View a full range of our ebooks

View full library


Our Location

The PHA Group
117 Wardour Street,
Hammer House,

0207 0251 350
PHA Digital Studio
Fourth Floor,
47 Dean St,

0207 0251 350
PHA Finance Department
117 Wardour Street,
Hammer House,

0207 0251 350

Six ways your brand can capitalise on the sporting calendar

Six ways your brand can capitalise on the sporting calendar

From Wimbledon to the Ashes, from Football World Cups to Ryder Cups, the sporting calendar is not short of spectacular and iconic events. These offer up opportunities for brands to control the conversation and get fans engaging with them on a worldwide stage. With as many failures as successes to review in recent years, we look at best practice for getting ahead of your rivals.

  1. Be ready to react

It sounds simple, but one of the best ways to successfully position your brand at the forefront of the conversation around an event is being ready to adapt to unfolding events. Sport is all about reacting quickly to often unpredictable situations, and this is something brands would be wise to emulate.

The standard was set by Oreo during Super Bowl XLVII, when a massive power outage struck at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, putting a section of the stadium into darkness for a full half hour.

Oreo capitalised on the blackout, turning around an advert in double quick time of an Oreo on a blacked-out background, with the caption: “Power out? No problem. You can still dunk in the dark.”.

Having released a commercial earlier during the game, the social team at Oreo were closely monitoring the ad’s success on social, as well as general mentions of the Super Bowl. Then when the blackout struck, they noticed how the conversation online quickly shifted. Within a matter of minutes Oreo’s digital agency, 360i, had put a new ad together. The blackout post resulted in 10,000 retweets, 5,000 shares and 18,000 likes on Facebook – all within the first hour of posting.

With an audience of well over 100 million in America alone, the Super Bowl is one of those events that promises to capture the attention of fans across the world, and Oreo and their agency’s quick thinking meant that they were able to achieve the kind of cut through amongst that huge audience that other brands could only dream of.

Oreo’s success was down to the fact that they were lightening quick off the mark and that they were listening to the conversation on social and were willing to go off script. On this occasion that quick thinking certainly paid off.


  1. Make your campaign flexible

As long-standing sponsors of the England Rugby team, O2 wanted to capitalise on the 2015 Rugby World Cup, in which England were tournament hosts. The telecommunications service provider rolled out their ‘Make Them Giants’ advertisement, where the support of England fans made the players grow until they were the size of buildings. O2 also renewed its ‘Wear the Rose’ campaign, calling on fans to show their loyalty to the team and giving them the chance to tweet messages directly to the players using the #WeartheRose hashtag.

When England made history for all the wrong reasons in becoming the first ever host nation to exit the tournament at the group stages, it had the potential to result in a huge failure for the sponsor. O2, however, argued that with over five million messages of support on social media, it was still a success. That’s open for debate but what it proves is the importance of not pinning all your hopes on one outcome: namely (in this particular case), England lasting the distance in the tournament and making sure your campaign is flexible.

Whilst O2 justified their ad campaign by pointing out that they were “here for the ups and the downs”, it’s hard to ignore the fact that had England performed better on the pitch, then the campaign might have had more conviction.


  1. Explore collaborations with other sports

One way to tap into new audiences is by looking at cross promotion across other sports. Ahead of the start of the F1 season in 2016, Red Bull Racing teamed up with Bath Rugby Club for a true test of man against machine.

Red Bull have pitted their cars against everything from drag races to jet fighters in the past, but here they decided to take on a rugby scrum.

With the Australian Grand Prix always kicking off the F1 race calendar, Red Bull enlisted their Perth born driver Daniel Ricciardo to go up against Bath Rugby’s finest to help promote the upcoming season. The car’s 800 brake horsepower found itself up against a tough opponent taking on the combined 900kg weight of the Bath pack.

The stunt achieved widespread coverage and enabled Red Bull to engage a whole new set of fans. It’s the sort of “out there” marketing that is synonymous with the racing team, as evident by one user’s response to the video in the comments section of the YouTube clip – “Only Red Bull can do this.”

“Brandscaping” is a great way to leverage the audiences of other sports and can really help your brand tap into new audiences.


  1. Don’t be afraid to challenge stereotypes

Campaigns that push the boundaries in a way that few brands are willing to do so come with risk, but with that risk comes the potential for huge reward.

Taking such a risk during one of the biggest sporting spectacles in the world, the Superbowl, is even braver, but that’s exactly what Always did… and the reward was certainly worth it.

Always, the Procter & Gamble feminine products brand, had previously struggled to create shareable content because consumers were reluctant to be associated with periods. Making a feminine hygiene brand more popular is a difficult brief, but Always managed to do it by returning to its roots. “Confidence” is something the brand has always tried to champion as part of its brand values. Confidence in the product transitioned into self-confidence for their #LikeAGirl campaign.

Always reasoned that gender stereotypes have become so deep-seated in society that they impact how we communicate. To look at this, Always created a social experiment where boys, girls, men and women were invited to a pretend casting-call. Here they were asked to do various things “like a girl”. Subjects were asked to run, throw and punch “like a girl”. Every age and gender category, except the young girls, reacted in the same way, i.e. they acting in a silly way and made the imaginary girl they were imitating seem weak and inept.

Young girls, however, did not follow suit. Instead, they responded to each action they were asked to do by giving it their all and exuding conviction in what they were doing. The conclusion drawn from this was that these pre-pubescent girls had not yet been affected by society’s apparent characterisation of womanhood. Doing something “like a girl”, for them, meant nothing else than giving it everything they had.

A 60 second version of the ad aired during the Super Bowl in 2015. To date, the clip has had more than 90 million views. With the NFL having long faced issues around domestic violence, the airing of an ad turning a negative stereotype of girls on its head was hugely powerful and emotive.

  1. Putting your brand at the heart of the story, without it needing to be the story

Whenever a brand invests in a sport sponsorship, or an activation around a particular sporting event, they are obviously aiming to get the best return possible and to make the most of all of the additional eyeballs they are gaining access to. However, focusing too heavily on the brand ‘story’ or the products or services of that brand can often lead to your targeted audience switching off. The key, therefore, is to get your brand in to the heart of the action whilst also ensuring the content excites and engages.

HUGO BOSS has been particularly successful at doing this in recent years. The luxury fashion house has sponsored British sailor Alex Thomson since 2003, in what is one of the longest standing partnerships in the sport.

Thomson competes in the Vendee Globe – a solo, non-stop, 25,000-mile race around the world which takes place every four years. It is the biggest race in the offshore sailing calendar.

In the build up to the 2016 edition of the race, Thomson and his team – who have become known for their daring stunts – rolled out The SkyWalk.

The SkyWalk involved Thomson, on a kiteboard, chasing his IMOCA open 60 HUGO BOSS boat upwind and attaching himself via a rope to the top of the boat’s mast. The skipper then utilises the speed of the race boat to propel himself 280ft into the air, sending him surfing above the vast yacht. When Thomson reaches the peak of his flight, he detaches himself from the boat and expertly controls his descent back down, coolly landing the kiteboard on the water, all whilst wearing a stylish BOSS suit.

Whilst the whole concept of the video had nothing to do with the BOSS brand, the products were front and centre and the branding was all over the boat throughout the shot. To date, the video has had just shy of 1.4 million views on YouTube alone.  These viewer numbers wouldn’t have been achieved if HUGO BOSS had made a film about a suit. No, it was the daredevil nature of the stunt that attracted the viewers. Of course, once they were watching the video, they were then all exposed to the HUGO BOSS brand.


  1. Engage with your fans

Creating an attraction which offers fans an interactive opportunity to engage with your brand is easier said than done, but when done well can produce great results.

To tie in with this years’ Wimbledon, drinks brand Robinsons, which has been associated with the Championships for many years, partnered up with KFC to take over the Wimbledon town centre branch. This was to promote the fact that Robinsons was being served at KFC during the two weeks the tournament was on.

Marketing agency Savvy put up a huge display of Pong, the arcade game, in the window of the KFC Wimbledon Broadway restaurant. Fans on their way to the tennis could interact with the screen, where users were able to activate the game with a simple tap on the window. The touchscreen technology then allowed each player to control their pong paddles.

It proved effective in driving footfall directly to the store, as well as creating a strong brand awareness for both companies. At times when no one was playing the game, the screen returns to an advertisement which illustrates the fact that Robinsons drinks are available in store. A clever use of space, to say the least.

It wasn’t the first time either that Robinsons had used the Wimbledon Championships to interact with fans. In 2015 to celebrate “80 years at Wimbledon”, Robinsons launched “The Great Robinson’s Ball Hunt”.

Followers on Twitter were asked to discover locations of giant tennis balls hidden across the country for a chance to win prizes, including tickets to The Championships.

Every day, a series of clues were revealed on the company’s Twitter channel encouraging others to join in. The hunt Former British number one tennis player, Tim Henman, became the ‘face’ of the campaign and presented clues on Twitter while asking the public to find the balls and tweet a picture of them when they did.

A great way to build a sense of excitement ahead of the tournament. You could say Robinsons “served up an ace” with this interactive campaign.


Choosing The Right Ambassador

Man Stretching Black and White Sport

How to choose the right sporting ambassador to represent your brand

Making the decision, as a brand, to collaborate with a sporting ambassador is something which must not be rushed. These partnerships are sought in an effort to drive a multitude of benefits for the brand. They can enhance consumer awareness and reach new audiences to drive online conversation and sell product. So, when it comes to choosing the right sporting ambassador for your brand, which factors should you consider in order to ensure that your investment is wholly worthwhile?

We ask the eight questions which any brand should consider before they sign on the dotted line of an ambassador contract.

  • Which brands are they already associated with?

Take a look at which brands, if any, your potential ambassador is already associated with at present, or in the past. Have they appeared in marketing collateral or advertisements, or promoted a brand or product within the media? It may be that there is a potential conflict of interest between your brand and those which this individual has been, or is still, associated with. It may be that you would not feel comfortable with your brand being aligned with your ambassador’s partner brands, meaning you wish to discount this person as a viable ambassador. Conversely, it may be that your brand, and the brands which this individual is already associated with, create a positive synergy. If this is the case, this individual may be well worth your consideration.

  • Are they over-exposed?

When you appoint a brand ambassador the partnership should create some form of impact. If your potential ambassador has been featured widely in the press before or been part of a high-profile campaign, this could have reduced media, and indeed consumer, interest in that individual. Consider whether a partnership with this individual could genuinely offer the media – and your target audience – something new and interesting to discuss, or would it simply add to this person’s already high level of exposure? Remember, that the last thing you want to do is to confuse the consumer. If this individual has recently fronted a major campaign, how easy will it be for the consumer to distinguish between the previous product the celebrity has promoted, and yours

  • Are they likeable?

Does this individual have the likeability factor? Will your target audience respond well to them? Of course, public opinion will almost always be split and it is impossible to please everyone. But choosing a person who is perceived largely positively in the public eye will go a long way towards encouraging your target audience to actually buy into this person and, ultimately, your brand.

Miss you. Hurry back @venuswilliams

A post shared by Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) on

  • Any negative exposure?

Consider too how this individual is perceived by the media and amongst your established target audience. Have they been featured recently in a negative headline? Have they been involved in a story which could have a detrimental impact on your brand? Ultimately, this person is going to be representing your business; if they are in any way connected to a negative story, this could directly impact your brand.

  • Is it believable?

This partnership needs to appear organic to the consumer. It is very easy for a brand to cough up huge sums of money for a sports star to front a campaign. However, more is needed for that partnership to actually get the target audience to sit up and listen. Integrity and synergy should be at the forefront of a brand’s thinking when identifying an ambassador who will actually add value in a partnership. Consider whether the involvement of this potential ambassador would actually encourage the user to purchase the product.  Can you envisage this individual wearing your clothes, consuming your drink or using your equipment? If you can’t, then you can bet that consumers will struggle to make the connection too. Organic connections are crucial; otherwise, you have little more than an athlete waving a product in the air and hoping that someone will pay attention.

We're giving away a sail onboard @hugoboss all you need to do is follow the link in our profile and cross your fingers!

A post shared by Alex Thomson (@alex_thomson_racing) on

  • Do they have the expertise?

Depending on the remit of the campaign you are looking to undertake, your ambassador may have to go on the record in support of your brand or product. If this were to happen, would they be well placed to discuss it? Do they have the necessary expertise?

If they need to demonstrate a sports product, are they in the necessary shape to do so? If you are marketing a children’s sports product, aimed at parents, consider whether your ambassador is able to speak from personal experience. Likewise, experience in paramount for incident specific products, such as those for aiding recovery or training. Without basic expertise in the relevant area, it becomes difficult for consumers to make the link between ambassador and brand.

While the ambassador you appoint can, of course, be fully briefed and media trained well in advance, possessing a level of knowledge on the subject matter is always a big bonus. An ambassador who is effortlessly knowledgeable on a campaign or product is immediately more believable and influential to the consumer.  Remember, knowledge is power, and all the media training in the world can’t help someone who simply doesn’t know the first thing about your industry or target audience.


  • Do they have the power to influence?

Consider not only the profile of this individual in the media landscape, but their social media profile. Do they post regularly? How many followers have they attracted? Is their content engaging and insightful? Who are their fans and followers? Are they part of your target audience? Very often, an ambassador might not be the right option for your brand in terms of media opportunities or traditional advertising, but they may be just the right person to help engage your target audience via a digital medium.

Often, the timing of your approach can be as important as the person you are choosing to bring on board. Consider the events calendar and try to look several weeks or months down the line. Is this person about to be involved in an event, competition or campaign which may boost their reputation?  Are they about to appear on a major TV show? Is it likely that they will win a coveted prize? Bringing that individual on board just before they reach a turning point in their career could be the key to securing your perfect brand ambassador (and at the right price!)

Over the years we have seen major brands forge high-profile, hugely successful partnerships with sporting ambassadors. Some of our favourites in 2016 include:

  • Under Armour – “Rule Yourself” – featuring Michael Phelps

Tagline: Legacies like his are built over a lifetime like this. Michael Phelps returns for one last time. #IWILL

The tie-up between Under Armour and Phelps was a shrewd one given the level of interest around the American’s final Olympic Games. With the question posed when, not if, he would add to his medal haul as the most decorated Olympian ever.

Whilst Phelps has a body made to be in the water, with an upper body fit for a man four inches taller than his 6ft 4-inch frame, it is arguably his gruelling training regime and demanding diet that has enabled the swimmer to be so successful in the pool.

The dedication displayed by “The Baltimore Bullet” is mirrored in Under Armour’s Rule Yourself video, which features the line – ‘It’s what you do in the dark that puts you in the light’. With 23 Olympic Gold medals to his name, he’s not a man you associate with insecurity, yet he was bullied as a child for a lisp and big ears and has suffered his fair share of false starts and late finishes. Props to Under Armour for using their asset in a way that made even the most decorated Olympian relatable to the everyday man, hitting home the message that hard work supersedes anything else.

  • Adidas – “Blah Blah Blah” – featuring Paul Pogba

Tagline: Let the talkers talk. The best focus on being first. #FirstNeverFollows

With the rise of social media, athletes are being scrutinised more than ever. Never have fans had more access to sports stars, with a rolling 24/7 news service. Certain athletes take more notice of what’s being written about them than others. Letting negative comments get to you can put you off your game – something that Adidas have played on with their #FirstNeverFollows campaign.

As part of this, Adidas released a “Blah Blah Blah” advert featuring a number of sporting stars, including France international Paul Pogba. The timing of the launch was inspired, making the most of the uncertainty over the midfielder’s future at a time when Manchester United fans (who ultimately got their man) were pleading for Pogba to return to Old Trafford. Adidas scheduled the release at the height of speculation, with Pogba teasing “don’t believe everything you read in the papers”.

Adidas cunningly used the Pogba transfer saga to create a buzz around their #FirstNeverFollows movement. At a time when breaking news is never far from Twitter, Adidas managed to be the first to deliver the latest twist in the future of their ambassador, which is no mean feat in this day and age.

  • Nike – “The Switch” – featuring Cristiano Ronaldo

Tagline: Ronaldo became the world’s best by being the hardest-working man in football. But, what if brilliance had to start all over again? One moment can change everything. #SparkBrilliance

“The Switch” was Nike’s take on Freaky Friday and the ad sees Cristiano Ronaldo switch bodies with an unsuspecting ball boy. Launched ahead of Euro 2016, it is the longest brand film Nike Football has ever produced and is also the most extensive brand shoot Ronaldo has ever done, for any brand. It reaffirmed Nike as the major player that it is and reminded consumers that as a brand they can get the most extensive and engaging content from their top sporting stars.

All three of these partnerships are great examples of brands that have successfully used an ambassador to create a timely and engaging campaign. Whilst other brands may not have the ability to call upon such highbrow sporting stars, planning ahead in conjunction with the sporting calendar as well as some calculated decision making can yield the desired results out of a potential partnership, without paying above and beyond to get them.


10 Great UK Health & Fitness Blogs

With the health and fitness industry constantly growing, we took a look at some of the best blogs in the business. From simplicity to specificity, these bloggers know how to stand out from the crowd.

  1. Carly Rowena

A former marketing manager, Carly’s blog is certainly easy on the eye. A collage of photos is combined with a series of well thought through posts. Carly uses a multidimensional approach to inspire her audience, and makes sure that – everywhere we look – there is something to interest, engage or entertain us.

Why we love it: Look out for Carly’s use of YouTube, which is particularly engaging and helps her 290k viewers feel like they’re a part of the action.


  1. Fitness On Toast 

Created by half-Swedish, half-English personal trainer, Faya – who named her blog after Britain’s obsession with everything and anything on toast(!) – Fitness on Toast is a simple, clean cut site. Faya uses impressive photography throughout, which brings her content alive.

Why we love it: We love the interaction that this blog invites, adding a twist to conventional navigation categories e.g. a ‘Why To’ section. Most of all, though, we like the spontaneity that Fitness on Toast brings to the table. There is also a good amount of food content (who doesn’t love food!) and an active travel theme, which brings Faya’s followers around the world with her.

fitness on toast

  1. Girl Gainz

Personal trainer Laura’s blog – Girl Gainz – is a no-nonsesne, straight to the point, simple site. An up and comer in the blogging world, Laura combines good content with a sense of naughtiness (which we love). Food oriented in the most part, each post offers a neat treat which is sure to make you salivate.

Why we love it: We particularly love Laura’s ‘flexible dieting’ approach, which lends itself to the everyday person.

girl gainz

  1. Lazy Girl Running

Runner, Laura, offers her readers more than just a blog, but a journey which she wants them to be a part of. The blog inspires visitors and allows others to share their love for running, from beginner to winner.

Why we love it: Sharing many a racing experience throughout, we particularly love the sociability of Laura’s blog, with its own dedicated ‘Running Groups’ tab acting as a platform to bring runners together in the real world.

lazy girl running

  1. Fitcetera

Business analyst Georgina’s blog has all the character of a traditional blog, combined with an informative approach which sees all the latest trends put to the test. All about finding confidence in strength and fitness, this site certainly isn’t afraid to break the mould.

Why we love it: We love Georgina’s ‘How to Train Like a UFC Fighter’, and her eye opening CrossFit content. She encourages us to get out there and give exercise a go which, let’s face it, is surely what it’s all about?


  1. Lunges + Lycra

Run by double act Charlotte and Emma, Lunges + Lycra brings a great deal of variety to the table. Whether you’re after running, cycling, yoga, or general fitness content – this blog has it all.

Why we love it: Above all what gives this blog the edge (or should we say the edgy-ness) is its monthly review of all the wild and wonderful events going on, known as ‘The month in sweat’. Lunges + Lycra is the TimeOut for all things fitness, and with the research done for you it would be rude not to embrace all the crazy and cool monthly happenings that it features.

lunges and lycra

  1. The Runner Beans

Marathon runner and fitness junkie Charlie’s blog offers a little bit of everything.

Why we love it: Adopting a fun and friendly approach throughout, it epitomises the everyday me and you, with a subtle undertone of a running lover. We love the name too – it’s quirky, memorable and makes you want to visit! With Snapchat included, you really do get what you see with this one.

the runner bean


  1. Lottie Murphy

Pilates Instructor Lottie’s blog radiates happiness. We love the layout of this site, which makes it super easy to scroll through and view as you please.

Why we love it: In terms of the content, it speaks health with a happy heart, an array of Pilates/health based posts perfectly complimented by personal/social touches. With its very own video section which we love, if this doesn’t make you smile, we don’t know what will.

lottie murphy

  1. Fitness Fan

Director and Founder, Dane’s blog is unique in that it adopts a largely educational and informative approach in reaching out to its following.

Why we love it: As well as providing information on all traditional exercise and fitness topics, it features a whole host of innovative content on subjects like psychology, tech and data. We love Dane’s expert interviews too, as they offer the reader some exciting access and insight.

fitness fan

  1. Imperfect Matter

Yoga Teacher Cat’s blog certainly has us falling asleep…..and, no, not because it’s boring! This site is far from boring. The blog is relaxation in a nutshell, speaking volumes for a healthy, yet active lifestyle.

Why we love it: We love the contrast it offers. Whether you’re looking for a yoga retreat, or simply a review of the latest clothing must-haves, you’ll find it all here. The blog has an overall wanderlust feel to it, whilst still maintaining the personal touch. Touché.

imperfect matter

Respect or results?

What would you choose?

The man selected by new coach Eddie Jones to captain the England rugby team has missed more than a year of his career because of suspension. Dylan Hartley has incurred bans totaling 54 weeks for a selection of misdemeanors, including, but not limited to, head butting, biting, gouging, elbowing, punching and swearing at a referee. It is not recorded whether he has ever tried to run over an elderly churchgoer using a pedestrian crossing on her way home from morning service.

Dylan Hartley Rugby Six Nations

Image Courtesy of Bob Bob,

Hartley’s appointment was quite a statement of intent. Jones’ predecessor, the hapless Stuart Lancaster, built his regime on a promise to restore a sense of pride in the England shirt. After the shambolic 2011 World Cup campaign, when revelations of dwarf tossing, drinking games, a sex harassment sandal and a player jumping off an Auckland ferry made lurid headlines, the time seemed ripe for a clean-up.

Lancaster vowed to make the team humble, respect the badge and respect each other. Four years later, England’s World Cup failure was even more striking as they suffered the indignity of being the first host nation in history to exit the tournament at the group stages.
The England coach went from inspirational to idiotic in a few short weeks and was replaced by Jones, a tough-as-nails, no-nonsense, serial winner. Captain Chris Robshaw – decent, dependable, diplomatic – was sacked and Hartley, who’d missed the World Cup because of suspension (who’d have thought it?), given the role of team leader.
Whether this new approach will herald a change in England’s fortunes remains to be seen, but it begs an interesting question that applies to the world of business just as much as sport:

quote TIM J
The Australian cricket team captained by Steve Waugh was one of the most successful in the annals of the game, but in the end even the Aussie fans turned against them, disgusted by their charmless arrogance. Mind you, they soon missed the victory parades once that generation had gone and mediocrity set in.

Steve Waugh Sports Insight

Image courtesy of Naparazzi,

For a while, the behemoths of the tech world seemed to have pulled off the trick of being both revered and rewarded. Apple became a modern-day religion, Mark Zuckerberg the patron saint of the social network and Google the mighty engine creating a world without frontiers. Now, however, Steve Jobs is depicted as a megalomaniac, Facebook pilloried for tax avoidance and Google accused of endless empire-building.Look at the High Street. Mike Ashley is a boorish billionaire who lacks class but we love the bargains at Sports Direct. Marks & Spencer is a British institution, decent and venerable, but we can’t resist the hit-and-run fashion of Zara or Top Shop and outgoing chief executive Marc Bolland is paying the price.

Facebook tax avoidance protest

Image courtesy of Sven Loach,

Bob Diamond was the pantomime villain of banking, ousted from Barclays for being too brash, too grandiose; Antony Jenkins, his monkish successor as chief executive, lasted just three years before his timid vision of retrenchment fell foul of shareholders. It turned out his halo wasn’t much use if it hit the bottom line. In today’s marketplace the twin pillars of trust and transparency are the holy grail for any business. John Lewis, Boots and British Airways are our favourite brands; Richard Branson our favourite entrepreneur. But Alan Sugar has made a very good living out of his “You’re fired” catchphrase, Simon Cowell’s net worth is $550 million and our wealthiest sportsman Lewis Hamilton would win few popularity contests.

Richard Branson Entrepreneur

Image courtesy of Land Rover Mena,

What does that suggest? Are we all hypocrites, telling ourselves we admire decency and gentility when really we have a sneaking regard for a bit of devilment?

Not entirely. The most iconic sporting image of the 21st century was England’s talisman Andrew Flintoff comforting his Australian opponent Brett Lee at the very moment of his team’s victory during the 2005 Ashes. It combined sporting success with sportsmanship. We are all suckers for guts and gallantry – especially when we’ve won.

Freddie Flintoff Brett Lee

Image courtesy of A nice cup of tea,

But here’s a scenario for England rugby fans to conjure with: it’s the final match of the Six Nations decider in Paris, there are two minutes to go, England are three points down and awarded a kickable penalty. They can take the kick at goal and draw the match, sharing the championship – or kick into touch in the corner in a bid to force a try and win the tournament but at the risk of throwing away the tournament.

Who would you rather want as captain: Robshaw or Hartley? Your answer will tell you more about yourself than you might care to admit.

Working with online influencers

Instagram online influencers and brands

In today’s age we are bombarded by choice. So it’s not surprise that online influencers hold a lot of power in validating our decisions. These are real people who we trust and respect, a vital tool in marketing a product given that their opinions can, and do, impact the behaviour of their amassed followers.

So how can we use this power effectively? Surely with the most powerful influencers commanding audiences of millions and reports that word of mouth recommendations generate double the sales of standard advertising it would be hard to go wrong.

However, harnessing the power that these influencers have is more difficult than meets the eye. The value these influencers hold is inextricably wrapped up in their authenticity and careless capitalising will quickly snuff this value out. It’s a tricky balance to master, so here are our top tips on how you can influence successfully.

1. Do your homework
You need to ensure that any influencer campaign you run reaches the right people. So, before you go approaching everyone and anyone with thousands of followers, it’s vital that you do your homework first. Ask yourself these simple questions:
Am I focusing on quality or quantity? Choosing to work with people based solely on the size of their audience can be a costly mistake. Influencers with huge audiences tend to charge brands a considerable sum to promote their products. If you haven’t checked that their followers match your target audience, this can be a total waste of money.
Am I digging deep enough? By doing your research, we don’t just mean taking a quick look at their profile. It’s easy to assume that the majority of people following a healthy, in-shape female model who posts about fashion and fitness are women who share those interests. However, the reality may be that the majority of her followers are men admiring the photos… you won’t know for sure until you drill down into the demographic of your influencers’ audience.
What can their analytics tell me? Online influencers are becoming increasingly aware of the value that their audience can hold for brands, and analyse their audience in increasingly sophisticated ways. Most will be able to provide you with a breakdown of their followers by demographic, so make sure you ask the question. They should also be able to share with you what type of content on their channels delivers the most engagement and at what times their posts deliver the most traction. This information can be incredibly useful when creating your campaign content plan and ensure that your collaboration is delivering maximum value.

2. Develop real relationships
One of the biggest turn offs for social media users is the obvious plug. We’ve all seen it – a celebrity posting about a product or service when they have clearly been paid to do so. It’s disingenuous, misleading and is likely to have you reaching for the ‘unfollow’ button. Stephanie Pratt Instagram influencer Mr BlancsIt’s important that you team up with influencers who are genuinely fans of your product or service. If their posts are going to have any meaningful impact on your brand they have to be truly convinced of its merits. Even if they aren’t using the product prior to the collaboration.

How will I know if they are genuine?

It is usually pretty easy to tell whether the influen on or not. Focus on the types of questions that they ask you.

s&L infographic
When working for a nutrition company recently, we were keen to engage a pop star to help us tap in to her mostly female online audience. She had lots of questions about the specific ingredients in the product – what were they, how were they sourced, were they free from additives, etc. This line of questioning indicated that her priority was to ensure that any product she put her name to was something that she would be genuinely comfortable using and recommending to her followers. This made us even more keen to collaborate with her.
Once the relationship has been established, it’s also well worth going the extra mile to develop deeper, mutually respectful and beneficial relationships with your influencer. If the influencers you are working with develop a genuine affection for the brand, and for their point of contact within your team, their enthusiasm will shine through in their reviews and mentions.


Take American bodybuilder Michelle Bishop (@mshelllll) and her relationship with AdvoCare – an American brand, specialising in nutrition, weight-loss, energy and sports performance products.

Michelle has shot to insta-fame in recent years and has built up an impressive following of 252,000. Michelle recently posted about running out of one of her favourite Advocare products and Advocare wasted no time in getting some of that product delivered to Michelle. It was a simple, easy, no-cost gesture, but it worked wonders in this instance. Michelle was clearly thrilled and quickly shared her appreciation with her followers. The genuine nature of the post is obvious and her enthusiasm for the product is infectious… which of course is exactly what Advocare were hoping for.Advocare Instagram Influencers Michelle Bishop

3. Don’t obsess about ‘the message’
When working with influencers it can be hard to let go of creative control. In an ideal world they would use your campaign related hashtag, specific imagery and links.
Allow them some creative licence. Again, this comes back to looking and feeling genuine. If you have an army of influencers all posting the same thing, then it will be easily apparent to your audience that the related posts are being driven by the brand and not the individual influencer’s enthusiasm for your product.
Posts with personality are far more engaging. Remember you’ve chosen to work with this person because their social media profile has attracted a dedicated following. So don’t quash the very thing that made you want to work with them in the first place by being too restrictive about how, what and when they post.


Hannah Bronfman product posts are a good example of this. In this particular post she doesn’t refer specifically to the product or brand, but instead lets the image do the talking and then allows her followers to chip in with their thoughts on the product name. This tactic helps to create intrigue amongst following, whilst also protecting the authenticity of her voice. Take a look at how her followers engaged with this post below…Hannah Bronfham online influencers instagram

4. Maximise the value of your collaboration
The right collaboration will unlock a potential audience of thousands, or hundreds of thousands. But why stop there? With most brand/influencer tie-ups there is potential to reach beyond the influencers’ social media audience by creating a story for the mass media. If you can do that, then you will be unlocking a potential audience of multi millions.

Example: PHA client LDN Muscle.

One of LDN Muscle’s most important online influencers is Alice Liveing, better known as ‘Clean Eating Alice’. She regularly posts about her collaboration with LDN on her social feeds which delivers great value. However, by taking her story to the Mail Online, we were able to use the relationship with Alice to deliver a whole new level of exposure for LDN Muscle. Not only were they plugged several times in the Mail’s article but, after this story ran online, Clean Eating Alice amassed an additional 25,000 social media followers in just one day. Therefore all her subsequent posts about LDN were reaching a far larger audience than they were before. This is a win-win situation all round, and is something that brands are not capitalising on enough.

Daily Mail Clean Eating Alice Instagram Daily Mail Clean Eating Alice Instagram

In summary…

Working with online influencers is becoming an increasingly popular way for brands to market their products, and for good reason, but in many cases the potential value of these relationships is not being maximised to the full. By following these tips you can help make your collaboration as successful as possible and ensure that your influencer campaign is delivering the desired results.

Make your fitness brand stand out

The 2015 State of the UK Fitness Industry Report revealed that the health club industry is continuing to grow with more clubs, more members and a greater market value than ever before (£4.3bn). And this is just the health club sector. With each sector of the fitness industry becoming more and more crowded, what do fitness brands need to do in order to position themselves as market leaders? Here, we take a look at five great ways to do just that.

1) Sharing success stories
Consumers will always be drawn to fitness brands if they can see that the product or service is having a positive impact on people’s lives. The leading gym chain in the UK, PureGym, has been very successful in placing case studies, which show off how the gym chain has helped to change members’ lives for the better.

Some examples:
A member who has used Pure Gym facilities to lose weight
A member who is using exercise to fight off mental health problems
A personal trainer duo who launched a class for mental health

2) Utilising Instagram Influencers
In a recent survey by One Poll, Instagram was voted one of the biggest influencers, when it comes to consumer behaviour, ahead of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Every month we are witnessing more and more influential Instagram users pop up on the scene, users who inform and educate their followers about health, fitness and nutrition through their Instagram channels.

These individuals are all part of a new generation of online influencer, which the savviest fitness brands are already tapping into.

Although an online health and fitness influencer may have a smaller reach than traditional media outlets, their followers are likely to be precisely the target audience that fitness brands are looking to attract.

Fitness clothing brand Gymshark, which was founded just over two years, has clearly invested a lot of its marketing budget on engaging with online influencers. Now Gymshark is a market leader in the “trendy” gym clothing sector. Through effectively engaging with online influencers, the brand has built up a social following of over 1m on Facebook and over 625k on Instagram.

Here are some great examples of social media influencers that health and fitness brands should look to engage with:

Lydia Millen and Ali Gordon: They are known as ‘The Lifestyle Couple’ of social media with almost 400k followers between them. They currently work with the likes of GymShark, a leading supplement brand and the camera brand Olympus

• The Harrison Twins: Owen and Lewis Harrison have over 500,000 followers between them and are the face of leading sports nutrition brand My Protein.

Zanna Van Dijk: Zanna has attracted a great deal of attention for documenting her body transformation on Instagram. She now has 69k followers and works with a number of brands in the fitness food sector.

3) Becoming a voice of authority
If yours is a fitness brand which focuses on the wellbeing of its customers then it is important that consumers believe in, and respect, the advice and opinion of individuals within your organisation. Positioning these individuals as voices of authority within the media is a great way of gaining respect from consumers and also cementing the reputation of your brand as a trustworthy industry leader.

In order to gain that respect, key spokespeople from your organisation should be writing thought leadership pieces on a regular basis on the subject(s) that they specialise in. It is also important to keep on top of the news agenda, as this will help to provide your spokespeople with the opportunity to react and respond to relevant news stories which are been covered in the media.

LDN Muscle, a business which produces downloadable e-guides, are regularly featured in this way in the media. Often, this even goes as far as providing them with the opportunity to use negative stories, as a way of promoting their own products and services in a positive way:

Here are some examples:

• When reality TV star Spencer Matthews was in the spotlight for using steroids, LDN Muscle provided a guide for consumers on how to bulk up naturally, without the use of steroids

• When TOWIE star Gemma Collins discussed her use of juice diets, LDN Muscle provided comment on the dangers of such diets and explained how to get in shape using their Bikini Guides, instead


Lucy Mecklenburgh - Ellesse - fitness

Image: Ellesse

4) Securing celebrity ambassadors
Many brands within the health and fitness space choose to utilise celebrity ambassadors to help build the profile of their brand and promote their products or services.

When it comes to brands identifying a suitable celebrity ambassador, it is imperative that they choose someone who their target market can relate to, and will respond to.

One of the best celebrity partnerships of 2015 was that launched by clothing label Ellesse with Lucy Mecklenburgh. The partnership was designed to promote Ellesse’s range of fitness clothing. Lucy is incredibly popular amongst young females and has shown an incredible passion for fitness in recent years. As such, this was a brand ambassador relationship which was believable, and which effectively targeted the correct end user.

5) Exploring cross promotion
With so many different markets in the fitness industry, there are many opportunities for brands to cross-promote their services with other brands operating in the same sector.

This tactic not only enables both brands to gain access to the database and social media channels of the other but, in doing so, it also allows both businesses gain a greater level of exposure amongst a new audience.

Specialist food company MuscleFood has carried out cross-promotional activity with brands in the running events sector and protein market, as well as with gyms and online personal trainers. MuscleFood always offers strong promotional discounts and competition prizes when it does this type of activity. Both brands, meanwhile, benefit from a greater level of exposure. As with GymShark, MuscleFood has, through cross-promotional activity such as this, been able to gain a very strong presence on social media, including 95K followers on Instagram.

The Rugby World Cup: a PR success

In what was an eagerly anticipated tournament, it’s fair to say that England really stepped up to the plate with its hosting duties of the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Despite the pre-tournament favourites going on to win, rugby fans were treated to some phenomenal matches, including some of the biggest upsets in recent history.
Here are five reasons why the Rugby World Cup was such a big PR hit:

1. Brands ‘rose’ to the occasion
Having been a sponsor since 1995, O2 launched its first animated campaign for England Rugby ahead of the World Cup, calling on all supporters to rally behind the players and “Make Them Giants.” O2 rebranded its 377 shops with the rose logo and hung 50,000 England rugby jerseys on giant washing lines around the UK.
The campaign was a complete success, with over 2.5 million views of the video on YouTube and, despite England’s early exit from the tournament, the #WearTheRose movement is set to continue into next year’s Six Nations and beyond.
This was a campaign which united the nation, and helped to create a genuine sense of excitement and anticipation around the tournament. And that’s not necessarily an easy thing to do.

Give Blood
Enlisting the help of various rugby legends like Jonny Wilkinson and Martin Johnson, Give Blood called for 100,000 new donor registrations, citing that only 3% of England showed their support “in a way that matters” by donating blood in the last year.
The video sees the emblem go from a dying bloom to a perfectly formed rose. #BleedForEngland also trended worldwide. An incredibly worthwhile campaign and something which will no doubt continue to help raise awareness amongst sports fans of the importance of giving blood.

Bleed for England – 30 sec TVC from Pablo London on Vimeo.

2. It carved out a path for other sports to follow
As well as helping to attract thousands of new fans to the game, the Rugby World Cup also inspired football fans to analyse what their sport can learn from its muddy rival.
Referee Nigel Owens is renowned for keeping players in check, and because he is mic’d up, fans can hear not only exactly what he says, but also what the players say back to him.
Whilst football referees do actually wear microphones to enable them to communicate with the fourth official, no fan is able to buy a Matchday radio or listen on the TV to the exchanges between refs and the players.
Giving fans access to this would finally allow referees to gain control back from the players. The sort of heckling that referees receive would not go unheard and players would have to keep sponsors on side.
As Lawrence Dallaglio said, whilst commentating on the Rugby World Cup: “It’s great how one man can be in charge of 30 big men.”

Nigel Owens

3. It highlighted the effectiveness of a celebrity ambassador
Seeking a well-known figure to help “demystify the game and get people excited about rugby”, Samsung called upon Jack Whitehall.
The mobile phone company commissioned a survey before the start of the tournament that revealed just how little we, as a nation, know about the game, which would be dominating our TV screens over a six week period.
The survey warned that 43 per cent of those that intended to watch the tournament did not know which way the ball is supposed to be passed.
Samsung used Whitehall effectively to demonstrate basic rules of the game in a light-hearted way, including the difference between a ruck and a maul. It’s no surprise that the content performed brilliantly, thanks in large part to a very clever choice of celebrity ambassador.

4. A record breaking tournament
Despite England becoming the first host nation ever to crash out at the group stages, the 2015 Rugby World Cup has been billed the “biggest and best tournament ever” by World Rugby, which appeared to break records all over the place.
It saw record attendance figures, with official Fanzones reaching full capacity, and TV viewing figures also reached record levels.
Rugby World Cup’s official merchandise store on Oxford Street was forced to close due to overwhelming demand from the Japanese public following Japan’s shock win over South Africa in the group stages.
The 11.6 million-strong audience that watched Wales defeat England at Twickenham represented the largest rugby viewership in the UK since the 2007 final.
New Zealand’s 62-13 victory over France was a record winning margin in the last eight of a World Cup. The World Cup was also shown live in the Netherlands for the very first time. The list goes on and on…
It is on social media, though, where we have been able to witness a level of engagement unlike anything we’ve seen before. The competition’s opening ceremony and first match between England and Fiji resulted in more mentions than those which took place during the entire six weeks at the 2011 World Cup. A total of 6.8 billion views were generated by tweets about the World Cup over the course of the tournament, with #RWC2015 being used twice a second for the duration of the six weeks.
A total of 25million unique users visited the event website, whilst the official app was also downloaded 2.8million times.

Richie McCaw

5. Japan stepped up ahead of its hosting duties in 2019
It’s hardly surprising that Japan is on the crest of a wave after their upset win over the South Africans, in what is arguably the biggest shock in Rugby World Cup history. But for some unfortunate scheduling, they would have had a great chance of reaching the knockout stages. The team was simply too tired to put up a real fight against Scotland just four days after humbling the Springboks.
A strong performance at the 2015 Rugby World Cup is exactly what the Japan camp would have wanted to increase awareness back home ahead of hosting the competition in 2019, in what will be the first time the tournament is to be held in Asia. After a hugely successful tournament in England, Japan will do well to match it.

Japan rugby world cup fans

Picture credit: Rugby Drum

International Women’s Day

To celebrate International Women’s Day 2016, The PHA Group has taken a closer look at seven spectacular women from the world of sport.

When it comes to sport, it is one thing to achieve greatness on the track, field, pitch or pool; it is another thing altogether to take that success and use it as a platform on which to market yourself not only as an athlete, but as a brand in your own right.

Here is a rundown of seven female athletes who have done just that. And it is because of that ability to combine sporting success with commercial acumen that we consider these individuals to be amongst the most dominant sportswomen in the world today.

Missy Franklin

7) Missy Franklin
Four time Olympic gold medallist Missy Franklin is the current world record holder for the 200m backstroke. A member of the US national swim team, Franklin made her Olympic debut at just 17 years of age. Now, at the age of 20, she possesses one of the brightest futures in the world of swimming.
It is that very potential, which has put Franklin on the radar of some of the world’s biggest brands, brands which are continually on the hunt for the next big sporting talent to act as a ‘face’ for their products. Within moments of turning pro, Franklin was snapped up by Speedo, one of the biggest players in the world of swimming. No doubt they will be the first of many.

Allyson Felix

6) Allyson Felix
One of the most talented American track and field athletes of all time, Felix has picked up Gold medals at both the Olympics and the World Championships. At the London 2012 Games, she secured a whopping three Gold medals across the 200m, the 4x100m and the 4x400m relays.
This is an athlete who seemingly strives to succeed in one race….in order to move onto the next. And it is that relentless dedication with which she competes, which makes her not only a dominant force in her sport, but also a global icon. It is therefore unsurprising that the likes of Gatorade, Proctor and Gamble and, most notably, Nike, have all forged relationships with her. What better way to sell your product than to allow a sportswoman – who encompasses drive, determination and utter dedication – to do it for you?

Candace Parker

 5) Candace Parker
Standing at 6ft 4 inches tall, Parker is one of the most talented female players ever to grace the basketball court. The first woman ever to dunk in an NCAA tournament, Parker has made a name for herself all over the world for her versatility and her ability to break down barriers for women’s basketball.
What Parker and her team have done so well, is to translate that sporting success into mass market appeal. She has proven that it is wholly possible for a female – competing in a sport which has historically been associated with men – to be truly marketable. Parker’s ability to break the mould has led to brands including Adidas and Gatorade aligning themselves with her, in the belief that her connection to their brands will add genuine value to their bottom line.

Image Courtesy of Sarah Peters,

Image Courtesy of Sarah Peters,


 4) Jessica Ennis-Hill
Ennis-Hill catapulted to fame following her Gold medal-winning performance at the 2012 Games. With the hopes of a nation resting on her shoulders she created what was, for many British sports fans, one of the most unforgettable moments in sporting history. But she is so much more than just a world class athlete; she was the face of ‘our’ Games, and remains a role model and an icon.
It is no coincidence that Ennis-Hill transitioned from being one of the most well liked female sports personalities into one of the most successful, commercially, away from the track and field. The humility and poise with which she conducts herself has led to her attracting endorsements from major households brands including Olay and Santander. She is a prime example of how the personality of an athlete can often be just as important as the goals that they achieve within their respective sport.

Danica Patrick

3) Danica Patrick
Auto racing
One of the most successful females of all time in the world of auto racing, Danica Patrick has, arguably, singlehandedly justified the gender neutrality of auto racing. Patrick was the first woman ever to win an IndyCar Series and has been awarded accolades including 2012 NASCAR Nationwide Series Most Popular Diver and Rookie of the Year in the 2005 IndyCar Series season.
Patrick’s ability to provide a voice for women in motor racing has, understandably, made her an incredibly attractive ambassador for many brands.
Patrick has fronted major advertising campaigns, secured lucrative sponsorship arrangements and become an international spokeswoman in support of women in motor sports. It is her success, both inside and out of the vehicle, which will undoubtedly continue to inspire young women all over the world to pursue their dreams of being involved in racing. This is a woman who has moved the dial when it comes to the public’s perception of a sport, and that’s no easy task.

Serena Williams

2) Serena Williams
The No.1 ranked women’s singles tennis player in the world, it is difficult to imagine the sport today without Serena Williams. But what is particularly impressive about this athlete is her ability to market herself to multiple audiences, in order to secure huge commercial investment.
Throughout her career Williams has secured some of the most lucrative sports sponsorship deals of any female sports player, including a multimillion dollar partnership with Nike. In 2014 alone it was estimated that Williams’ endorsement deals were worth in excess of $11m.
In April of 2015 she became the first black female athlete ever to grace the front cover of Vogue. Today, Williams is a tennis player, a writer, actress, model, designer…the list continues. But arguably her most interesting venture came in 2009, when she and her sister, Venus, became the first African-American females to obtain ownership of an NFL franchise, when they bought into the Miami Dolphins. If that’s not a measurement of dominance, I’m not sure what is.

Ronda Rousey
1) Ronda Rousey
Mixed Martial Arts
The inaugural UFC women’s bantamweight world champion, Ronda Rousey was – up until November 2015- undefeated in her mixed martial arts career. Despite losing the world title, to many, Rousey will remain one of the greatest female athletes ever to compete in the sport of mixed martial arts.
Outside of the Octagon, however, is perhaps where Rousey is most impressive. She has her own professional storyline within WWE, has appeared in major movies including Furious 7, Entourage and The Expendables, and has numerous sponsorship deals including a flagship partnership with Reebok.
In 2014, Rousey was ESPN’s Sportswoman of the Year, while in 2015 she was termed the ‘Most Dominant Athlete in the World’ by Sports Illustrated and became the first female UFC athlete ever to grace the title’s cover. Rousey’s book, meanwhile, entitled ‘My Fight / Your Fight’ made the New York Times Best Seller list. Not only has Ronda changed the face of women’s MMA but she has also helped to change the perception of women in sport, period. And that is something that cannot, and should not, be ignored.

To find out more about International Women’s Day, visit:

Ones to Watch – Rio 2016

With Rio 2016 just around the corner, PHA Sport and Leisure pinpoints the ‘ones to watch’ across a selection of Olympic disciplines.

Claudia Fragapane

Claudia Fragapane TwitterGymnast

Age: 17


They say that all good things come in small packages, and this is certainly true of artistic gymnast Claudia Fragapane. She was the first English woman to win four gold medals at a single event and has already been tipped to become Britain’s greatest ever gymnast.

The pressure is certainly on for this 4ft, 6 inch powerhouse, but with another year of training under her belt before Rio, she will undoubtedly become a real contender for a medal in 2016.

Siobhan Marie O’Connor

Siobhan Marie O’Connor TwitterSwimmer

Age: 19


O’Connor was only 16 when she became the youngest swimmer in Team GB’s squad for London 2012. Since then she has gone on to achieve great success, winning six medals in six events and shattering her personal best to win gold in the 200m individual medley at the Commonwealth Games. 

Since then she has gone on to achieve great success, winning six medals in six events and shattering her personal best to win gold in the 200m individual medley at the Commonwealth Games.

Adam Gemili

Adam Gemili TwitterSprinter

Age: 21


Former professional footballer Gemili enjoyed a fantastic 2014, winning two silver medals in the 100m and 4x100m at the Commonwealth Games and double gold at the European championships.

‘No abs Adam’, as he is known by his team mates, is the only Britain to legally break 20secs over 200m and is one of GB’s best hopes for a track medal at Rio in 2016.

Max Whitlock

Max Whitlock TwitterGymnast

Age: 22


Young Max Whitlock was part of Team GB in 2012 where he helped his squad win Britain’s first Olympic men’s team medal in a century by claiming bronze.

Since then Max has gone from strength to strength. In 2014 he won the British all-around title and then the European pommel gold before taking Commonwealth all-around, floor and team gold, plus World Championship all-around silver.

Scott Thwaites

Scott Thwaites TwitterCycling

Age: 25


This young Yorkshireman is still in the relatively early stages of his career, but has already made a huge impression on the British cycling scene after taking home the bronze medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games – quite some feat considering only 12 of the 140 cyclists in this road race managed to finish.

Chris Mears

Chris Mears TwitterDiving

Age: 22


At just 19 years old, Mears made his Olympic debut at London 2012 where he reached the final of the 3m Synchro in addition to finishing in ninth place in the 3m Springboard – not bad for his first Olympics.

He has since gone on to win three World Series medals with partner Jack Laugher and gold in the Commonwealth Games – making him a definite one to watch in Rio.

Steph Bridge

Steph Bridge TwitterKite Surfing

Age: 45


Kiteboarding will be replacing windsurfing in the 2016 Olympic Games – a decision that was highly influenced by the lobbying efforts of four-time world champion and British Kite Surfer, Steph Bridge.

Bridge, alongside her eldest son Oliver, now aims for Olympic selection in 2016.

Katarina Johnson-Thompson

Katarina Johnson-Thompson TwitterAthletics

Age: 22


Currently the World’s No1 ranked heptathlete, 22 year old Johnson-Thompson set a new British record at the European Indoor Championships in Prague this year and, if on form, could be a genuine medal threat for Rio 2016.


Dan Norton

Dan NortonRugby Sevens

Age: 27


With a personal best for the 40 metres of 4.78 seconds, 26-year-old Norton is reportedly faster than Usain Bolt. His speed and agility grabbed attention at The Commonwealth Games last year and if Britain makes the cut for the rugby sevens tournament in Rio, Norton will in no doubt play a pinnacle role in Team GB’s hopes for a medal.


Sporting Celebrities to Watch

Five up and coming sports stars your brand should sign now!

Securing the perfect celebrity ambassador for your brand is no easy task; there are many factors to consider. Perhaps the most important factor of all, though, is timing. How can a brand secure the right person…at precisely the right time? Building a relationship with an individual early on in their career, perhaps before that person has even broken into the mainstream news agenda, will help you to secure their involvement at the right price. It will also give you a head start ahead of your competitors, who will no doubt be hot on your heels in the hunt for upcoming sports stars to build partnerships with.

Here, The PHA Group pinpoints five individuals that brands would be wise to sign up now. (Don’t forget, for more information on how to secure the right brand ambassador for your sports brand, download the latest PHA Sport and Leisure Insights guide).

Matthew Hudson Smith

matt hudson-smith








Athlete, 20


Followers: 3628

Matthew, 19, burst on to the athletics scene last year with a gold medal in the 4 x 400 metres at The Commonwealth Games, his first international meeting.  The following month he finished second in the European Championships individual event behind stalwart Martyn Rooney.  But it was his shy but charismatic nature that grabbed the hearts of the nation with his modest approach to interviews.  He couldn’t believe what was happening to him and he was just happy to be a part of races that were filled with

Kyle Edmund

Kyle Edmund


Tennis Player, 20


Followers: 5,365

Andy Murray took over the baton from Tim Henman and has led the way in British men’s tennis for the past eight years and has achieved more than anyone would have expected of him.  However is there someone following in his footsteps?  Brit Kyle Edmund is one of the youngest males in the top world’s top 200 and recently qualified for the Australian Open at the age of 20.  Many predict that he will be in the top 100 by the end of the year so now could be the time for big brands such as Adidas and Wilson to secure his signature.  He also has an incredible work ethic and will definitely be a fantastic role model for aspiring players.

Adam Peaty

Adam Peaty







Swimmer, 21


Followers: 9,316

Ross Murdoch is the first person that everyone mentions when they think about the swimming pool at The Commonwealth Games after he beat poster boy Michael Jamieson in the 200 metre breastroke event.  Adam Peaty, 21, secured about a fifth of the press coverage when he, in fact, beat Murdoch to the gold in the 100 metres.  Many believe Adam will be the swimming sensation of the 2016 Olympics and on current form he will expect to beat Murdoch to a medal.  He has deals in place already but we expect his commercial value to rocket this year.

Charley Hull

Charly Hull








Golfer, 18


Followers: 20.1k

At the ripe old of 18, many would think that Charley was at the beginning of her career and still struggling to gain ranking points.  However last year Charley won the ladies European Order of Merit and is currently ranked in the world’s top 40.  She has publically stated that she is in no rush to move over to the prestigious USA Tour yet so it is the perfect time for a brand to sign her up on a long term deal.  As soon as she starts playing in America, she will become a global superstar.  The big banks and watch companies are surely keeping a very close on her progress and are hoping they can get some inside knowledge on when she is going to change tours!

Morgan Lake

Morgan Lake









Athlete, 16


Followers: 4,048

Britain is going through a golden era of heptathletes with Denise Lewis and Jessica Ennis.  Katarina Johnson Thompson is also on the back of Jess’ heals and will definitely be in with a chance of medalling at the World Championships this year and in Rio 2016.  But could there be a surprise around the corner, with 16 year old Morgan Lake who won the won the World Junior Championships last year and is close to breaking the senior UK high jump record.  With a name like a Hollywood movie star and a fiery temper, the big female brands such as Lululemon and PhD woman will be definitely be targeting her signature.