Magazine article Marketing

Brands Prepare World Cup Tactics: Marketers Will Need to Be Sharp to Cut through the Clutter at the World Cup. (News Insight)

Magazine article Marketing

Brands Prepare World Cup Tactics: Marketers Will Need to Be Sharp to Cut through the Clutter at the World Cup. (News Insight)

Article excerpt

The names are out of the hat, the media have already written off England, and the world's largest brands are on high alert. It must be six months before the World Cup.

While Sven-Goran Eriksson mulls over his strategy for coping with the 'Group of Death', marketers are making final adjustments to their own tactics for the world's greatest sporting event.

This week Zenith Optimedia's latest report on the advertising market suggested that the World Cup could actually provide the boost needed to end the current ad slump in the travel, leisure and sport sectors.

Apart from the 15 FIFA 'partners' (see table), who have paid around [pounds sterling]10m each just to secure exclusive access to the games themselves, dozens more brands will be developing marketing programmes in a bid to tie in with the finals.

"Brands are now looking at their media schedules, getting the relevant materials and staff in place and looking at critical issues such as security," says Archie Sinclair, managing partner at BroadMind, MindShare's sponsorship arm.

It's no wonder advertisers are excited. The 2002 competition, which will be staged in Asia for the first time, is expected to deliver a staggering total audience of 52 billion, compared with 33 billion for the 1998 World Cup in France.

And this figure could be boosted further if Kirch Media, which has bought the global broadcast rights to the event, can strike the TV deals it needs to recoup its investment. Next year could also mark the first time the competition has been broadcast live online, Yahoo! signed up as 15th official sponsor of the tournament in September.

The event will also give Western companies exposure to large audiences in some of the world's fastest-growing economies.

For example, alcohol companies, banned from utilising advertising hoardings at the last World Cup by France's Loi Evin, will this time around be able to reach millions of new Chinese consumers, apparently the world's biggest beer market.

But the Asian location also brings challenges for UK advertisers. Many games will be shown at unsociable hours -- England's opening game against Sweden is scheduled for 6.30am on a Sunday morning -- which may deliver hardcore supporters but is unlikely to deliver broad-based consumer audiences.

"Global brands will take a 'you win some, lose some' attitude. In some cases they'll get bigger audiences in Asia but will have to settle for smaller audiences in Western Europe," says Brian Jacobs, Universal McCann's director for EMEA. …

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