Hong Kong Rugby Sevens_HSBC_Youtube_featured Image

Hong Kong’s Rugby Sevens kicks off this week and the highly sought after tickets are generating a buzz on social media for the event’s sponsors.

It’s the island’s event of the year. But unless you are invited to an exclusive corporate box or have booked a special Hong Kong Sevens package deal, the channels for getting tickets are restricted to a public ballot, which closed in February.

Fans can still pick up tickets on the site of official event partner viagogo, but mostly these are quite inflated.

Hong Kong Rugby Sevens_Viagogo_600

In short, getting access to this three-day event is akin to winning a golden ticket to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.

Which is why brand campaigns in Hong Kong offering free tickets are being widely shared on social media.

Here are some of the hit and misses from event sponsors.

Try! (5 points)


Foodpanda has nailed it with a campaign encouraging users to input a Hong Kong Sevens voucher code each time they make an order through the Foodpanda app or website.

Users go into the running for double passes to the big game, and the more times they order through Foodpanda, the more times they are entered.

Foodpanda is promoting the event across its Hong Kong Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts.

The beauty of this campaign is its simplicity. It not only encourages people to sign up to the Foodpanda app, it also encourages them to make more than one order.

Drop goal (3 points)

HSBC: Bring Your Game

HSBC is renowned for its sponsorship of the Rugby Sevens. This visually stimulating cartoon on YouTube really captures what the Sevens is about.

Yes, it’s about sport and sporting greats and bringing teams from around the world into the city’s centre at its Happy Valley stadium. But it is so much more than that. (Read more...) the heart of it, Hong Kong knows how to turn any global event, into a global party. This short video captures that mood. It demonstrates that Sevens fever extends well beyond the sporting event itself and spills into Hong Kong’s streets, its harbor and its hills.

At the time of publishing, the video had been viewed more than 150,000 times. The video promotes HSBC’s sponsorship of the game with the hashtag: #BringYourGame. A sharp, snappy and on point tag that is trending well on Twitter in Hong Kong.

Traffic is being pushed to the YouTube video via the bank’s special HSBC Sport account on Twitter which has 19,000 followers.

Would the views be higher if HSBC had a stronger social media prescence? Its other social assets include a number of global and local Twitter accounts, LinkedIn and Google+.

There are no incentives for users to share this video. It’s being shared because it’s a great example of strong content marketing and storytelling.

Yellow card

Cathay Pacific: All aboard the party

Cathay Pacific is promoting free event tickets and other prizes when users watch and share a Hong Kong Sevens video on its Facebook page.

Hong Kong Rugby Sevens_Cathay Pacific_Facebook promo_600

It seems easy enough. First the user clicks to watch a YouTube video.

Then the user shares the video on their Facebook page.

Hong Kong Rugby Sevens_Cathay Pacific_How it works_600

And now comes the complicated part. Once the share is complete, Cathay Pacific asks for some user information including a Hong Kong ID number (you must be a Hong Kong resident to participate) before it creates a winner’s “boarding pass”.

Hong Kong Rugby Sevens_Cathay Pacific_Boarding Pass_600

There’s also some confusion about what happens next – how are winners alerted if they have won a prize? Despite this, the video has been viewed 128,000 times since March 20.

In my case it generated a failure notice. Comments on the Cathay Pacific Facebook page suggest I’m not the only one who encountered this problem.

Hong Kong Rugby Sevens_Cathay Pacific_failure notice_600

From a consumer point of view, the deal I made with the brand was to offer an ‘endorsement’ of the campaign by sharing it on my Facebook page, but in return, I would go into the running for some prizes. After the relatively time consuming process to complete the requirements to go into the draw, and then not go into the draw (!) my love for the brand was somewhat diminished.

Marriott Rewards

Marriott Rewards is offering free tickets to the game and other prizes to promote and boost its Asia Pacific Instagram account.

To win a prize there are three steps. Firstly, the user needs to follow the @MarriottRewardsAP account (currently just over 500 fans). Then the user needs to comment on why they love the Hong Kong Sevens (OK, starting to lose me here). Finally, the user needs to tag three friends (Really? Didn’t this type of Instagram marketing stay in 2015?). Winners are then informed by direct message on Instagram if they have won a prize.

Where Marriott has missed the mark with this campaign is not so much in the number of steps it takes to enter the competition (although there are a number of barriers here), but the way it is using other social media channels to promote the campaign. This becomes a problem when a consumer sees the promotion on a Facebook feed (and starts getting excited about the prospect of free tickets) only to be directed to the Instagram page which they may or may not be a user of.

Is the prospect of a free ticket to the rugby enough to warrant signing up to another social media platform? People sign up to social media channels because they see the value in it, want to try it, have researched it and want to learn more about it… not because they are forced into it to (potentially) win tickets to a live event. What starts off as a good will campaign, risks leaving a not so happy feeling around the brand when non-Instagram social media fans are locked out of the competition.


Brands have paid a premium to be a part of Hong Kong’s biggest sporting event. When creating campaigns to generate buzz around it, competitions need to be simple and easy to enter, with strategic support across all social media assets.

Minimise the steps the consumers have to take to share branded content. In this case, Foodpanda wins hands down.

Related reading


Let's block ads! (Why?)