human element - letting fans compete against their players.

Best Use of UGC

West Coast Eagles

When fan-favourite and captain - Bunga - reached a milestone of 300 matches, the West Coast Eagles created a gated community space for fans to share messages and photos of congratulations. Then they amplified their message with the hashtag ‘Bunga300’.

The West Coast Eagles effectively centralized more content, lowered the barrier to entry for fans, and created an easy environment for fans to share their favourite moments, photos, and wishes for Shannon Hurn.

Key Takeaway:
UGC is all about making it easy for fans to share. By creating a more private space for fans to directly upload their videos, wishes and photos, the West Coast Eagles did exactly that.

Best Use of AR

the Tennessee Titans

The Titan’s Instagram AR Filter connected with a younger generation of fans while paying homage to their past. Their filter took inspiration from fans in the late 90s who would sport a flaming wig on game day, showcasing another layer of creative brilliance seeing that nostalgia is a trending topic for Gen Z.

Key Takeaway: It’s all about crafting a story. The Titans know exactly what will resonate with their fans, and are gung-ho about creating more moments for engagement with their younger demographics.

Most Innovative Partner of the Year

MLSE

2021 was another year where fan-based industries had to adapt. MLSE is a shining example of how to do so. Collaborating with Tradable Bits’ Innovation Lab, MLSE created a multitude of custom projects to provide value to their fans, their business and their corporate partners. From new engagement campaigns to Game Time Live™ (which has hosted over 180 games to date), MLSE was committed to enhancing the overall fan experience.

Key Takeaways:
Use digital innovations to amplify live experiences. While initially designed for fans who couldn’t attend games in person, Game Time Live™ has transformed into a quintessential second-screen experience that engages fans on and off the court.

And that's a wrap! To learn more about the Fan Marketing Award Winners you can dig deeper here.

Happy Marketing!

Share this