Companies including Warburtons, McVitie’s and Samsung are not official sponsors, but have already started devising campaigns to maximise coverage around the world’s biggest sporting event, which begins in 69 days on 11 June (see story below).
Other brands are expected to make late bids for publicity in the next few weeks. Threepipe Sport director Eddie May told clients last week that brands should already be looking to capitalise on what is widely expected to be the biggest World Cup ever.
‘This is a huge opportunity for brands,’ said May. ‘It’s not just for official sponsors. Brands can tap into the passion of fans and capitalise on the media appetite for football-related content.’
Speaking at a seminar for clients, May suggested devising content that would appeal to newspapers in the run-up to the competition. ‘Facts and figures, news generation, including surveys and associations with individual players or former football stars, are all ways of getting involved.’
Also at the event, The Sun Online features editor Dave Masters said the newspaper welcomed input from PROs in the run-up to the event:
‘We want good PR. For example, if a PRO takes the time to track down people across the country who share their names with members of the England squad, like a builder called Wayne Rooney or a plumber called Steven Gerrard. That’s the kind of thing we would do ourselves, so if a PRO has taken the time to do it, it gives it a great chance.’
The Sun Online deputy sports editor Mark Gilbert added: ‘Once the Champions League is over we will be ramping up our coverage of the World Cup. Top tens of the best players or dream teams are good ideas.’
Separately, Weber Shandwick co-head of sport Scott Bowers has pointed out that brands should also be attempting to be counter-intuitive. ‘Tourist boards and hotels will target the people who want to get away from the football, especially if there is an early exit for the national side,’ he said.
However, sports marketing firm Helios Partners managing director Li Li Leung warned brands that were not official sponsors to be careful not to contravene the strict guidelines laid down by Fifa.
How I see it
UK head of PR, Samsung
The World Cup offers a huge opportunity for a wide variety of brands. We expect this year to be really exciting for consumers as brands bring to market advanced technology that will bring the World Cup to life like never before, with matches being filmed in 3D. We also expect a number of World Cup-related ‘apps’.
The World Cup is the biggest sporting event in the world. It is not only for brands with football in their DNA. There are a whole series of points of engagement, from electronics to food, drink and clothing. It’s not too late to get involved, but the sooner you plan the better.
69 Number of days to go until the start of the World Cup
6 Number of official Fifa World Cup sponsors
4 Number of weeks over which the World Cup takes place
26.3bn Total viewer numbers for the 2006 Fifa World Cup in Germany*
Big-name firms aim to score with football themes
McVitie’s, Samsung and Umbro are among the brands already starting to roll out media campaigns in the build-up to the World Cup.
McVitie’s has appointed Publicasity to handle a three-month campaign to strengthen Jaffa Cake’s association with energy and football. The campaign, which kicks off in April, will be endorsed by an unnamed England international Premiership footballer. Consumers will also have the chance to win a range of prizes as part of a themed on-pack promotion.
Meanwhile, Warburtons has launched limited edition eight-slice white rolls featuring football-themed packaging, which will be supported by a PR campaign, also devised by Publicasity.
Umbro has already leveraged its sponsorship of the England team by teaming up with Kasabian to showcase the England away kit.
Exposure is handling the PR for the partnership. Exposure CEO Raoul Shah said: ‘Umbro decided to look beyond football culture to music. The brand also has a number of communications activities due to take place between now and the World Cup.
‘Brands should be creative. There are lots of things to tap into, including the colour of the flags, the cultural dialogue, nationalities, or linking with South African and African culture as the host country.’