As the first round of matches at Euro 2016 reaches its conclusion, our new Brandtasy League data shows that there is no shortage of talking points around brand involvement.
The new school
For the new sponsors, brands which are less well known in Europe, their appearance via on-field advertisement hoardings is a valuable introduction to audiences.
The oil conglomerate SOCAR and Chinese electronics giant Hisense have each experienced a rise in unprompted awareness (+2% and +3% respectively) principally due to audience exposure to pitchside branding. Continental, no stranger to football sponsorship, has also experienced a rise in unprompted awareness (from 2% to 8%) due to its pitchside activity.
The old favourites
Coca-Cola, in third place in the Brandtasy League, and McDonald’s, which has risen to fourth, are the ever presents at international football tournaments with a long history of major tournament sponsorship.
Audiences should be used to seeing them appear on advertisement hoardings pitch side. Therefore, it is probably their ability to leverage their brand association via other channels that is contributing to the high awareness levels. For food and beverage brands, carrying official tournament branding on various products and in restaurants is powerful.
The top of the table battle
Sportswear giants adidas and Nike traditionally fight it out during the big international football tournaments. From a commercial perspective this year sees them take different approaches.
Both brands feature an array of eye-catching boots and kits worn by all the top teams and players. However, it may be that adidas’ status as an official tournament sponsor, with a high level of visibility on the pitch via advertising and as a provider of the official ball, has helped it take an early lead at the top of the table. Its prominent kit branding for teams such as Germany, Spain, Belgium, and Sweden, also plays a part.
From a campaign perspective, adidas had struck first in late May with the "First Never Follows" film. Nike chose to focus on star player Cristiano Ronaldo. The resulting "Switch/Spark Brilliance" film is long at over five minutes, but is all Hollywood glitz and glamour, a polar opposite to adidas’ street smarts.
Nike's position at number two in the Brandtasy table is testament to the brand’s cultural and creative savvy. Releasing the film the day prior to the start of the tournament, was a smart move as a non-sponsor. It enabled Nike to be top of mind as anticipation for the start of Euro 2016 was at its highest. It's worth noting that Nike’s Ronaldo Snapchat lens gave the campaign an additional layer of immersion for audiences.
While Nike and adidas have taken different commercial paths to their brand communication at the tournament, both approaches feel highly effective and relevant.
The dark horses
Outside of the sponsors and unofficial brands featured in The Brandtasy League, Apple seems to have stolen a march with a beautifully made commercial that acts as a reminder of what its products can do. Something that could easily have missed the target is executed with a level of cultural understanding and curation that surprises and delights.
Electronic Arts (EA) used the unfolding excitement at Euro 2016 to whet the appetite of fans and gamers with the release of the FIFA17 promo featuring Josè Mourinho. With a new game mode called "The Journey" and a plethora of technical developments, it is the "signing" of Mourinho as he becomes the manager at Manchester United which is the masterstroke. This just goes to show that a massive sponsorship budget is not the only route to brand success during a big tournament.