As football fever kicks in ahead of UEFA Euro 2016, the battle of the brands is also warming up. Marketers are attempting to capitalise on the hype ahead of Friday’s curtain raiser that features host country France take on Romania at the Stade de France.
To coincide with the tournament, Leo Burnett’s Brandtasy League table will provide an alternative contest – ranking the performance of both sponsors and non-sponsors during Euro 2016.
The League uses research generated by the agency’s Sponsor DNA tool to investigate sponsorship awareness and perceived fit, while also tracking brand affinity and purchase intent for 20 major brands.
The usual suspects
The Brandtasy table before tournament kick-off has a familiar look, with the usual suspects adidas and Nike occupying the top two spots, benefiting from their close association with football and the genuine fit that comes with being sports brands.
"Expect plenty of action before the winner officially declares itself"
Coca-Cola is positioned nicely in third place, benefitting from its impressive 41% unprompted awareness as a sponsor and waiting perhaps to spring a surprise as the tournament progresses.
The success of this trio of brands can, no doubt, be attributed to the longevity of their football partnerships but another factor for Coca-Cola is likely to be a heavy focus on ticket giveaway promotions, which have been featuring on a number of high profile commercial TV breaks over the past month.
Surprisingly, only four of ten UEFA official sponsors are ranked in the top 10 as it stands (adidas, Coca- Cola, Carlsberg and McDonald’s). The majority of remaining spots are filled by official England team sponsors (Nike, Lucozade, Mars and William Hill).
Boosting brand awareness
Jostling at the foot of the league table are the overseas brands looking to use the Euro 2016 association to change perceptions in the UK market and boost their brand awareness and affinity. For instance, Chinese electronics company Hisense, an official sponsor, will look to chase down Samsung when its marketing activity kicks off.
The Azerbaijan oil company Socar, which has a small footprint in the UK, is also positioned towards the bottom of the table. Our "one to watch" is the German supermarket Lidl.
As both an official England and Wales sponsor, it is ramping up activity by giving away signed football shirts for customers who have shopped in-store and entered Lidl’s prize draw. The retailer is also cleverly showcasing its French themed food products this week, so we expect Lidl to shake off its slow start and move up the table.
Over the next four weeks, we will update the league table with fresh data to monitor how UK consumers react to the hive of marketing activity around the Euro 2016 tournament. Expect plenty of action before the winner officially declares itself "over the moon" leaving competing brands "sick as parrots".
Bonne chance a tout le monde.
By Liam Hopkins, sponsorship director at Leo Burnett London