All-action ads kick goals

All-action ads kick goals

Sport is central to the nation’s cultural identity – we play, watch and talk about it endlessly. So, how does this passion translate into audience response to sports-themed advertising? TANYA SHINN benchmarks two recent executions.

In this Creative Benchmarking study two sports-themed ads have been tested – one from vitamin giant Swisse and the other from telco provider Optus.

The verdict: sports imagery grabs reader attention and lifts brand equity scores.

Optus Execution


The Optus execution features an attention-grabbing image of English Premier League (EPL) players to promote an offer of free coverage to customers on eligible plans.

The telco provider, which snatched the EPL rights from Fox Sports Australia, uses the familiar ‘Yes’ slogan to frame the image. Detailed copy outlines the offer, while Optus and EPL branding appear in the bottom-right foreground.

There is also a specific call-to-action to ring or go to a website for more information, and an offer deadline.

Swisse Execution


Swisse was a sponsor of the ‘Powering Australian Olympic and Paralympic Dreams’ campaign. This ad uses an action-image of Olympic cycling athlete and Swisse Ambassador, Matthew Glaetzer, to promote the Ultivite vitamin range.

Swisse branding features heavily, as does the ‘Australian’s No.1multivitam brand’ tag-line. Smaller text promotes #Swissepoweringdreams.

Strategic RoleMap

Six strategic advertising roles of newspapers have been validated both qualitatively and quantitatively by NewsMediaWorks, resulting in the creation of RoleMap. For more information on this map, click here.


The Swisse creative performed exceptionally in lifting respondent affinity with the brand.

One in five readers (21%) said the ad gave them a positive feeling towards Swisse – a significantly higher score than the average newspaper ad of 9 per cent.

“I liked the ad, it mentions Olympians using the product,” said one respondent.

The Optus ad lifted respondent brand affinity 6 per cent above the newspaper average to 15 per cent.

The Optus ad also produced a reappraisal score of 15 per cent, indexing two-times above the norm for encouraging people to think differently about the brand. 

“I think it’s the first time a telecom provider has provided sport content for free that is not based in Australia,said one.


Newspapers are recognised as an effective medium for delivering a Call to Action. ActionMap, another proprietary newspaper metric, expands on this strategic role to provide an understanding of the types of action a newspaper ad inspires. For more information on ActionMap, click here.


Both brand ads inspired respondents to think, successfully encouraging desirable behaviours.

Some 16 per cent of respondents who viewed the Swisse execution said they would look out for the brand after seeing this ad.

The Optus ad performed exceptionally well in encouraging word of mouth about the offer (9%, or three times more effective than the average). Some 15 percent said they would mention the ad to sport-loving family and friends (vs. 10% newspaper norm).

Brand Perceptions


A key challenge for telco providers is differentiation. The Optus creative was particularly successful with two in five (40%) respondents saying the ad offer made the Optus brand seem different.

“It tells you straight that you get something for nothing if you are an Optus customer,” said a respondent.

The ad was also successful in driving familiarity, with 37 per cent of respondents saying the ad made the brand more familiar (vs. 28% average).

The Swisse ad also scored well in improving brand equity. Its use of a familiar theme of sports and vitamins helped to improve familiarity with the brand (37%).

“For me the brand is very memorable. It has become a household name and the first brand you think of when looking for vitamins.”

Creative Diagnostics

This NewsMediaWorks’ proprietary newspaper metric, provides a set of creative diagnostics unique to the attributes of newspaper advertising.  They’ve been developed to help identify areas for improvement where results across other brand and advertising measures may require further analysis and interrogation.


Swisse scored well in terms of visual appeal with 37 per cent saying the ad had a great image, and 29 per cent agreeing the ad looked good. One said: “It stands out more because of the striking image and the facial features of the cyclist.” Another respondent said, “The ad does grab your attention and is rather topical with the Olympics.”

The ad also scored higher than the average in terms of making it easy to see what is on offer (37% vs. 32% retail ad average).

A negative was 28 per cent of respondents said it was similar to other vitamin ads, which is 7 per cent more than the newspaper ad average of 21 per cent.

One in three (35%) said the Optus creative appealed to them visually, and one in four (25%) said the headline made them want to stop and read.

The heavy use of text turned some people off, with one in five (21%) respondents saying the ad looked cluttered.



The Optus ad encouraged brand reappraisal and increased familiarity, with many feeling that the ad differentiated the telecommunications provider from its competitors.

The offer also lifted word-of-mouth scores and produced significantly higher than average scores for readers planning to tear-out and keep. However, some found the copy too long.


The Swisse creative had strong visual appeal due to the use of an action shot of home-grown Olympic athlete, Matthew Glaetzer.

Respondents felt the campaign improved their understanding of the brand, while increasing positive sentiment toward Swisse. It also lifted consumer-action scores among those who said they would look out for the brand.



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