With what has been commonly hailed as the most exciting end ever to a Barclays Premier League season, I can’t help but look forward to the next major sporting extravaganza.
No, not the Olympics but the Uefa European football championships held in Poland and Ukraine.
With the buzz around the once in a lifetime London Olympics starting to reach fever pitch and sponsors, broadcasters and politicians constantly reminding us they are nearly here, it has been easy to forget the small matter of Europe’s flagship international football tournament.
In the face of intense competition for share of voice from the Olympics, football sponsors are going to have to shout louder and produce all the more memorable campaigns to realise the value of their sponsorship money.
We know that despite a lack of home nations involvement in Euro 2008 there remained a keen interest in the tournament and it seems likely that interest will be even greater this time around.
In order to make the most of the sponsorship opportunity around these high profile events, brands have to achieve two critical things:
- Brands have to assume a role for their association. They must have a reason for being there that is congruent with the event. The role that beer brands often take is that of facilitator for the fans. This is something that historically Carlsberg has done very well in its activation, and something that we have seen it revisit with its star-studded epic this time around. Adidas, both a sponsor of the Euros and the Olympics, often takes the role of the elite athletes’ essential partner. It will be interesting to see how much emphasis it puts on the Euros compared to the Olympics in the coming weeks.
- Activate, activate, activate. We know from our research that brands which put significant spend behind their association reap greater rewards. Brands must communicate the role that they are performing as mentioned above. It is not enough to rely on the property’s website and some of the freebie media opportunities which come as part of the package, although proximity to the action really helps. Let’s look forward to seeing some innovative campaigns, executed through-the-line.
We also know that those brands which consumers perceive to have a poor fit with a sporting property can overcome this barrier through longevity, and the spend and development of a strong reason to be there.
A great example of this is the grassroots programme which McDonalds has supported over recent years. It has established itself now as a more credible supporter of sport, particularly football.
Again, being a supporter of both the Olympics and the Euros it will be interesting to see how it balances its efforts.
Sponsors in this country need to hope for a strong performance from England and the tidal wave of interest in the tournament this will engender along with the patriotic and sporting fervour of the fans.
This is something outside of the sponsors control and firmly in the hands of Roy Hodgson and the squad. A strong performance from England will mean greater ROI for the sponsors, not just for the Euros but for what follows soon after ...