Adtech startup addvirtt exits stealth to democratise sports advertising

South Africa-based sports advertising start-up addvirtt is plugging African brands into the formerly unattainable high impact, high-value TV visible advertising inventory of Europe’s biggest football leagues. Virtual advertising leverages proprietary technology that has been proven to modify the regular live broadcast reliably and authentically, delivering multiplication of the perimeter advertising space to multiple international markets.

addvirtt is giving African brands advertising opportunities on the stadium boards of the world’s biggest soccer leagues

Founder and CEO of addvirtt and serial entrepreneur, Peter Langa, has toiled in the South African media landscape for over 15 years. “I realised that if you want to move forward in the media, you have to move out of the current structures,” he says. “There are too many people in decision making positions who don’t want to see other points of view, so innovators have to start their own thing.”

After leaving a position in Media24 magazines, he started his own marketing agency Langa Eleven and knocked on doors for eight months before landing his first client. But it was a deal he brokered for his third big client, PepsiCo, that made Simba the mascot at the Wanderers cricket stadium which led him down the sports advertising path.

“In 2019 I spotted a gap in the market for targeted ads on sports fields,” Langa explains. “I knew the technology existed to do it, but no-one cares about Africa, so we don’t get seen as a potential market to roll out these campaigns.”

“On the contrary, sport is the best way to address the African market, especially football. We use the Supponor technology to carry the campaigns directly on the feeds and target it regionally so that your intended audience are the only ones who see that specific ad. This approach allows any brand with money to advertise in this premium space.”

Langa learnt early on to think globally and not locally, which is reflected in the clients he booked at Langa Eleven.

With addvirtt the focus is, seemingly, on treating the local brands like international clients and offering the same level of access and service. The company also integrates QR codes and USSD into its campaigns, offering immediate campaign engagement and tracking tools.

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For 2022/23 brands have access to all the major European soccer leagues (Bundesliga, Serie A, La Liga, Eredivisie) as well as Formula 1 and NBA, and addvirtt is bringing virtual advertising to African sports productions too.

“South Africans build locally, but should be building for the world,” concludes Langa. “If it doesn’t work for our 60 million people, zoom out and find a product fit in a different market. Sub-Saharan Africa is 1.5 billion people. Africa matters.”

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