As a communications professional, I am more interested in hashtags and Pantone swatches than boxing, but the Mundine vs Green boxing match on Friday night caught my attention – for all the wrong reasons. Read on for my take on media strategy, David and Goliath style.

So for those of you like me, who are oblivious to the exciting world of strenuous male postulation, Anthony Mundine, poster child/enfant terrible of Australian boxing, performed a wonderful role in his defeat by Danny Green on Foxtel. Apparently it was a “grudge” match, promoted above and beyond by Foxtel, the media channel who held the rights to stream the blockbuster pay-per-view event.

But proceedings went a bit askew when one punter, Brett Hevers, pointed his mobile device at the live stream, and pressed “LIVE”, the Facebook feature that allows live streaming. And why not? It’s there, the TV is there, someone paid $59.95 (over and above the stupendous subscription fees to be part of Foxtel per month)…and then the boxing audience of the Aussie internet broke. He clocked up over 150,000 viewers before Foxtel got the drift and turned off his subscription! In essence he hosted his own online party at Foxtel’s expense, and after he was turned off, another smart cookie called Darren Sharpe started streaming the event live until he was threatened with legal action by the network (ABC.net.au, 2017).

Protection of corporate interest

This event reveals two things about Foxtel’s corporate practice, neither of which are very flattering unfortuanately:

  1. Protecting your intellectual property rights against users who are point out where your systems, products or services are weak, is standard corporate policy but perhaps not beneficial for anti-corporate customers who partake in disruptive social media expressions, and
  2. The global media environment demands strong product/service benefits and strategy from a brand, not punitive and public measures to protect brand engagement.

For Foxtel, it would be fairly clear that the whole planning, management, implementation and measurement of the event was a disaster, financially and in brand terms. To take legal action against the individual customer who infringed their Ts and Cs is well within their rights – I feel sorry for the poor junior lawyer who will have to rewrite their legal agreements in 24 hours or less, to cover this type of happening.

Consistent and authentic brand experience

The Foxtel brand blowback will also be immense, with those sorts of participating numbers. I am not condoning illegal downloading, even though I live in the second highest ranking country for said activity, according to Ernst and Young’s Global Digital Media Attractiveness Index (CIO.com.au, 2017).

What I am considering is this: Is this the customer’s fault, or is it Foxtel’s fault? Is it Apple or Samsung’s fault? Media transparency as a trend is continuing to rise in demand by brand audiences, often seen as a positive attribute to measure engagement or purchase of said brand products or services.

Something like this would shatter John Doe’s confidence in Foxtel, right after he had recovered from the stupendous price tag of $59.95 to buy into the game in the first place. But rather than pointing the finger, the issue with the whole story is this: the brand touchpoints are out of sync. They are not consistent, and this is why the tragedy for Foxtel is that they just didn’t see it coming. Perhaps.

Kantar Millward-Brown, esteemed global strategists, explain what I consider to be the crux of this sad, sorry story:

“Today’s connected world makes it too easy for brands to annoy customers with an inconsistent experience. In 2017, successful brand stories will be built on delivering a consistent experience across touchpoints, and less on the number of touchpoints used.” Kantar-Millward Brown, 2017.

The management of the boxing fiasco just isn’t a consistent expression of the Foxtel brand personality across different touchpoints. And so it becomes another issue entirely separate to the rogues who used their fingers to disrupt the whole Foxtel apple cart on Friday night.

David versus Goliath

Let’s break it down into simple, boxing-friendly terms. The Bible story of David and Goliath teaches us a lesson about facing giant problems or impossible situations by seeing them from God’s point of view.

  • Foxtel has this impossible situation (protection of its’ intangible assets) – Goliath
  • Punters have this giant problem (paying – or in their minds, overpaying – for boxing matches) – David
  • Punters have mobile devices and use them – for good and evil. What should they do? – God’s point of view

What do you think Foxtel should do to these guys? What do you think users will do to Foxtel? I’m going back to my design, I’ll leave it up to you to comment. @olsonwells

#globalcitizen #socialmediapolicy #media strategy #visualcontentmarketing #communications

IMG: David versus Goliath by Caravaggio

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-05/how-two-blokes-outsmarted-foxtel/8241800

http://www.cio.com.au/article/570078/australia-second-worst-world-illegal-downloads/