Reproduction in sports marketing or why sex does not sell


Understanding the brain’s work and various cognitive biases is increasingly seeping into the daily lives of people of different specialties, as we are all looking for an opportunity for a competitive advantage.

Various elements like the importance of being the first to name the price, make a good first impression by appearance, not to reject tea/coffee—all this is already known to many. Others go further, trying to study a huge number of existing cognitive biases.

However, if we read a book or watch a film, we try to do this from the first seconds and the first pages. It’s the same with understanding people’s decisions: it is important to understand where the roots come from. For it is always easier to understand a small basis than a large number of consequences.

While the reason for our existence is singular—reproduction. This is what our genes want from us. As much has changed during evolution and due to our own complications, it has forced the genes to create still new veiled ways of making us give offspring and ensure its survival.

Strange as it may seem, our whole lives submit to reproduction. Give birth to and keep the offspring, take care of good education for it, buy it an apartment, find a good job for it, make it get married, and get its own offspring.

That is the background, against which the whole life of most people goes on. Fortunately, we’ve already got a fairly developed prefrontal cortex, and in those moments when there is enough energy, it can help us make a decision not to be led by our genes.

Especially when hormones do not affect us as much as during adolescence, and frustration in relationships has created a sufficient number of negative somatic markers.

Today, we will discuss how the desire for reproduction can be used for the benefit of sports marketing.

To begin with, it is necessary to repeat an important axiom: sex does not sell. However logical it may seem, but sex as a marketing tool was effective exclusively in 1970–80s, when it could be considered shocking, drawing attention to the brand. That is, at that time, sex could be used in the strategy of bringing a new product to the market.

However, by hurling the reproduction in the consumer’s forehead, the only thing marketers achieve is the brain’s full focus on the reproduction, as the basic program of our existence gets activated. Even survival obeys it.

Fortunately, you can move a few steps back, leaving an understatement and uncertainty. Thus, raising the dopamine level and playing on testosterone. You’ve probably heard those obsessive rumors about some social groups inside which men are popular.

Argumentation is, by the way, quite logical: the number of female representatives in such groups is higher. In fact, this definitely raises the men’s value, but not as drastically as it might seem and be wanted. After all, our brain is far from operating with logic.

To understand what I’m pointing at, let’s consider first how dopamine is used in gambling for creating addiction.

Why do you think it’s important to give a person a chance to win in gambling immediately? The dopamine system in response to a situation that gives better results than expected, reacts with a strong dopamine release. As a result, the brain raises the value of this particular situation.

And then everything is simple: a little more dopamine than necessary, and dependence is guaranteed. In the case of gambling, it looks like the person’s expectations of the game are greater than they should be.

But if a person immediately loses all over again, there occurs the opposite situation: the brain receives a command from the dopamine system to lower the situation’s value.

But in the case of sports neuromarketing, by combining reproduction with dopamine, the club opens a new chapter in its own interaction with the fans. One just needs to change the brand positioning (at least for a specific target audience), reviewing further the strategy of cooperation with the fans.

The only thing needed is to create a separate vip-layer of fans, which is not that easy to get to, and makes living outside of it unbearable. For rumors are running that its representatives are as cool and popular with the opposite sex as possible.

That is, on the one hand, there are high expectations, while on the other—the presence of uncertainty. This will raise the dopamine level significantly. Then everything depends on your imagination and possibilities.

For example, in one of the strategies, we’ve added the IKEA effect (I’ve already written about it in the article on motivation), reading that the subjective value of something goes up, if we make effort to achieve results. As a result, an uncomplicated quest to join the “special” group could be realized with the sponsorship activation.

IKEA effect

In fact, there are many suitable cognitive biases that allow different ways of reproduction and dopamine’s engagement. Using a little imagination, you will get excellent results.

I’ve already written on the particularity of testosterone usage in sports marketing. The point is that after selecting a separate segment called “fans with a high testosterone level,” the most interesting work begins. Forget about discounts, as well as other uninteresting and in most cases ineffective tools.

When you exert an external influence on the fans’ testosterone levels, you can quite effectively appeal to the reproduction module. To do it for the sake of an interesting PR story or for monetization (do not forget about the conspicuous consumption, which is positively affected by testosterone)—is up to you to decide.

For example, while working with an American audience, one can organize a contest for the best fan by making a date with a miss of a small town, thus increasing the activity in the stadium. In the case of Eastern Europe, we are faced with a difference in the work of community management in the US and post-Soviet countries. Therefore, other regions require developing other strategies.

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Best regards,

Leon The Alien


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SEE ALSO: 6 ways to reduce “pain” in the brain in sales, and why there is more effective solution


Images: Mike Dorner, giphy