Mixed martial arts is big business these days, arguably more popular than boxing, especially in the United States with UFC superstar Conor McGregor getting press every time he pauses five minutes to glance at a camera. When McGregor and boxing legend Floyd “Money” Mayweather tentatively agreed to a money split for a rumored fight, headlines were written as if the fight was on. That’s the power of the octagon to influence pugilist entertainment.
Meanwhile, a host of other similar martial pursuits are making a comeback. Both karate and kickboxing are seeing a resurgence thanks to MMA. And, though Muay Thai (kickboxing) is not all the rage in the West, the internet is a great equalizer.
Thailand is the cradle of and the biggest market for Muay Thai … well, that, and Jean-Claude Van Damme movies. But some industry related brands are not content to stay local. They want global exposure, and they are leaning heavily on social media to make that happen. Yokkao, a Muay Thai equipment based out of Bangkok, recently launched an aggressive online campaign to turn social media into a goldmine for interest to drive sales.
Speaking to CNN, product design head for Yokkao, Stefania Picelli, said, “We started with Facebook and YouTube… On YouTube, we released training videos with fighters in full HD…”
The videos are compelling and energetic, introducing the sport of Muay Thai to an audience primed and hungry for more martial sport. And it’s much better than the movies. Muay Thai is acrobatic, fast-paced and ultra-violent, all qualities that play very well in a quick visual medium like YouTube.
There’s also a pageantry to it, along with a flavor of “face” versus “heel” right out of professional wrestling. This plays extremely well, and it hearkens back to the best days of boxing when it was as much a fight between personalities and fan favorites than pugilists. Taken together, the videos are a stark and compelling introduction to a sport most Westerners have spent little time on, but could get into, if it was packaged properly.
One of the ways to do this is through story, and Yokkao does this by highlighting Muay Thai heroes like Saenchai, who claims an incredible 300 wins in his career, impressively across multiple weight classes.
Yokkao is also smartly connecting with felt wants and needs of its customers. They want to know how to train, how to eat, and how to exercise to get better at kickboxing, so the company uses YouTube to answer all of these legitimate questions. They did the research, and now they are giving a huge new potential client group what they want.