How Role Models in Sports Help Kids Stay Happy and Healthy

22.07.2021 research

The popularity and credibility of sports heroes means that they make great ambassadors. They are in a perfect position to motivate children to lead a healthy lifestyle and eat well. Retailers can run sports-themed loyalty campaigns to connect with and bring value to their customers—especially families.


Why athletes are better role models than ever before

In the modern age, athletes have become much more than just sportspeople. From world-famous footballers to the sprinters, swimmers and skateboarders that train for years to win gold at the Olympics, each of them has a story to tell. And, now more than ever, these active heroes are using their voices to help challenge discrimination and fight injustice around the world. 

For children, athletes act as role models that inspire them to believe that dreams can come true—and motivate them to lead a healthy, happy life. To help with that journey, grocery retailers can promote loyalty programs that align with these leading figures and encourage a healthy lifestyle. Here’s how. 


Inspiring kids to be healthy with athlete-inspired loyalty campaigns

Sport is about more than just winning. When done right, athletes exhibit qualities that go beyond the field of play: sportsmanship, respectfulness and generosity. These values are then passed on to the kids that watch their favorite athletes on screens or in stadia. Their sporting endeavors also motivate youngsters to work and concentrate harder to emulate their idols: they want to become just like them when they grow up. And, when their role models talk about the importance of healthy food, they listen.

Of course, youngsters who adore athletes are also likely to lead more active lives. Trying to dribble like Messi or burn down the track like Bolt helps promote good health. In a world where body positivity is paramount, athletes help youngsters learn that healthy doesn’t mean thin, and good health is all about balance. Research shows that self-esteem is increased with participation in sports, with teens who participate in two or more sports having a 10% higher self-esteem than teens who don’t play any. It’s also shown that an active lifestyle helps kids to become more confident and leads to better performance at school and in social settings.


How athlete-led sports loyalty programs are a winner for any retail business

Loyalty programs help retailers bring joy to families through education, entertainment and just good ol’ fun. And what better way to help reinforce your own brand’s promotion of good health and fresh food than with a campaign centered around an athlete’s same message?

At UNGA, we’re experts at creating inspiring sports-themed loyalty campaigns that are a huge hit with families. We also champion them at every opportunity, because we know the value they bring. 

In fact, we’ve already created and implemented a number of successful campaigns just like this. Take ‘Eat Like a Champ’, which encourages kids to eat healthily using football players’ favorite recipes, mini-games and fun facts related to football and nutrition. Woolworths’ Aussie Heroes campaign, meanwhile, inspires kids to achieve their dreams and educates them about sports and the Olympic and Paralympic games.

Olympic BMX Supercross rider Saya Sakakibara, one of the Aussie Heroes featured in the collectible campaign, shared: “I grew up watching these extraordinary athletes, these Aussie heroes, and to be alongside them in this book and being a collectable sticker, it’s such a surreal moment.” – Read the full article here


Picture: Dallas Kilponen/Woolworths - Aussie Heroes campaign

Besides, don’t forget the four key advantages of loyalty programs, which are: 

  1. Increasing your brand awareness
  2. Delivering ROI: driving up footfall and sales
  3. Helping you nurture long-lasting relationships with customers
  4. Fueling your 360° supermarket marketing strategy

So, engaging your customers by capitalizing on the influence of sports heroes through playful loyalty programs can help you stay ahead of the competition. The only drawback is you don’t get an actual medal.


Celebrate major sporting events to take your campaign to the next level

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, several major sporting events have taken place all over the world. From the Copa América and UEFA’s European Football Championship to the Olympics and Paralympics, there have been several global celebrations of sport. This looks set to continue into 2022, when Football’s World Cup and the Winter Olympics return, among others.

“Families want brands to contribute and help them to live a healthier lifestyle,” says Gerald Adrian, Head of Sports and Licensing at UNGA. “Major sporting events are relevant moments for retailers to leverage the power and influence of kids’ sports heroes.”

So, set these dates in your diary now, and make sure you don’t miss the opportunity to grow your retail business by engaging families with a sports-themed loyalty program.

Discover more about launching your own customized loyalty campaign.

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