World Cup story wide the mark?

Referring to your recent Cover Story “World cup losers” (MW July 9), with respect to you and your usually informative publication which I regularly enjoy, you have missed the point by a long, long way.

Consumer awareness in one market, especially that of the one-eyed and ultra-cluttered UK, does not determine whether or not a sponsorship has been successful.

Personally I never (or at best, very rarely) notice Rolls-Royce’s advertising and probably nor do you.

Do you get hit regularly with publicity touting Boeing, ABB or

Julius Bank Baer? The answer is no. Why? Because we are not in their target market. The same applies to World Cup sponsors and their rationale for investment. For example, Snickers, Coke and Adidas primarily target teenagers, so would not necessarily figure in any adult research.

Further, discussions with JVC, Canon, MasterCard, Opel and Fuji Film would reveal retailers, distributors, dealers, suppliers, shareholders, business-to-business partners and employees all figure strongly in their targeting and in a number of cases would be way ahead of consumers (in a general sense) in terms of direct activity. In brief, skin deep, awareness oriented, adult-only consumer research tells less than ten per cent of the story in most sponsor cases.

Also, you should take into account the fact that the UK may not be a primary target market for some of the sponsors. In fact, in some cases it hardly figures at all.

Your hypothesis that sponsors then pay double or let’s say triple the rights fee is a meaningless statement. In any given year, companies will spend “x” marketing dollars. During the promotional period of the World Cup, circa 12 months, companies can choose to put together non-World Cup themed concepts that connect with a multitude of business areas and are about as relevant to people as one can get – I certainly know where I’d spend my money.

You also fail to acknowledge that an association with World Cup is suitable for only a relatively small number of companies, ordinarily multinationals with global interests.

The economies of scale an official association deliver are unrivalled, ie a relevant business tool pertinent in 200-plus territories. If you’re talking value for money, go buy high-profile soccer rights in 200-plus territories and see what figure you end up with.

Finally, I strongly recommend you talk to companies such as Snickers and Coke which run truly unique World Cup promotions, delivering flag carriers and fair-play banner carriers to each game – once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for kids throughout the world and a heavyweight promotional tool possibly unmatched in potency.

The McDonald’s McGoal programme with funds going to Fifa’s SOS Children’s Villages, MasterCard’s team of the century and card issuing programme, Canon’s share the Passion theme and Budweiser’s soccer-themed advertisements are among an array of other sponsor success stories.

In conclusion, Coke, MasterCard, Snickers “et al” are dynamic international brands – in part thanks to the platform of the World Cup.

Carl Williams

Vice-president of international sales and marketing

ISL Worldwide



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