Athletes’ Social Justice and Cause-Related Marketing Efforts Are Booming
By Ken Reed
Several sports stars, including Naomi Osaka, Marcus Rashford, Megan Rapinoe and Lewis Hamilton, have seen their social followings and engagement rates soar after using their platforms for social justice causes this year. Socially-responsible brands have seen a similar boost.
The increases have been driven largely by younger, socially-conscious fans and consumers. According to Nielsen Data Fan Insight research, 48 percent of 16 to 29-year-olds say they have an increased interest in socially responsible brands in 2020, a year marked by the Covid-19 pandemic and social justice protests. Older age groups have also seen a spike in interest in this category. Forty-six percent of 30 to 49-year-olds and 34 percent of 50 to 69-year-olds say they are more interested in socially responsible brands in 2020.
“The social upheaval that’s been caused by the global pandemic is likely to reshape what sports marketing looks like in future,” said Samantha Lamberti, a consultant for Nielsen Sports. “As a result, we will see a shift in brands realigning their marketing strategies to ensure they support different social causes.”
The growing interest in companies that conduct business in socially responsible ways could change the branding and marketing efforts for both athletes and their sponsors moving forward.
“We will see this continued change in behavior with brands not only adapting their own strategies to ensure they align themselves with social causes but we will also see them work closer with athletes that represent similar values and beliefs as they do in order to be seen by consumers as authentic,” said Lamberti.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
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Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- League of Fans Sports Policy Director Ken Reed quoted in Washington Post column titled "What happened to P.E.? It’s losing ground in our push for academic improvement," by Jay Mathews
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Vanderbilt Sport & Society - On The Ball with Andrew Maraniss with guest Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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