A constant challenge for us at Samba Digital is explaining the Brazilian “meme” to the social media directors and managers of our customers’ clubs and entities. In its most basic form, a meme is a digital joke conveyed through an image, such as a photo or gif, that goes viral. The perfect analogy that defines how a piece of content can go viral is a level 5 hurricane, an intense one that destroys everything in its path.
However, it demonstrates to clubs that original content is more than important for them to break out from the repetition of a football club routine. Flamengo, Latin America’s top in interactions, created content that didn’t require any special production other than the sharp eye of its social media manager.
Saying farewell to the club after confirming a transfer to Al Hilal, from Saudi Arabia, Michael has passed the title of “The Ugliest of the Squad” to the right-back Rodinei, another player known for his jokes and good humour. Overall, there were more than an amazing 2.5 million views on this video.
This is what stands out when looking at TikTok, for example. Despite the lack of a more effective effort from some of the more traditional clubs, which can go weeks without posting on it, the social network, dubbed the dancing social network in Brazil, reached nearly 60% of the total views of Instagram, the platform with the most interactions between February 16th and 22nd. During that week, the right-back Guga’s dance with teammate Mariano received 3.9 million views, propelling Atlético-MG to the top of the social network.
Corinthians adopt a different model
Corinthians, which finished 2nd in the Brazilian Serie A with a consistent performance of around 28 million monthly views in the previous three months, bets on on-field content ranging from historical plays to current highlights of both youth and professional teams.
We invited Rodrigo Vessoni, editor of Meu Timão, a website specialized in Corinthians, to give his opinion on the content that the club uses on social networks:
“About Corinthians’ social networks, basically there is a clear fear of going a little over the top when opening up to greater exposure. We feel that the board does not allow the Communication Department to produce funnier videos that can generate greater exposure for players. I don’t know if they are prohibited, but there is a recommendation to avoid moments of too much relaxation as in other social networks. Maybe it’s the directors’ profile, who are a little averse to the social network. Maybe it’s a lack of knowledge about social media that explains why Corinthians has a more serious profile in recent times”, said the professional, who works in Corinthians for at least two decades, both as a reporter and, now, as an editor.
Despite wearing down the relationship between the clubs, the provocations always stir up the fans and raise the numbers. After much backroom wrangling over issues ranging from the holding of the Brazilian Supercup since Atlético-MG had won both the Brazilian Championship and Cup, to the stadium that would host the match, Atlético-MG faced Flamengo and won the trophy. This victory came after a lengthy penalty shootout, with the match ending 2-2 after 90 minutes.
After winning the championship, Atlético-MG tweeted a photo of a model carrying a perfume bottle containing the freshly obtained cup. In the caption, the word “cheirinho” (smell) was the trigger to provoke Flamengo, which was the runner-up in three different tournaments. This post earned 100,000 likes, while the club received 1.6 million in a single day.
Wagner Leitzke, Social Media Manager at Samba Digital, discusses how provocations like this work, saying…
“It is necessary to get out of common sense, out of the stagnation. Publications that can have an impact, often with provocative content, will reach other niches. The provocation has always been present in the sports world and with social media gaining more and more importance, it is impossible not to bring them to the digital realm as well. Sometimes, you need to be a little more fan and a little less institutional. Balance is the key.”