Sports-related promotions in 2012

Philip Penlington, director of fixed fee promotional risk management company - Fotorama, on running sports promotions in 2012.

Contrary to the impression given by several recent marketing media features, there will be many superb opportunities in 2012 for marketers to run exciting sports-linked promotions - without the danger of acquiring a criminal record!

All-embracing legislation is proving to be a comprehensive deterrent to virtually everyone except sponsors of ‘a certain world famous sporting event in our capital city next July-August’ (that wordy description should just about keep me within the rules!). That’s not surprising as, hanging over every idea, is the threat to jail marketers who break the law by creating ambush marketing activities clearly associated with the event.

This punitive regime and the phenomenal demand for tickets have given the officially approved brands access to what, I believe, is currently the ultimate desirable competition prizes – tickets for the 100 metres final, opening ceremony etc.

But the Euro 2012 football championships in June will provide marketers with a fertile field for activities that, with England already qualified and perhaps the Republic of Ireland also involved, will draw major public interest. Taking place in Poland and Ukraine will not prove to be an obstacle to media audiences and interest as these countries are only an hour or two ahead of our time zone.

That is in contrast to the recent Rugby World Cup in New Zealand. There were very few offers featuring the Rugby World Cup because, for many brands, the timings of key matches deterred them from running any promotions. England, Scotland and Wales’ games were often played in the early hours of the morning at times when only die-hard fans would watch live.

Promotions linked to major sporting events proved particularly effective around the FIFA World Cup 2010. Many major brands ran successful promotions that associated them with the event without being sponsors or infringing the regulations.

Offers to refund purchase prices of products depending on which country won the Cup, others based on the number of goals scored by England, were among the creative promotions that grabbed the public’s imagination.

While UEFA will no doubt clamp down on ambush marketing, as FIFA did with Bavaria Beers’ orange branding at a match in South Africa, we expect to see many promotions linked to Euro 2012.

In fact, the challenge for most marketers will be creating ideas that stand out in what will quickly become a very saturated marketplace with a small window of opportunity; and whether they should take the risk of linking their idea to the unreliable record of England in such competitions!