What factors should companies consider when doing global sports marketing deals?
They have to understand what they expect from an association with a football club. How can the partnership help them reach their corporate objectives? How will they value success or failure on that field? Another critical point is to ensure the company’s full engagement around the deal. If all the company’s members are excited, then the impact will be greater. The client agency has a crucial role: giving the right advice for marketing investment and creativity.
Talk about FC Barcelona’s recent deals with Intel, Stanley Black & Decker and Gatorade.
The collaboration with Intel goes directly to the heart of the club. Their input will help us to become a better club, using the very best of technology in different fields. Stanley Black & Decker has different leading brands all over the world, and FCB will help them to connect with an audience very close to football. Gatorade is a natural partner as healthy hydration is key for a top athlete. Moreover, Gatorade is in direct contact with our medical staff, and they work together in improving the answers to meet athletes’ needs. We really love the creative idea Intel developed to be inside the jersey. This has generated fantastic buzz in the global creative community. Intel is really active in the daily activity of our club. As an example, they totally equipped a computer room in our young talents’ residence (La Masia), offering teens an innovative and practical way to be connected with the entire world.
Does the club have much creative input in the campaigns?
When we initiate serious talks, we really try to listen to our potential partners to understand their corporate identity and strategy. Which are their target countries? Which is their main business issue? Do they want to impact their final consumers, intermediaries and/or engage their corporation around the deal? Once signed, we remain active players, but the brand remains the leading piece. We offer our opinion and we try to help in order to optimize their marketing initiatives. We avoid selling predefined packages, as we want to be sure our proposal answers each partner’s strategic guidelines. As far as ads are concerned, the client leads the creative process and we give the final approval, but do not enter beforehand.
What’s your favorite sports-themed marketing campaign?
We value what Nike is doing in soccer advertising. They have reached global leadership through the right mix of product innovation and emotional connection. They’ve partnered with FCB since 1998. Nike is definitely more than a sponsor as they are involved in so many aspects of our club. Another fantastic campaign is the one from Qatar Airways … cleverly integrating our players. We have seen it on many channels, such as CNN. It has definitely helped us to reach a global audience.