Rees-Zammit’s NFL Sprint to Coffee Shops’ Replication Mystery.

The Takeaway is Trippant’s round-up of essential stories on communications trends in sport, entertainment and experience.  

This week: the IOC gets the (non-alcoholic) beers in, Bruin backs Box To Box Films, Rees-Zammit makes a dash for the NFL, the Predator and the Gladiators reboot, why coffee shops replicate themselves, and more.  

The Drum on AB InBev’s Olympic plans

A top-tier global Olympic sponsorship in a new category in a Summer Games year is a big industry story from any angle and AB InBev’s landmark deal with the IOC is sure to have a wider significance. 

The brewing giant is the first ever Olympic beer partner and will lead with its Corona Cero alcohol-free brand for Paris 2024 – partly as a way around the Loi Evin blackout on booze promotion during sport, but also in a consolidation of long-term trends in the sector. 

If it can further interrupt the connection between watching live events and consuming alcohol, AB InBev could broaden the conversation with its consumers around sport. 

The Hollywood Reporter on new backing for Drive to Survive’s producers

The sheer volume of content unleashed by the sports documentary boom may have prompted fears of oversaturation in recent months, but momentum is still building for one of the leading companies in the space. 

Fresh from selling its majority holding in marketing agency Two Circles for £250 million, private equity firm Bruin Sports Capital has spent a reported UK£30 million on a minority stake in Box To Box Films. The UK-based production company’s credits include Tour De France: Unchained, tennis series Break Point, and the Formula 1 smash hit Drive To Survive –it aims to use its investment to ‘expand into self-financed projects as well as new verticals’.

High Snobiety on the return of the Predator

30 years ago, Adidas wrote a new chapter in the sports marketing playbook when it introduced the Predator, combining proprietary technology with aspirational messaging to bring high performance to the football boot business.

Its latest entry in that line pays homage to the 90s design choices that made early editions so distinctive and compelling, while it has reinvigorated its advertising with a Jude Bellingham-fronted campaign that recalls big-budget efforts of the past.

Limited edition releases are bringing the whole thing up to speed with the ‘drop culture’ of footwear sales in the 2020s.

Fast Company on the latest venture for a women’s sport pioneer

Billie Jean King is one of the most important figures in the history of women’s sport, winning titles, respect and commercial rewards for herself and her peers on and off the tennis court. 

A founding member of the WTA in 1973, the 80-year-old is now there for the start of another competition making its way in a different era for women’s sport. She is an investor in and advisor to the National Women’s Hockey League, dropping the puck at the inaugural game this month amid considerable optimism.

The Independent on Louis Rees-Zammit’s NFL run

Wales will launch their assault on rugby union’s Six Nations Championship next month without one of their most exciting young talents. 

Louis Rees-Zammit has confirmed that he will drop out of the Wales squad, and his contract with Gloucester Rugby, to take a place in the NFL International Player Pathway. 

The 22-year-old wing is in no way the first athlete from another sport to try and find a way into gridiron’s big show. And though the programme offers only an outside chance of a pro contract, it is central to the NFL’s efforts to diversify its rosters and sustain its push for global growth. 

AdWeek on the campaign that went up in smoke

It was the breakout campaign that made headlines and drew smiling acclaim but did Solo Stove’s endorsement tie-up with a ‘smokeless’ Snoop Dogg really work?

Not if you ask the company’s leadership: Solo Brands CEO John Meritt has paid with his job after disappointing Q4 revenues, with a swollen marketing outlay that included a float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. So is this a campaign that failed, or a misaligned scapegoat that delivered brand awareness where sales were required?

Reuters on OpenAI’s election integrity strategy

The Republican primaries got underway this week in the US presidential elections, beginning in earnest a political year in which over a third of the world’s population will go to the polls. 

Amid fears that artificial intelligence tools could be used to generate and spread disinformation across that high-stakes environment, OpenAI has published a set of new policies intended to make it harder to circulate fakes through and from its platform. How effective those prove to be in preventing abuse – and calming nerves – remains to be seen. 

Deadline on a big thumbs-up for Gladiators 

The contenders were ready, the Gladiators were ready and, it would seem, the British viewing public were ready for the return of a 90s family favourite last weekend. 

The BBC’s reboot of Gladiators – the all-action challenge series pitting lycra-clad superheroes against super-fit members of the public – earned some delighted reviews and a very healthy live audience of 6.4 million in its 5.50pm timeslot. 

The challenge now is to convert millennial nostalgia into Gen Alpha excitement, and encourage its high concept and colourful cast of characters to flourish in today’s multi-platform media environment.

The Guardian on coffee, social media and replication

Call it déjà bu: the feeling that the quirky, independent-spirited coffee shop you’re sitting in feels like a lot of the other quirky, independent-spirited coffee shops you’ve been sitting in lately.

It could all be due to a flattening of aesthetics and expectations, a result of the pressures of social media marketing, recommendation engines and other powerful economic factors.

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