True Love: High-performance affiliate marketing for BVB

How to increase momentum during periods of low sales despite the summer break


  • Performance increase despite the summer break through publisher rally

  • 30-day challenge

  • Prize: CPO increase and a signed BVB team jersey


  • Sales increase by 221 % compared to the same period the previous year

  • Reactivation of inactive publishers

  • 1,297 sales

The account

  • Bundesliga club with 155,244 members

  • €490 million in revenues in 2018

  • Fifth-largest sports club in the world


  • Sales increase during (and despite) the summer break

  • Motivation of publishers by strengthening their ties to BVB

  • Reactivate inactive publishers and spur performance

During the summer break, it’s not only Bundesliga football that takes a break – so does fans’ motivation to make purchases. A look at annual figures shows that sales fall and do not rise again until the Bundesliga season resumes, an understandable trend given that more joy is found in new merchandise once football returns to the forefront of culture.


The BVB wanted a new and clever way of breaking this pattern and achieving sizeable sales despite (or because of) the football break. TRG therefore designed an exciting approach to affiliate marketing, which was implemented for this long-standing customer.




High-performance affiliate marketing thrives on the commitment of publishers and affiliates, but seasonal influences can affect them strongly, leading to strong fluctuations in sales. Social events and holidays influence people’s consumer behaviour. Christmas, for example, always spurs a significant increase in revenues in most industries.


It’s the same with football: Fans order their favourite club’s new jersey before the season begins. In contrast to the Bundesliga’s summer break, this is an extremely favourable period for publishers. When the season has started and the fans have stocked up on merchandise, their desire to buy new articles decreases if no football is played.


TRG wanted to counteract this trend and implemented an intelligent affiliate approach for BVB that was fun for both publishers and fans. There was another obstacle that had to be overcome: Cashback partners and meta-networks were excluded from the campaign.



“Sales increase of 221 % compared to same period the previous the year”





BVB’s motto is “True Love”. It’s about big emotions, as evidenced by the strong bond between the club and its fans. TRG wanted to incorporate this aspect into its affiliate management for the Ruhr-region club. Feeling close to the club was an essential part of the campaign. The publishers were able to experience this as well. To strengthen their connection to football, the publishers competed with each other – a sporty concept, one could say.


The publishers were divided into three categories and competed only within their group:

  1. Champions League

Here, two big postview publishers played against each other.


  1. Bundesliga

This included the other best partners, meaning publishers who have generated more than 20 sales in the last 6 months.


  1. DFB Pokal

Publishers who generated less than 20 sales in 2019 entered the race here.


Partners with exclusive cooperative agreements were excluded from the affiliate rally. The winners from the individual groups received a CPO-increase the following month as well as a hand-signed BVB jersey from the 2019/20 season.





The lynchpin of this campaign was the account manager at TRG, who planned, developed and managed this affiliate rally. As the interface between BVB and all participating publishers, he was responsible for communication and monitoring. As the “referee,” it was also, of course, his task to ensure a fair competition. Personal contact was also encouraged via a newsletter campaign.


TRG informed BVB about the current situation in regular performance- and feedback-rounds, and discussed further courses of action with its contact people there. The publishers were simultaneously informed, and weekly rankings provided additional motivation.





How do you bring more momentum into periods of low sales? How do you motivate smaller, inactive publishers to perform better? How can large, high-performance publishers surpass themselves? TRG asked itself these questions and found a winning answer – creatively referencing the advertiser in all aspects of the campaign: the competition concept, the use of football terminology and the incentive. In the end, the numbers, as well as the feedback from the publishers and client, speak for themselves: an impressive sales increase of 221% over the same period the previous year, lots of fun and signed BVB jerseys hanging in the winners’ offices.


Do you have a specific project request and want to work with us? Stephan Beyersdörfer is there for you: By phone at +49 30 577 04 13 16 or by email at