Like the entertainment it puts on in the ring, WWE looks to go big when it comes to the value proposition it offers corporate partners.

That value proposition largely boils down to three main ingredients: differentiated content, authentic brand integration and one-stop shopping.

While most professional sports teams don’t control their own media or have access to talent, WWE offers 360-degree marketing platforms that include content, global platforms and WWE superstars.

WWE assets include more than 500 events, custom content and direct-to-consumer distribution channels (WWE Network, WWE YouTube channel, etc.).

And, to no surprise, those distribution channels can provide extensive reach.

The WWE YouTube channel was the most viewed sports channel and second most viewed channel overall with 20 billion lifetime views as of Jan. 31, 2018, according to WWE.

“We have two customers: valued business customers and the WWE universe. The marketing world has evolved, and those two audience segments are now focused on the same thing—engaging and differentiated content,” said John Brody, WWE executive vice president, global sales & head of international.

The strategy is paying off. WWE posted a 30 percent year-over-year increase in sponsorship revenue in 2017 and a fourfold increase in revenue since 2010, said Brody.

Below, three examples of how WWE works with sponsors to create 360-degree marketing platforms that provide value to both fans and sponsors.

Snickers
Snickers partnered with WWE in 2016 to add a targeted extension to its long-running “You’re not you when you’re hungry” ad campaign. The brand brings the campaign to life through its presenting sponsorship of WrestleMania and video vignettes that feature WWE superstars.

“We look for big, bold and iconic partners that can help tell our story in an authentic way, and WWE helps tell that story in way that resonates with fans,” said Mike Italia, Mars senior brand manager, Snickers brand.

The tie-in helps Snickers overcome one of the biggest challenges for confectionary marketers: reaching consumers under the age of 35.

“They’re watching content on YouTube, Hulu and other streaming services, and it’s much harder to reach them. We leverage WWE to get in front of them in engaging ways and tell our story through a property they already engage.”

Snickers credits the partnership with driving engagement. The brand has posted an increase in impressions over each of the last two years, culminating with nearly three billion impressions in 2017.

“We’re reaching more people, they have a positive impression of the brand, and they want to share content.”

Snickers this year is placing more focus on activating the partnership at retail. That includes a sweepstakes that dangles tickets to WWE events, access to WWE programming and other prizes.

Snickers last month announced an extension of its WrestleMania sponsorship for the third consecutive year. The event will take place April 8 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans and will stream around the world on the WWE Network.

Cricket Wireless
Cricket Wireless partnered with WWE to energize its brand and drive store traffic following AT&T’s 2014 acquisition of Leap Wireless, Cricket’s parent company.

The acquisition helped transform Cricket from a regional brand to a national brand.

The prepaid wireless provider was drawn to WWE due to its large fan base, high percentage of fans among its existing customers, and alignment with its tagline “Cricket Wireless, Something to Smile About.” (The telco replaced the tagline with “Smile, You’re on Cricket” last month).

“A lot of people think of wireless service as a commodity. We needed a partner to help tell our story, and we both have a desire to give consumers something to smile about,” said Tiffany Baehman, Cricket Wireless vice president and chief marketing officer.

Cricket Wireless activates the sponsorship to drive store traffic. The company hosts WWE superstars at retail locations; each event typically draws 300 to 400 guests, with some drawing upwards of 1,000 fans.

“It lets them know who Cricket is, where we are located, and what we sell,” said Baehman, noting that the company consistently generates leads as a result of the promotional activity.

The telco also is placing more focus on digital activation, including livestreams with WWE personalities. The company this week (April 6) will broadcast a Facebook Live Q&A with The Miz on a Mardi Gras-themed set. The superstar will then make an appearance at a Cricket Wireless store in Westwego, La. to greet fans, take pictures and sign autographs.

The partnership also includes branded content, sponsorship of the WWE Network and consumer experiences at WrestleMania and other events.

KFC
KFC partnered with WWE in 2016 to support its rotating “Colonel” advertising campaign that features celebrities taking turns playing the role of the company’s founder.

Working in conjunction with KFC and Wieden+Kennedy, WWE put its own spin on the campaign with the KFC Colonel Rumble, an on-site execution in which WWE superstars compete for a chance to play the role of the Colonel.

WWE has hosted the competition at SummerSlam 2017 and Royal Rumble 2018, with Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels and other current and former stars taking a turn in the ring.

The promotion allows KFC to stay true to its brand voice while providing value to WWE fans, said Brody.

“It’s a fun and engaging way for fans to get closer to KFC and WWE.”

Looking to provide the QSR chain with additional reach, WWE leveraged its partnership with 2K Games to integrate KFC into the top-selling WWE 2K18 video game. Gamers can choose Colonial Sanders, Brock Lesnar and other playable characters in the game.