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Reaction to Sponsor behaviour depends on where the consumer lives

21 Dec

Really interesting post from Sponsor Crunch (

They have recently done a survey on consumers attitude towards BP and their continuing association with sporting property. It is most interesting to see how the American and British consumer differs. The Brits, who clearly associate BP as a British firm, are a lot more forgiving of BP and their recent endeavors off Americas coastline. In contrast, the Americans are more cynical.

One thing they do have in common; they see the value that big business like BP can offer properties who are not-for-profit or self generating in nature. What should be learned from this survey? Well, consumers are actually quite forgiving, especially if you are linked with sponsoring / giving money to organizations which exist to put right what you have been doing wrong.

Anyway, see for yourself here:

Source: Sponsor Crunch


a footballers brand values

3 Jun

A friend of mine recently reminded me about the Michael Owen dossier that was sent round to clubs last year and the amount of values that where attached to the forward. Thinking about it again, I was amazed at how many words where thrown at this man and how any potential partner (be it club, sponsor, etc) would interpret these.

Values are generally something that the outside world pays little interest in. They act in a business sense as a guiding framework internally for how a company, acts and conducts itself in the normal day-to-day. Of course, it is important to note that if the reality of how that business behaves is compromised (think Enron or the recent BP scandal) then consumers start to point at these so called guiding values and question them. We have a phrase which is ‘don’t boil the ocean’ when you create values and guiding principles for businesses, meaning lets get concise and singular with these things. If you don’t, you haven’t got a hope in hell of anyone remembering them.

Maybe that wasn’t the point of his agency, instead it seems like they wanted to reassure everyone that this super human stands for and delivers on all of the 21 things listed. I think more than likely someone has got the brand dictionary out and just landed on some words that sound about right and fill up a page.

Does anyone out there have any other examples of agencies doing similar things? Would love to see them

Is the ball really that bad?

3 Jun

It seems like a day doesn’t go by without someone throwing criticism the way of the new adidas world cup ball. What is interesting this time is it’s not just the goalkeepers who are voicing their concerns. Forwards are complaining of their inability to strike the ball on target, midfielders about their inability to pick out a man and defenders about how the ball changes in midair when they rise to meet a header.

One thing that also got me thinking was they have been playing with the ball in the German league and in the MLS and seemingly know one has been complaining in these leagues about he balls ‘beach ball’ like characteristics.

This article from the co-developer at Loughborough University seems to explain it all

It’s the altitude that is causing the problems, in fact that would make any ball do the same. Well, ok, understood, but is this ball designed for the world cup or not? If it is then why was this not tested at altitude and with the very same players who are going to ping it all over the park? At least then adidas would be able to turn round and say that a multitude of players have been testing this thing for years and nothing was raised in testing. Instead all they seem to have is some pretty smart sport and physics specialists telling us this thing wasn’t a problem when we tested it in our smart computer controlled testing centre.

I’m not sure what the answer is or even how good or bad the ball is but I think some good PR and non machine field testing would have given adidas some fodder at this stage. Unfortunately we will have to wait until the tournament starts until we really find out.

(lovely balls)

Another hit to Baseballs credibility: Won’t someone think of the children

12 Jan

Mark McGwire came out on Monday night stating that he took drugs during his long MLB career, one of many who have admitted to cheating in recent times. Now, not being someone who pretends to know much about Baseball – I was however aware of McGwires magnificent achievement in breaking Baseballs season hitting record (even though in England Baseball is scarcely covered).

His status as a Baseball star Stateside was further reinforced to me when he popped up in an episode of my favourite cartoon; the Simpsons. McGwire and MLB carefully cultivated a wholesome image out of one of the games best known characters, marketing McGwire to millions of children who would dream about one day breaking his home run record. Yet he, like so many other Baseball‘stars’ before and after him only managed to reach the dizzy heights of sporting excellence by cheating.

How can baseball recover, and what of the next generation?

Baseball is clearly a sport tarnished. With its rich history; that is as much a part of American society as it is ingrained on its psyche, its carefully crafted legends, deep meaningful stories of rivalry and decades of epic battles. In one foul swoop a group of idolized individuals come along and shatter almost 100 years of brand building by MLB and its teams.

How can young people believe in baseball again, how can it possibly start to regain its credibility amongst the masses. If it was upto me I would start by wiping the records from history of all the known drug cheats. Then I would move to the players who are still playing but have admitted to, or been caught out taking performance enhancing drugs. I would make them wear bright pink uniforms for the rest of their careers, so when little Johnnie turns to his dad and asks why is that player in a different colour uniform his father can say, “he’s a cheat son, therefore no matter what he does he isn’t truly accepted in our sport”.

Baseball is by no means finished, but if ex heroes like McGwire keep announcing their sins to the world every few months then it has one hell of a challenge. MLB has to go back to basics and start thinking about the next generation, only then can fans start believing in the sport again and a platform from which future great stories can unfold once more.

Nike – a lesson in how to silence the sceptics

28 Dec

A nice post over at Wolff Olins.

It’s not just Nike’s new product focus which is more in tune with consumers environmental desires, but now their efforts are being noticed by not-for-profit organisations.

As mentioned on this blog before – it makes great business sense to meet head on the issues that consumers are raising. Creating solutions and outcomes that positions your brand positively with its stakeholders.

Step forward Nike…

Feeding the cult

5 Aug

We’ve all heard of people adorning their bodies with tattoos of their favourite brands – well now you can go a step further and literally feed your passion.

Nike in association with Swiss design house +41 have produced some limited edition chocolate sneakers for the 25th anniversary of the air force 1. Coming in large version white and dark chocolate and in 3 small paired versions complete with box – these really are a collectors piece you don’t want to leave in the sun.

Is this the latest incarnation of the consumer who lives, breathes and now eats the lifestyle brands which define their existence? Only time will tell.

Get them here

Sports brands taking a stance

6 Jun

This appears to be something we are seeing more and more of in the industry.
Adidas announced Wednesday that they are boycotting Australian wool and sheep that have been mulesed.

Mulesing is viewed as an unnecessary way of taking wool from sheep and adidas communicated this in a letter to the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in the United States declaring its position on the matter.

Fair play to adidas, they clearly have an agenda which appears to be addressing their production practices and appeal to consumers and their inner desire to do good. Only recently did they announce the grun collection which aims to better the environment by efficiently utilizing the natural resources of this world.

Now a worldwide consumer movement, as they (consumers) demand brands to be transparent and to offer clarity on their stance on certain issues. The sporting goods industry appear to be taking this as a real top of agenda item, reacting fast and with real purpose. Yes, consumers still and will always demand value but they also want a brand ‘with’ values – values that they can relate to in every sense of the word.