Rooney adds star power to Coke cup tour - Sponsorship

Campaign FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour
Client Coca-Cola GB
PR team M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment
Timescale March 2006
Budget Undisclosed

FIFA World Cup sponsor Coca-Cola has sole access to the authentic, solid gold trophy as part of its rights package. It began touring the cup through various countries in the run-up to June's tournament and arrived in London in March, where M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment was tasked with creating a media event to maximise coverage.

To generate interest and excitement around the London leg of Coke's FIFA World Cup trophy tour. To position Coca-Cola as the tournament's leading sponsor.

Strategy & Plan
The PR team wanted an event and photocall designed to deliver mainstream, as well as sports, news coverage. The biggest obstacles were that other World Cup sponsors had carried out media tours using replica trophies during the winter of 2005 - and, more importantly, that fellow sponsor Adidas was running a rival event with players including David Beckham - in London on the same day (23 March).

To counter this, The Sun was given an exclusive preview of the World Cup trophy on the day it arrived in London, resulting in a double-page spread. The next day, the event team transformed Old Billingsgate Market into an 'interactive football zone' with a specially constructed 600-seat auditorium.

As well as journalists, 500 winners of a competition promoted across radio, online and print media were also invited. A photocall with Wayne Rooney and the trophy was followed by a 45-minute 'chat show' hosted by Grandstand's Ray Stubbs, in which he interviewed Rooney, Mark Lawrenson and Peter Shilton in a format designed to provide print media with newsworthy content in a controlled environment. Press information on the trophy tour was also distributed to various news and sports desks.

One-on-one interviews with Rooney on BBC Radio Five Live and in the Daily Mail were set up to appear in the days after the London event to ensure continued exposure. FIFA representatives were also made available to media, leading to interviews on BBC1 news programmes and CNN.

Measurement & Evaluation
There were 44 national branded articles, including three front pages plus a six-minute BBC1 news feature. Coverage included BBC News 24, Sky News, BBC Radio Five Live, CNN, The Sun, Daily Mirror, Daily Star, The Times, The Guardian, Daily Express, Daily Mail and The Daily Telegraph.

The Ray Stubbs interview formed part of a feature on BBC1's Football Focus, along with exclusive behind-the-scenes footage of Rooney as he travelled from Manchester to London.

The PR team worked with Coke's media buyer, Vizeum, whose analysis concluded that the campaign - the budget for which is undisclosed - delivered a return on investment of 28:1.

The Daily Mail wrote up the London stage of the tour and secured a follow-up interview with Rooney.

The paper's chief football writer, Ian McGarry, tells PRWeek: 'The timing was perfect and the combination of Rooney and the World Cup was irresistible. The event couldn't have been managed better for the media.'

Unfortunately for Coca-Cola, they could do nothing about Rooney's subsequent preparations for the tournament. After fracturing a toe against Chelsea he may now spend it watching from the sidelines.


'Hi, can I interest you in an interview with Wayne Rooney and pictures of him with the World Cup trophy?' Thought so.

This was never going to be the toughest media sell and, given the raw material, the execution may not strike some as a hugely creative approach.

However, when you're dealing with time-pressed footballers the options are quickly narrowed down, and why be creative for the sake of it when the obvious approach will work?

Events such as this are about generating maximum, well-branded coverage, while keeping everyone (client, player, agent, journalists, photographers, FIFA and competition winners) happy.

There would have been tight restrictions on the amount of time Rooney had, to whom he could talk and what he was willing to talk about. The staged 'chat show' format would not have been the football writers' ideal way of doing things, but it at least gave everyone a chance to get some quotes while Coke maintained control.

Again, not the hardest sell to get onto Football Focus, but inviting Ray Stubbs on the flight from Manchester and having him host the event was a wise move.

One question, though. Does that impressive ROI figure include some of the cost of sponsoring the World Cup and Rooney in the first place?

Creativity: 3

Delivery: 4


Eddie May is director of Threepipe Communications, a 'sponsorship activation' specialist.

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