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tackling the digital landscape to engage the youth market

07 Sep 2017, Posted by Holly Hammond in Events, Football, General, Social Media

The kids are back to school and parents are breathing a sigh of relief…but for hps Jardine the fun is just starting…

We’ve been sharpening our pencils over the summer hols, ready for the start of a brand-new season of PlayStation Schools’ Cup – now the biggest grassroots football competition in the country. Now in its fifth season, the initiative continues to evolve as it embraces the ever-changing digital landscape to engage a traditionally hard-to-reach youth demographic.

As every parent knows, YouTube is now the channel-of-choice for kids – the place they go to to consume their news, be entertained and start shaping their view on the world around them. It’s a powerful platform for brands, if used in the right way.

20% of UK 9-12 year olds now subscribe to 50 or more YouTube channels, and it’s a similar story for kids under the age of 16. Yes, teens do still watch TV, but studies show that they now consume considerably more content on YouTube and other digital channels. While YouTube remains the most-viewed video platform among this age demographic, Instagram and Snapchat continue to grow in popularity, and Facebook remains a force to be reckoned with.

But brands can’t kid a kid when it comes to engaging on social media – they’re an incredibly socially savvy bunch, who want to engage in relevant, credible conversations, with news, views and content packaged in ways that they can relate to.


The PlayStation Schools’ Cup roadshows, visiting schools up and down the country, provide an ideal opportunity to create engaging content. The brand is constantly evolving its social strategy as the metaphorical goalposts – in this case the digital landscape – keep moving.

The campaign is now achieving considerable fame through its influencer engagement programme. Many of the YouTubers attending the roadshows enjoy cult hero status with the pupils, and often receive as warm a welcome (if not warmer) as the attending Premier League players. How times have changed!


The roadshows have become the catalyst for promoting this grassroots initiative, presenting a wealth of content opportunities, themed around Premier League players visiting schools. There’s an ever-increasing focus on social and digital engagement. The Schools’ Cup programme has embraced ongoing developments in this space, utilising features such as Facebook Live, Snapchat geo-filters and trending Snapchat content, including interviews with the Premier League stars.

The 2016/17 PlayStation Schools’ Cup culminated in a three-day National Final in May. With ambitious live-streaming plans for the Festival Finals, research highlighted YouTube and Facebook as the go-to channels for the brand’s target audience. Split over Facebook Live and YouTube Live, live streaming of the Finals attracted over 100,000 unique viewers. This figure didn’t include the mass assembly viewings, via live web TV, staged at all 30 schools in the Finals.


But that was last year – a year, by the way, in which the initiative was recognised with a UK Sponsorship Award.

The 2017/18 PlayStation Schools’ Cup is on the horizon – it’ll be a whole new ball game, with new digital challenges to tackle. What’s hot; who’s not? When to send; what’s on trend?

School dinners are back on the menu and we can’t wait!