The World Cup kick-off is down the corner and the number of players missing it continues to grow every day. Injuries, unexpected manager decisions and teams failing to qualify for Brazil resulted in one of the longest list of high profile players missing the tournament everyone dreams to be part of.
Ibrahimovic, Ribery, Víctor Valdés, Falcao, Bale, Donovan, Mario Gómez, Theo Walcott, Arbeloa, Thiago Alcántara and other top footballers will regretfully enjoy extra vacation time this summer, and next to them a long list of brand managers have had to redo their marketing and activation plans featuring players that ultimately will miss Brazil World Cup. So list of brands missing out includes the likes of Volvo (Zlatan Ibrahimovic), Direct TV (Falcao), Hugo Boss (Mario Gómez), 5hour Energy (Thiago Alcántara), Mars (Theo Walcott), Yahoo (Álvaro Arbeloa) and Pattex (Víctor Valdés), not to mention Nike, Adidas and Puma that supply the boots of the majority of the players.
This opens up the debate on whether it is too risky for a brand to rely on players when it comes to leverage major global sports events in communication. Obviously the damage depends on whether the campaign was based on one single player (like Pattex adhesives with Víctor Valdés) or not (Hugo Boss has other players such as Sergio Ramos) and the time available to react to the bad news (Mars signed Gerrard and Welbeck after Walcott´s injury).
In my opinion, players continue to offer a great value for money, unique activation opportunities and fan engaging content which brands just can’t afford to miss. My recommendation, when it comes to decide about association to an event of the dimension of the World Cup, is to dilute the risk by signing more than one player as ambassador, even if it results in a bigger investment on fees. It may be considered as an “insurance” type of investment, but in return brand marketers will have peace of mind and more content to leverage.
Enjoy the World Cup!