Probably the Best Sponsor at the Euros
Kevin Moore – Deputy Managing Director, Legacy Consultants
Earlier this month, France kicked off EURO 2016 amidst speculation that the event would be a prime target for terrorism. The back-drop of fear was impounded by French authorities having to deal with hooliganism from fans of several competing nations both inside stadiums and on the streets. All resulting in a trail of negative media headlines around the world throughout week one.
However, the sway of negative media articles was turned on its head as the Irish seemingly embarked on a one-country mission to spread positivity everywhere they marched. Nuns, babies and even the police themselves were serenaded by the signing Irish, resulting in a host of viral hits across social media and countless international media headlines praising the behaviour of the Irish fans. If Carlsberg did fans, it’s safe to say they would be Irish….and they are definitely the best in the world.
I joined the green army in Bordeaux last weekend for Ireland’s second group match and got to experience the scenes first hand. Everywhere I turned Irish fans, and the Belgians in fairness, were in top spirits interacting with locals and security in a manner that made me proud to be Irish. However, it was the tournament sponsors that I was most interested in. I wanted to see how some of the world’s top brands were catching the fans attention.
Bordeaux itself, the fan zone and the stadium were awash with a who’s who of iconic brands with the red of McDonalds and Coca-Cola dominating the skyline as far as the eye could see. French telecom giant Orange was also visible with other headline sponsors including Carlsberg, Adidas, Continental Tyres, Hyundai/Kia and Turkish Airlines vying to compete in an increasingly expensive and competitive sponsorship landscape. The final two brands to complete the official line-up may not be quite so familiar to us on this side of the water – SOCAR, the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan and Chinese electronics and white goods manufacturer, Hisense.
Sponsorship revenue for Euro2016 is estimated to be worth €400 million to UEFA, with a further €1bn in TV rights and €500 million in ticketing and hospitality going into their coffers. In addition to paying the combined €400 million, sponsors will be spending millions to promote their official status to fans both watching and attending.
On the ground, brand activation was high and the Hyundai Motor Group placed their Kia Sportage front and centre. Expensive displays were erected in the fan zone but with alcohol fuelled fans it was more of a ‘look but don’t touch’ set-up.
The most interactive brand activation award goes to Coca-Cola and their clever partnership with sticker giant Panini. Fans were invited into a fairground styled photo booth and given the opportunity to star in their own real life Panini sticker.
The clever initiative appealed to several audience demographics. Including nostalgic 30 to 45 year-old who would have grown up collecting the Panini stickers from major football tournaments in the 1980’s and 1990’s, swapping their stickers in school each day. I still remember the elation upon completing my Italia ‘90 album. It also appealed to families who got a keepsake of their day at the Euros and of course the millennials who just saw it as another good opportunity to get their (Coca-Cola branded) picture taken with friends and share across as many social media platforms as their phone battery would allow.
However, it was Carlsberg who was ‘probably’ the best sponsor at EURO 2016. With the fan zone being a natural home for a drinks brand, they didn’t disappoint with an excellent presence and utilising their modernised black and white branding to great effect alongside their original green.
France’s strict alcohol advertising laws meant that Carlsberg had the biggest challenge of all the sponsors; unable to display their name across the prime branding assets they had paid millions for. Instead the word ‘Probably’, a word the Danish lager company has invested so heavily in since it was first used in a 1973 Carlsberg advert, was put even further in the spotlight. And it really stood out.
While Carlsberg beer sales throughout the French cities hosting games will have undoubtedly risen, the post-event market research will give a greater insight into whether their brand awareness and affinity have risen and whether they have gained share on other sponsors and rivals. My guess is they probably have.
This article was first seen in The Sunday Independent, written by Kevin Moore, Deputy Managing Director, Legacy Consultants