Brands Ride Tour’s Popularity – Rebecca Hopkins

July 11, 2014

With the World Cup winding down brands and sports agencies must look elsewhere for new ways to engage audiences and harness sport’s infinite popularity. How convenient then that saddling up in Yorkshire this week were 200 of the globe’s elite cyclists for the start of the Tour de France – as buzz levels go, this was off the charts. Crazy crowds, colossal coverage and suicidal selfies are three themes that can summarize the British leg of the Tour. As the riders set off it is no surprise therefore that not far behind (ok maybe quite far given the average speed of the peloton is 40kph) were the brands, embarking on their sports PR pursuit.

First Sky, whose marketing took on a grander scale than most. Leveraging the Grand Depart in Leeds, the broadcaster unveiled a giant jersey, the size of two tennis courts, to promote its work within cycling and its support of Team Sky, the current holders of the yellow jersey.

Sky weren’t the only ones in the race, with Jaguar looking to exploit the event’s popularity with a new film. ‘Cycling Under the Sea’ shows defending champion, Chris Froome, become the first man to cycle through the Eurotunnel. The car manufacturer had been building expectation for the film through teasers and behind-the-scenes content via the #KeepPushing hashtag. Jaguar, a sponsor of Team Sky, is using the 2014’s Tour to promote its XF Sportbrake luxury marques, which appear in the film. The creative continued Jaguar’s tradition of attempting to associate its brand with popular moments and memorable achievements, building on last year’s Artic Circle challenge, ‘Coldest Place on Earth’.

Coming out of left field, official sponsor, Skoda, produced the digital campaign, ‘Your Team’, based on a fantasy cycling game. The initiative allows participants to compete against one another for the chance to win VIP tickets and Skoda cycling equipment. It’s an example of brands using social media and mobile platforms to interact with audiences. This is marketing in the 21st century.

If you thought Tour engagement was limited to big names, think again. Enter Yorkshire Water, which capitalized on Welcome to Yorkshire’s Tour celebration by sponsoring the Yorkshire Festival. With a huge number of their customers enjoying the event it was important for them to engage these groups. The Tour’s strong geographical links make it key for local businesses to grasp the opportunity whilst the nation’s attention is briefly on them.

Watch the Sports Marketing Show on iSportconnect TV

Rebecca Hopkins is Managing Director of ENS Ltd, a London-based sports agency tasked with promoting and protecting brands in sport. They specialize in sports PR, crisis management and online public relations.

Rebecca’s isportconnect-profile-widget

{jcomments on}