With a little more than five weeks to go until the opening match of Euro 2012 in Poland, Carlsberg has launched a Facebook campaign that encourages fans to show their support for England via a series of challenges as part of a wider multimillion campaign.
David Scott, director of marketing for Carlsberg UK, says the brand has made more of an effort to galvanise supporters and work closer with its retail partners than it has done for any of its previous campaigns around the European football championships.
He adds: “We’ve never previously used Facebook on this scale to understand the England fan and talk to them about what they know and love about the game.
“Consumers tell us that the Olympics don’t give the same sense of drinking occasion that a football match does, so we’re applying this insight to drive sales in pubs and supermarkets.”
For Castrol, the growth of social media since Euro 2008 means that it can now use the predictions from its EDGE Index – the official tournament ranking system – to respond to fans in real-time on Facebook and Twitter.
A spokeswoman for Castrol says: “It’s not just about the index tools this year. We can now be far more interactive with our fans. For example, we’re extending our Tested to the Limit partnership with Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo through a new digital and social fan activation.”
The digital presence will be supported by in-store, outdoor and press activity as the brand looks to engage with fans across multiple touchpoints.
Orange has made interaction the brand’s biggest priority for its Euro 2012 strategy. The network is focusing the bulk of its marketing on direct channels, such as using social media for its Supporters’ Cup competitions and launching the official Euro 2012 mobile app.
TV activity is also planned but John Constantinou, head of global sponsorships and partnerships at Orange, says this is more of a “nice to have” than its core focus. The brand is more interested in creating interactions.
“Big TV ads and perimeter boards in the stadia alone won’t be enough to achieve cut-through in this busy year.
“We are already a known brand and have high awareness levels so we want to add value to football fans and our customers to improve their brand preference and hopefully make them more loyal,” he adds.
By Seb Joseph
Social media has come on in leaps and bounds since the last European Championship in 2008. A point Carlsberg, Castrol and Orange are all quick to point out. And while Olympic fever is increasing every day in the UK, all three sponsors are confident their social media marketing strategies will create the amount of interactions needed to provide a return on investment in their football sponsorship.
It seems as though this is a tactic being used more in the UK as sponsors look to pierce the Olympic host nation bubble and deliver real cut-through to football fans.
For many other countries, the Olympics aren’t on the radar to quite the same degree as they are here yet. For some countries, particularly those with higher hopes of success in Poland and Ukraine than in London, Euro 2012 will be a bigger national event than the Olympics.
Brands such as Coca-Cola, which sponsors both events, have already activated marketing campaigns in places like Poland, while this has yet to happen in the UK because the brand’s activities here are more focused on the Olympics.