Forget awareness, it’s passion that sells

All this talk of how sponsors are wasting their World Cup marketing budgets following the exposé of poor levels of unprompted awareness (MW May 25), is about as wide of the mark as a Chris Waddle penalty.

I call upon you, as the bastion of best marketing practice, to decry and disrobe research that is so clearly offside. Give it the red card and send it back to the changing room. By giving it an airing you breathe life into it and give it credibility, whereas it should have had its metatarsal broken long ago.

Does anyone really think Coke or Bud or McDonald’s is sponsoring FIFA’s showcase event to gain awareness? Are there more than 1,000 people on this planet who are not aware of the Coke brand? Even if “awareness” was a marketing objective, just how relevant is “unprompted awareness”? How often have you bought a six-pack without being subjected to POP messages? If the measure of “sponsorship awareness” is the Theo Walcott of the England squad, then “unprompted awareness” wears the hangdog expression of Jermaine Defoe.

Could it be that there is more to sponsorship than awareness? Could it be that the sponsors wish to tap into the only source of official tickets, to massively boost sales promotion and corporate hospitality campaigns? Or that they have considered TV and broadband exposure in almost 250 countries within their ROI calculations? Or will they be hoping that just a smidgen of the energy, passion and emotion that is invested into supporting the game will rub off on them? The beauty of sponsorship is that it is all these things, and so much more.

Supporting football (there are lots of consumers in England who are not supporting England) is a tribal experience. Sponsors are the über-supporters, the alpha males. As football fans, we will follow them.

Andy Rice

Publishing director

SportBusiness Group

London EC1

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