?Dan Donnelly (photo) leads the Sports division for Publicis Media. His assignment includes responsibilities across the full Sports Marketing spectrum, including Strategy, Planning, Rights Acquisition, and Activation.

Donnelly was one of the key participants at our Sports Marketing Forum in NYC on Sept. 13, 2018, which kickstarted #Portada17. Other speakers were major marketers at Anheuser Busch, Mastercard, and Allstate. Donnelly spoke in the session “Passion for Soccer”. Michael Neuman, EVP, Managing Partner, Scout Sports, and Entertainment joined him. Donnelly talked to Portada about the 2018 Soccer World Cup, the Publicis reorg, soccer fans and more…

Portada: How do you evaluate the 2018 Soccer World Cup Opportunity? What role do you expect it to have for your clients?

Dan Donnelly, EVP, Managing Director, Publicis Media Sports.: “In the U.S. market as a whole, we look at World Cup years as opportunities to engage fans and consumers that might not always be thinking about soccer. For instance, when working with brands deeply involved with soccer already, we focus on staying true to who they are as a brand. But also, we try to embrace the casual soccer fans that will pay closer attention as the World Cup gets closer and throughout the tournament itself. For nontraditional soccer marketers, we find the opportunity to connect in an authentic and relevant way. Fans won’t think that the brand doesn’t belong or shouldn’t be in the space.”

When working with brands deeply involved with soccer already, we focus on staying true to who they are as a brand.

How is the Sports area impacted by Publicis Media’s recent reorg into the agencies (Spark Foundry, Starcom, Zenith, Blue 449)?

D.D.:“Our offering, capabilities, and approaches aren’t impacted at all. However, we had 2 organizations before the re-org (SPORTS at SMG and Sponsorship Intelligence on the Zenith Optimedia side). We combined those two to form one entity (PM Sports).”

How has the way you work for your clients in sports marketing projects changed over the last 5 years?

fans soccerD.D.: “The approach and thinking haven’t changed at all. First and foremost, it’s about helping our clients to achieve their business and communications objectives. Of course, the marketing landscape as a whole continues to evolve and new opportunities exist to engage fans and consumers with relevant break through content across more platforms, particularly mobile. It’s also now easier than ever to understand consumer behavior and the actions they’re taking by using technology advancements to aggregate and analyze data.”

Today’s sports marketer must have a never-ending desire and dedication to learn and evolve.

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What does it take to be a successful sports marketer in today’s environment?

D.D: “Today’s communications industry experts (whether sports dedicated or anything else) must have a never-ending desire and dedication to learn and evolve. While it’s not possible to know everything that’s going on, and where things are going next, reading and talking to people (industry experts and everyday consumers) that bring different thoughts, capabilities, and even questions are the best way to stay as up to speed on trends and opportunities to break through and engage fans as marketers.”

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