At least car manufacturer Vauxhall has nailed its colours to four different masts. Now that England have sunk without trace, the sponsor of the four Home Nations football teams can put all its support behind Wales. Unfortunately, for England’s other sponsors such as Lidl and Mars (and possibly for Vauxhall if Wales can’t get past the tricky Belgians tonight) they have spent millions of pounds aligning their brand with a supposedly elite but ultimately losing team.
But I have a suggestion for all the brands that have been leveraging England’s participation in the Euros in their marketing.
Choose a different country to support.
It’s what fans do when faced with the early exit of their team from a tournament. It’s the only way to maintain interest. In fact it can get quite exciting. I should know. Being a long-suffering fan of England’s football, cricket and rugby teams, I’ve had plenty of practice at adopting another team after my country’s premature exit. For the 2014 football World Cup, I switched my allegiance to Brazil, the hosts. When the English cricket team were knocked out by Bangladesh in the 2015 cricket World Cup, I plumped for New Zealand, who made it all the way to the final before being beaten by Australia. It was exciting. But it wasn’t half as thrilling as cheering on Scotland when they faced Australia in the 2015 Rugby World Cup Quarter Final at Twickenham. Yes that’s right, cheering on Scotland at Twickenham. Not something I could ever have predicted I’d do, nor something I plan to repeat!
So why don’t England’s sponsors take a leaf out of my book of never-say-die and pick another team to throw their weight behind for the remainder of the tournament. I’m not suggesting that they reshoot their expensive TV ads with men in Icelandic blue instead of white. But what about social media? It’s the perfect way to launch an impromptu, inexpensive, alternative campaign that is inherently ‘social’ as it aligns itself with the way that the sports fan thinks.
Mars cheering on the Italians? Lidl going back to its roots and supporting Germany? It could be fun. It would certainly give brands something to shout about. England may have scored an own goal for their sponsors. But with a little nifty footwork, brands can stay in the game.