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Muscle Milk targets mobile sports fans for brand positioning campaign

Fitness brand Muscle Milk is enlisting mobile advertising to hit a group of sports fans during the National Collegiate Athletic Association?s March Madness basketball tournament.

Muscle Milk is running a campaign within theScore?s mobile properties as part of a bigger campaign that recruits 12 professional athletes as the brand?s spokespeople. With the bulk of March Madness games taking place during the day, the goal behind the campaign is to target consumers who are away from televised games and are therefore relying on their mobile devices to stay connected throughout the tournament.

?[Brands] obviously like integrating during major tent poles around sporting, so March Madness is one of the big ones and it?s a very mobile-centric event for us,? said Ethan Ross, senior vice president of global sales at theScore, New York.

?Muscle Milk actually just recently signed several professional athletes as their spokespersons,? he said. ?Their big initiative is to position the brand awareness in a premium way to a mass audience.?

Brand on mobile
Muscle Milk has taken over theScore?s launch app unit within the company?s iOS and Android app.

When consumers launch theScore app, Muscle Milk?s full-page ad pops up.

Additionally, Muscle Milk?s ads surround March Madness content within a special section of the app for the tournament. These banner ads feature rich media and expand across the screen when consumers click on them.

For example, one ad features Golden State Warriors? player Stephen Curry. Copy on the full-size ad reads, ?Workout + Protein = Strength.? 

A click-through on the ad directs consumers to a landing page that pulls in a section of Muscle Milk?s mobile site that lists the company?s products.

Consumers can click on each product to learn more, and there is also a digital calculator that estimates how much protein a person should be getting a day based on their activity level and weight.

The mobile ad campaign and new spokespeople are part of a bigger initiative from Muscle Milk to break into the mass market of sports enthusiasts. The company?s protein and energy-packed drinks and snacks up until recently were targeted towards a more niche demographic, per Mr. Ross.

The campaign runs through March Madness and ends on April 30.

Tournament-specific content
TheScore is also adding several March Madness-specific features to its mobile apps this year.

One feature is called the Upset Tracker, which alerts consumers when a lower-ranked team is about to win a game and could therefore potentially flip the tournament?s standings.

The idea behind Upset Tracker is that consumers will follow the game in real-time via theScore?s mobile app once they receive the alert.

Additionally, a team of 35 reporters push out mobile-focused news to theScore?s properties. TheScore estimates that there will be 30-35 updates to the NCAA section of the company?s app during March Madness.

There is also a bracket view section of theScore?s app for March Madness that lets sports fans track their teams as they move throughout the tournament.

After March Madness ends, the next big push for theScore will be around the FIFA World Cup this summer with another tournament-specific section.

?Generally we find that sports is a utility, much like the weather or news, so users are looking for specific content but in a mobile format, and that is what we excel at,? Mr. Ross said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York