Q&A: OPPO’s Global Marketing Director, Derek Sun

17 Jul 2019

By: Sport Industry Group

OPPO’s Global Marketing Director, Derek Sun, talks to Sport Industry Group as the Chinese smart phone business announces a new partnership with FC Barcelona following a big summer of sport for the brand who have aligned with Wimbledon, Roland Garros and the ICC.

Why has OPPO started to sponsor major sporting events and teams? Did you look at sponsorship in other sectors other than sport?

OPPO has teamed up with the world's top teams and events such as FC Barcelona, Wimbledon, Roland-Garros and ICC. It is the deep cultural connection behind these events that showcases OPPO’s support and pursuit of sportsmanship. The future goal of OPPO is to establish an international brand and the crossover with sports is one of critical links.

Our marketing strategy is focused on brand attitude, proposition and identity. Our focus is professional sports events, original music festivals, art, pop culture, and game animation. Using innovative marketing strategies to strengthen dialogue with young people including building platforms for creative people, we hope to create a creative community, enabling artists and college students to work together.


What is the sponsorship strategy when it comes to building the brand in Europe? Likewise, in the UK?

The European market is of key strategic focus for OPPO in the future. Adhering to the principle of brand first, OPPO’s partnerships with global top tournaments helps establish a better understanding of our brand identity and strength. The influence of Wimbledon, FC Barcelona, Roland-Garros are also vital experiments for our ‘glocal’ strategy; through global branding but local activation. OPPO regards the UK market as an important strategic focus. We hope in the next three years, that UK consumers will know, experience and eventually love OPPO.

Our Marketing strategy in the UK is based on three principles. Firstly, build connections; we want to build a connection with consumers step by step, via branding marketing and product experience, along with sponsoring top tournaments in the UK. Secondly, establish roots in the UK; establish a local performing team, focus on future talent development in the UK (London Design Centre, RCA, etc.), and nurture young talents. Thirdly, lead the future; OPPO is constantly investing in 5G, AI, imaging, etc. and lead innovation. We hope to welcome the next-generation communication application scenarios together with UK consumers, and this started with the new Reno Series, including the first commercial using 5G smartphone, the Reno 5G, which is now available in Europe.


When was the deal signed with FC Barcelona and what does it involve?

OPPO signed the original sponsorship with FC Barcelona in 2015 and we have renewed the deal with a three-year partnership. Besides advertisements in the Camp Nou stadium, this partnership opens an exciting new chapter in the OPPO FC Barcelona story. There are several elements including athlete sponsorships, training camps, and fan workshops. More details will be released in due course.


How will the activation vary from the previous deal signed?

For the first four years, we launched co-branded mobile phone and accessories. The OPPO brand logo appeared at the Camp Nou Stadium and, at the same time, we worked collaboratively on fan activities, TV commercials, joint advertising posters and other products. This led to more phone users throughout the world. We have renewed the sponsorship for the next three years and we look forward to announcing more activations in due course.


Why did you decide to partner with the AELTC?

We chose to partner with the AELTC, to help build our global brand, as well as to help us grow in new markets. We partnered with The Championships based on mutual recognition of brand synergy and values. Tennis and Wimbledon's classical elegance, as well as the pursuit of excellence in sportsmanship, coincide with OPPO's commitment to design and product innovation. The European market is a new focus for OPPO. Based on the principle of brand first, Wimbledon helps the audience better understand OPPO's brand temperament and the technology of our products. The spirit of sports always brings to life motivation and inspiration.


Was having visible on-court branding essential for you? Would you have done the deal without it?

For us, the shared value is more than just visible on-court branding. OPPO's partnership with Wimbledon is the first time that the world's leading technology brand and the long-established and most prestigious world tennis event are held together. Wimbledon has a broad audience base in the UK, Europe and the world. OPPO hopes to work with Wimbledon to help us further enhance our brand awareness in overseas markets and let more users know about OPPO's product experience. At the same time OPPO has been deeply involved in China and Asia for a long time and has influence among young people so aims to help Wimbledon to expand brand awareness and promote tennis culture in these markets.


What is the insight behind using photographers with an OPPO phone?

We believe by using OPPO phones, more people will get to know more about what OPPO is and how an OPPO phone could be great option for consumers. For the first time in history Wimbledon was professionally captured on a smartphone; the OPPO Reno 5G. Working alongside the AELTC, OPPO attempted to #AceTheShot for the mobile generation demonstrating the notable developments in smartphone camera technology. Official Wimbledon Photographer, Jed Leicester, captured the iconic tournament using the Reno 5G’s latest 10x hybrid zoom technology, from wide-angle to 10x close-up zoom. The advanced technology in the phone allowed Leicester to get closer to the action, zooming in on Wimbledon’s iconic features such as the flowers, strawberries and the action on the court in high definition.


This year, OPPO become Roland-Garros’ first ever partner from China. How successful has the partnership been?

After announcing our partnership with Wimbledon, OPPO joined hands with Roland-Garros, where the combination of our young and energetic tech brand with the passion of Roland-Garros tells a more complete, rich tennis story. We aim to motivate young athletes by sponsoring Roland-Garros Wild Card Series by OPPO, setting up special awards in China, India and Brazil. Plus, we will join hands with Chinese top universities to promote tennis, invite pros to coach students, and build close contact with Roland-Garros. We will also partner on content creation to increase OPPO brand awareness and engage fans.


Why did you choose to partner with the ICC?

OPPO has a long history with cricket, as a Global Partner of the ICC and the India national team since 2016. In 2018 we also sponsored the Pakistan Super League (PSL) and the Melbourne Stars in Australia. The 2019 Cricket World Cup is another event demonstrating OPPO’s connection with cricket and with the ICC. Cricket is one of the most popular sports in the world and the Cricket World Cup is the fourth most watched event in the world after the Olympic Games, the FIFA World Cup and the Rugby World Cup. Its "adventurous and preserving spirit" perfectly integrates with OPPO's pursuit of technology and aesthetics.


What was the insight behind the #BeAShotMaker campaign?

The shot makers in cricket expect to play world class shots and win the match for their team. Audiences look forward to witnessing these great shots in unforgettable experiences. OPPO is providing a platform to display young creators and give everyone the chance to be a shot maker.


What are the brand’s plans moving forward? Are there any other sports that are attractive to you for potential OPPO sponsorship?

Our ambition to build a global brand will never cease. We are committed to working within sport and can think of no better partners than Wimbledon, Roland-Garros and FCB. Please stay tuned for more future and further actions of OPPO!