Posts Tagged ‘Football’

No Matter How Corrupt FIFA Is, It Is Here To Stay

June 16, 2015
Flickr / Steven Depolo

Flickr / Steven Depolo

It’s been a bad couple of weeks for FIFA. The world’s governing body of soccer has been the subject of numerous headlines, not for the Women’s World Cup currently taking place, but for a large-scale corruption scandal.

It all started on May 26, when several top FIFA officials were arrested on corruption charges. A little over a week later, the long-standing President of FIFA, Sepp Blatter, resigned. And to add fuel to the fire, FIFA recently fired its communications director after making a public joke about the organization’s legal troubles.

There’s no denying FIFA’s reputation is in shambles. The media is laser focused on scrutinizing the organization’s actions and missteps. But despite all the negative media, the criminal investigation, and widespread corruption, FIFA is still as powerful as ever. Do soccer fans even care about the FIFA scandals?

Sports organizations are hit with scandals all the time, yet the sports stay as popular as ever. Take the NFL for example. Last year, the NFL was thrown under the bus for its handling of issues concerning domestic violence. The NFL’s reputation took a hit, but did the sports suffer as a result? No. Fans continued to support their favorite teams and brands continued to spend millions of dollars in advertisement with the NFL.

When it comes to sports, fans care more about the game than the organization behind it. As a sports fan myself, I’ve seen some of my favorite sports get hit with scandals that dealt a blow to the organization’s reputation. Did the scandal stop me from watching the games? No way. As a fan, you’re part of a community that has one unifying factor: the love of the game. My loyalty is with my team, and almost nothing can shake that.

No matter how corrupt FIFA is, in the end, it is going to be fine. Soccer fans aren’t going to just turn their back on the sport that they love. For many countries, especially outside the United States, soccer is about more than just a game, it’s a religion. The team you root for is part of your identity and fans aren’t going to abandon the sport that’s so integral to their community and culture.

As long as soccer is still soccer, fans will continue to watch FIFA’s games. They will continue to attend the World Cup and brands will continue to shell out millions of dollars in advertisements. No matter how corrupt FIFA turns out to be, as long as soccer remains a powerhouse sport, FIFA will be a powerhouse as well.

John Oliver tackled this love/hate relationship with FIFA perfectly last year before the World Cup. As he says, no matter how appalling FIFA may be as an organization, a fan’s love for the sport outweighs everything else.


The NFL’s Pink October: Brand Positioning Gone Wrong

October 23, 2014

Green Bay Packers v Baltimore RavensIf you’ve managed to catch an NFL game this October, you may have noticed the “pink-washing” of the game, the uniforms and even the take-home merchandise offerings. For those who don’t know… October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Breast cancer is a disease that primarily affects women, and particularly now, there are a lot of reasons for the NFL to charm women.

What was perhaps once a respected partnership with the American Cancer Society to raise money and awareness, is at this point a pretty obvious brand positioning tactic gone wrong. The most recent domestic violence allegations against Ray Rice, the subsequent mishandling of the punishment and the entire media fiasco around it all has led many women to finally ask the question amidst all of the pink cleats and helmets: does the NFL really care about me?

And a lot of those same women are coming to the conclusion that, no, it really doesn’t. The NFL has donated $7 million to the American Cancer Society since they began the “A Crucial Catch” campaign back in 2009. While it’s no small chunk of change, that amount is only about 12.5% of the entire revenue generated from pink retail items sold in October. The NFL, along with retailers and manufacturers, keep the remainder. When you look at this in the context that the NFL generates upwards of $8 billion a year in revenue alone, that amount seems hardly generous.

The NFL’s “A Crucial Catch” is a marketing campaign centered on a special cause (breast cancer) that many, many people can appreciate and respect. The NFL, in creating this campaign, hoped to align themselves as a friend of women, as an organization that looks out for women and the challenges they face. But with the mishandling of the Ray Rice case and the spotlight on how the NFL has handled past domestic violence cases against its players, it is pretty clear that the NFL is no ally of any woman. And with that, the credibility of any other marketing campaign they hope will appeal to women, is dashed.

Because at the end of the day, “A Crucial Catch” is a marketing campaign. It ties in (very high paying) corporate partners, advertisers, promotional materials and merchandise. Its intent is to align the NFL’s brand with the American Cancer Society and all breast cancer research and awareness organizations. It aims to reach those of whom breast cancer is, or could be, part of their daily lives.

The NFL certainly could have, and most likely would have, continued on their way with this marketing campaign had the domestic violence issue never been raised. The pink October campaign began very shortly after the Ray Rice situation and all of the fallout from it. There was an immense wave of backlash against it the campaign itself – it now seems insincere and manipulative. The NFL has certainly begun to lose the female fan, and it is going to be challenging to win them back over with anything less than a purely altruistic positioning campaign.

What do you think the NFL has to do to get back into the good graces of the female market?

Super Bowl 2013: The Anticipation of Ads

January 10, 2013

Here in Boston, football fever is high as the New England Patriots are still a contender for Super Bowl XLVII.  As #TB12 and Belichick prepare to lead the Pats through the playoffs – and to the Superdome in February – big brands are getting ready for the commercials they’ll air during the game. With 111.3 million viewers tuned into last year’s game, it’s a no-brainer for companies to advertise during this event.

On Tuesday, The New York Times reported that advertisers looking to buy commercial space may be out of luck because airtime has already been “sold out” according to CBS CEO Leslie Moonves. However, for a few big bucks (errr, five or six million), Moonves says CBS “will find room.”

In between snacking on endless dips and finger foods, you’ll be sure to see commercials of alcoholic beverages, food, and cars. One company making their presence during Super Bowl commercials is Chrysler. For the past two Super Bowls they have had attention-grabbing commercials, lasting longer than the usual thirty-second spots that other brands used. In 2011, Chrysler’s ad “Imported from Detroit” – which featured rapper Eminem – hinted at the revival of U.S. automakers. In 2012 they held another two-minute ad narrated by actor Clint Eastwood titled “It’s Halftime America”, which gives a hope filled message about our citizens overcoming economic hardships.

As influential as Chryslers ads were, I have to wonder if the longer ads really make a bigger splash as their usual thirty-second counterparts, or do they lose their impact and likeability because viewers just want to see the next commercial? This year Taco Bell is stepping out of their comfort zone with a sixty-second ad, and is one of the only non-car brands scheduled for a longer spot. Besides the longer ads, brands also know to pull on a few heart strings when creating their commercials. A usual trend in Super Bowl commercials is babies and dogs. Brands know that viewers cannot resist the cuteness of both, so tying them into the ads is a way to keep viewers glued to the T.V. and a way for them to remember their commercials in the long run.

This year, we can expect to see some returning favorites like Coca-Cola, Doritos, Audi, and M&M’s, but for the full list of Super Bowl commercial announcements, click here.

While we cheer on our teams (unfortunately the Steelers are out of playoff contention) to victory in hopes they make it all the way to the Super Bowl, let’s take a look at some of our favorite 2012 Super Bowl Commercials:


Advertisers looking for a touchdown in 2011

January 20, 2011

After the devastating loss for us New England fans this past weekend, it hardly seems right to talk about the Super Bowl – but in the advertising world, it is a hot topic every year.  AdAge reported last year’s game contained 48 minutes worth of ads and network promotions, and with GM and Pepsi coming back from a two year Super Bowl hiatus, we could see more advertising than ever before on February 6th.

Not only are those major brands back in the mix, but BMW is also returning after ten years, as well as CareerBuilder after five, and they are both going full force. According to BMW’s mar-comm manager, “BMW is in the window of our biggest launch period in history and the Super Bowl gives us the stage to make that big impact.” Not only is BMW looking for a touchdown with this top dollar buy, but Best Buy and Pizza Hut are this year’s rookies, both advertising during the game for the first time.

So what does all of this mean? Well, it means things are looking up. We are no longer hearing about the huge Super Bowl advertising cuts and we can once again look forward to our favorite brands stepping it up for the big game. Of course, we cannot all afford to buy Super Bowl advertising, but I take this as a sign of good things to come in 2011. So for now, we’ll watch and take note for 2012 — when clients air the game’s final commercial for excited fans before Tom Brady throws the game winning touchdown.

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