Hot pick - Must-see projects of the week

Pitch Marketing Group


Defender to Contender

Rio Ferdinand transforms himself from footballer to boxer, and trains to compete for a title belt.

Disciplines: Branded content, Public relations (PR)

Sector: Media & Entertainment

Agency: Defender to Contender , Pitch Marketing Group

BITE Insight

When you’ve reached the pinnacle of your sporting career, whether that’s an Olympic gold medal or a Champions League trophy, how can you match that? Only the most daring athletes have the courage to take up a totally new sport and try to win again.

This is the challenge that Betfair and Pitch Marketing Group have undertaken, first with the Olympic cyclist Victoria Pendleton in 2016 and now with the English footballer Rio Ferdinand. Betfair partners with the sports stars to take them from reaching their goal in one sport to pursuing a title in another.

In Switching Saddles, the gambling company  worked with Victoria Pendleton to train her as a professional jockey, resulting in her competing at the illustrious Cheltenham Festival. For Defender to Contender, they are supporting Rio Ferdinand in his bid to transition from retired footballer into professional boxer over the course of the next year.

Ferdinand, who played football for both Manchester United and England, will fight in a series of professional bouts over the course of 2017/18 to get him to the point where he can compete for the title belt. 

The football legend is being trained by Richie Woodhall, a Team GB coach and Mel Deane, a former professional rugby player. The yearlong integrated campaign has been created to maximise awareness and engagement in Ferdinand’s training, fights and ultimate push for the title.

The brand asserts that this is not a simple stunt but rather an empowering campaign that pushes an athlete to their limits, allowing them to challenge their own inherent sporting ability.

About the author

Izzy Ashton, Assistant Editor of BITE, Creativebrief

Izzy is a writer/researcher for BITE, Creativebrief’s daily insight into global marketing trends and the cultural movements driving them. She keeps abreast of the latest communication, technology and consumer news, and is responsible for conducting interviews with key agency strategists and creatives to gain insight into the most innovative global campaigns.

Related tags: