Italian Serie A club Juventus has revealed that a digital campaign timed to coincide with its tour of Asia in July garnered 50 million video views and 790,000 engagements while the club was in the region.
Juventus pulled together a network of over 20 fan leaders, micro-influencers and key opinion leaders from China, Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore to help with the campaign. Digital agency Mailman claimed this is the first time a football club has launched an Asia-wide fan movement.
The club’s chief revenue officer Giorgio Ricci told China Daily it is focused on boosting its presence on Asian social media: “It’s quite a long time since we last toured in Asia so we wanted to do a fantastic pre-season tour for fans, media and sponsors.”
“Considering that worldwide over the last year we had an increase of more than 15 per cent in terms of fans, and in the Asia-Pacific region the increase was 18 per cent, in the Asia region we are growing faster than in the other parts of the world.”
“We have around 60 million fans in China now. Our digital fanbase is around 3 million on the various platforms like Weibo, WeChat, our new Douyin account and TouTiao. We have 19 fan clubs in China, compared to only five in the 2017-18 season.”
The Serie A club played Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur in Singapore, Inter Milan in Nanjing, and a combined K-League XI in Seoul as part of their Asian Tour and pre-season preparations.
The Asia-focused “J-Squad” campaign disseminated content on social media platforms Facebook, Instagram, WeChat, Weibo, Douyin, Toutiao and YouTube. It also encouraged fans to attend the club’s open training, matches, meet and greet sessions and fan-zone activities, along with welcome ceremonies at the airport and hotel in both Singapore and Nanjing. Filmed content was published on the club channels and individual influencer social media accounts.
Analysis by the Mailman indicates that the campaign generated 20 million video views across digital platforms in China. Fans created over 200,000 posts using the tour hashtag #MeetTheWonder in China which generated 65 million views. This was a Juventus all-time record, eclipsing the hashtag used to celebrate the transfer of Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus from La Liga club Real Madrid.
There was also a total 14 million live views across three live streams: Nanjing’s open training, Singapore’s open training, and the new jersey presentation in Shanghai.
However, the campaign’s success was also tempered by the social media controversy that ensued during Juventus’s match against the K-League XI, after star player Cristiano Ronaldo was left out of the game. According to event organisers, the Portuguese national player was contracted to play for at least 45 minutes but did not make an appearance after being advised to rest by Juventus’ medical staff due to muscle fatigue.
The K-League sent a letter of protest to Juventus, but club chairman Andrea Agnelli denied the claims.