Biting an opponent for the third time and being banned from playing football for 4 months is certainly not celebration time for any player. Situation becomes worse if right after a brand new sponsor decides to discontinue the relationship on the basis of “unsporting behavior”. Under these circumstances, Luis Suárez and his advisors could just stay quiet, apologize and just wait for the ban to pass-on as quickly as possible.
That is definitely not what I would do if I were the agent of Uruguayan ace. Actually I would turn the situation into an opportunity, rather than just treating it as a threat. So here is the good news and also some ideas in terms of new brands recruiting for the player.
Luis Suárez twitter account has won a whopping 300,000 new followers to 3,3mio in just 12 days since the famous episode with Chiellini on June 23rd, and has received as much as 3,4mio mentions since then. The fans have immediately reacted not just backing the Liverpool striker but also massively wearing masks and other accessories related to what happened at the World Cup game vs Italy, and taking pictures next to Adidas (that by the way has already stated it will stand by the player) outdoor ads featuring the controversial player in defiant pic with open mouth. Furthermore, an impressive amount of high profile brands –including the likes of Mc Donalds and Snickers- have taken an opportunistic approach and quickly posted humorous content in social media.
All in all, and also thanks to the repercussion of the episode having happened at most important football event in the planet, proofs the dimension of the player and, used the right way, can certainly become an amazing selling point to immediately start an aggressive brands roadshow while others would think about sponsorship opportunities being over for Suárez. It is true that doors will get closed for brands in sectors such as insurance companies, banks or luxury goods, but all of a sudden a new universe of brands, standing for more extreme positioning and targeting teenagers and other consumer challenging the rules, will immediately become part of Luis Suarez’s sport marketer road map. Energy drinks, motorbikes, sun glasses, watches or even tooth care related products are sectors where I strongly believe there will be sponsorship opportunities for Luis Suárez and I would certainly go after them.