So how’s the advertising tournament so far? Unsurprisingly, there’s lots
about football, relying on one of two systems: either they are full of
sub-Nike grandiosity with fireworks going off above packed terraces,
gritty black-and-white fan footage and lots of nifty interplay between
support media (Coca-Cola), or they celebrate the incompetent, semi-
tragic side of the game (after all, we are British), but in a lumbering,
old-style, un-Loaded sort of way (McDonald’s).
They’re fine in their own way. McDonald’s and Coca-Cola are at least
noticeable. Coke has a particularly fine poster out at the moment: ‘If
they could transfer fans, how much would you be worth?’ - and they say
Americans (it’s a Wieden and Kennedy, Amsterdam creation) don’t
Coke seems to own football at the moment, much more so than the likes of
Nike, Reebok or Adidas. While its marketing machine dominates the media,
it shared the honours with Snickers in and around Wembley for the
England-Switzerland opener, and, I suspect, the other grounds. Snickers
had ambient media everywhere and made the blindingly simple move of
passing free mini-bars to all and sundry, a gambit that was obviously
not open to Vauxhall.
At the risk of voicing yet another adland heresy, hasn’t Nike’s
performance been disappointing?
The tone of its work is horribly macho, and because two of its principal
stars, Cantona and Ginola, aren’t playing, the impact of their
contribution is greatly weakened. Some fans were even saying the Nike
ads were naff, particularly as Maldini, its fall-back poster star, is
not instantly recognisable. Nike? Naff?
Couldn’t the posters have been changed? I know it’s all planned many
months ahead, but perhaps they should have just done it.
And the other official sponsors? As our recent feature made clear,
having spent their pounds 2.5 million for the honour, they need to spend
the same again to let anyone know. Mastercard and McDonald’s deserve
honourable mentions, and Vauxhall has the TV sewn up, but must be
praying that ITV’s dire opening performances improve. However, what of
Canon, Carlsberg-Tetley, Fuji, JVC, Philips, Umbro?
It’s a relief to be able to pontificate for once, knowing I’m bang in
the target market. Fifteen million pounds spent by the above big six,
and so far I’ve not even been worried. Perhaps it’s down to consistency.
Apart from Coke, there’s one other advertiser you can’t fail to notice
at the moment. The industry may not like Renault’s Nicole, but the
public do. They will have noticed that Papa is not in the latest
commercial. The new Clio has moved on. As the England team has already
discovered, everyone has to.