The 2010 FIFA World Cup brought forth an almost innumerable display of branded presence– with Adidas, Coca-Cola, Budweiser, Castrol, Nike, and Visa all bringing forth campaigns trying to capture some of the phenomenon of this global event.
The campaign presence and expression of these brands wasn’t too surprising-all with a different take on how the World Cup turns athletes into heroes and brings us all together.
However the one brand which really surprised me with a unique paradigm on how to integrate itself into this event, was none other than iconic fashion brand Louis Vuitton.
Louis Vuitton’s ‘Journeys’ campaign, crafted by Ogilvy & Mather Paris, had a different story to tell about the World Cup, and three of soccer’s most iconic legends- Zinedine Zidane, Pele, and Diego Maradona.
Instead of focusing on the glory and strength of the sport like most brands, LV brought an emotional connection to the event by bringing to life the process of self-discovery- as captured by world-renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz.
The campaign lives on a microsite, http://www.louisvuittonjourneys.com/legends/, and simply but beautifully blurs the lines between branded content and interactive story-telling as the content features these 3 soccer legends engaging in a rousing game of foosball.
To bring their journey full-circle, LV culminated this segment of the Journeys campaign with a placement in the World Cup Finale- as the FIFA trophy was presented in a monogrammed case.
(Fabio Cannavaro, winning captain of Italy’s 2006 team, passes on the World Cup trophy in a Louis Vuitton case)
However Louis Vuitton is certainly not the first fashion brand to tap into using male athletes to boost brand awareness. In an article from BlackBook.com, “From Christiano Rinaldo disrobing for Armani, to Joseph Abboud collaborating with the New York Giants, there is no shortage of non-sport men’s brands enlisting athletes as mannequins to boost allegiance with regard to potential consumers.”
(Christiano Rinaldo for Armani)
It only makes sense, when considering what will produce better brand recall, a study from Brand Affinity Technologies last year found that online ads featuring athletes increased brand awareness 180 percent compared with those with no athletes.
From a global perspective, it is becoming more common to reach fashion-savvy males with this type of partnership. A recent article from the New York Times quotes Nick Sullivan, the fashion director of Esquire, “If you, as a fashion brand, want to connect with mainstream guys in Europe, it is vitally important to make that association with soccer. It’s like the ‘bat phone’ way of reaching guys who are not necessarily going to go and buy Vogue.”
With fashion and sports colliding more and more each day (see below: Venus Williams’ risqué display at this year’s French Open) it will be interesting to see which brand will strike next, whether it be on or off the field.