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My love for the once beautiful game waned a while back. But like many others I have been enjoying the Euro’s this summer. Partly because it’s a big trip down memory lane, which has had me reflecting on the advertising and sponsorship. Which is really what the event is all about. Wait, did you think it was about football?

by Darren Caveney

I’ve mentioned before that my first comms job was o the Euro 96 football tournament. It was  a glorious summer and brilliant experience.

One of my key roles was to look after the official sponsors back then, which amongst other things meant ensuring each of them received a minimum of nine minutes airtime per televised game.

Thinking about it now this would be a doddle with the plethora of opportunities for added coverage, shares and replays across social media and the wider web.

A lot has changed in 25 years.

The Euro’s was and still is the third largest sporting event in the world. You can guess the other two.

Then, and still now, the event revolved around sponsorship and advertising.

So nothing new there.

But watching the games so far I have been struck by the names showcased around those (now digital) perimeter advertising boards. It really does highlight the societal, tech and world changes we’ve seen in the past 25 years.

Back then Fuji Film was one of the 11 official sponsors. Photographic film? Yes that’s right. A holiday that summer would have seen you legging it into Boots upon your arrival home to get your holiday snaps developed. It’s like a totally different time isn’t it.

Well, FujiFilm are still around and by the looks extended the brand into many other areas.

Of the other 10 official sponsors all are still around and most are still huge brands. Something about the strongest survive.

A ‘then and now’ sponsor comparison makes for interesting reading…

Then

  • Vauxhall

  • Umbro

  • Snickers

  • Philips

  • MasterCard

  • McDonalds

  • JVC

  • FujiFilm

  • Coca Cola

  • Carlsberg

  • Canon

You know them all, what they did, what they still do.

 

Now – Official sponsors

  • Tik Tok

  • Just Eat

  • Vivo

  • Qatar Airways

  • Coca Cola

  • Heineken

Now – National team football official partners

  • Gazprom

  • Booking.com

  • Hisense

  • AliPay

  • FedEx

  • VW

You can see more here.

So, 25 years on all of the official sponsors have changed bar one, Coca Cola.

None of the others could afford to be involved – or felt the need to be – last year/this year.

Of the official sponsors for Euro 2020 some are so new that they seem to have only been around for five minutes. Some I hadn’t even heard of.

Tik Tok jumps out as a surprise sponsor. It was launched in 2016,

To have jumped to become an official sponsors of the third largest sporting event on earth in that time is something quite incredible, and in financial terms left some of the old sponsors of 1996 trailing in their wake.

Gazprom – yes, I had to Google who they were too – are a Russian majority state-owned energy business. Their roots date back to the second world war but have come to global prominence in more recent years, apparently.

Hisense – again, I wasn’t 100% sure what they did – are a Chinese electronics manufacturer. They launched in 1969 and made radios back then.

Just Eat is British but was founded in Denmark in 2001. They deliver food.

AliPay – you know them? They are an online payment platform. You couldn’t have imagined such a thing back in 1996.

Booking.com – You know what they do and – interestingly – they were actually formed in 1996. But which country are they from? I’ll give you a clue: They play in orange, always start really well and then seem to blow it. Yes, The Netherlands.

Vivo is a Chinese consumer electronics company. Think smartphones. They were formed in 2009 and have previously sponsored the Indian Premier League and the NBA in China.

FedEx – well I’ll always think of the film Castaway whenever I see one of their delivery vans.

Qatar Airways – were formed in 1993 and are the national airline of Qatar. Did you know that Qatar itself has had human habitation dating back 50,000 years. A few years before the Euro’s began then.

Heineken you know. They make really average lager.

And, finally, VW, well they’ve had a rocky old road in recent years but are now rebuilding their reputation with electric cars, which I’m seeing a lot of on the streets on Birmingham.

 

I enjoyed this little bit of research and reflection.

And then I wondered who will be the official sponsors of Euro 2044.

I bet Coca Cola are still there.

Darren Caveney is creator and owner of comms2point0 and creative communicators ltd

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