Sports Sponsorship: The goal of marketing

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Some marketers are devoting up to half this year's U.S. Hispanic ad budget to the World Cup, a month-long marathon of 64 soccer games starting May 31. The event caps months of soccer-themed ad campaigns featuring everything from babies who display a knack for kicking from the womb to Mexico's futbol stars.

"It's a major passion point for young males," said Tony Dieste, president of independent Dieste Harmel & Partners, Dallas. "Think of World Cup as 30 days of Super Bowl. It's not a sport. It's almost like a religion."

Some of the biggest spenders are World Cup sponsors with global category rights that are also buying packages on Univision, the Hispanic network with Spanish-language rights to the games in the U.S. Hyundai Motor America, whose parent company is already a global sponsor, closed a $6 million deal as exclusive car sponsor on Univision, said Paul Sellers, Hyundai's director-marketing communications. The amount represents more than half Hyundai's Hispanic ad budget this year. Besides ads, Dieste created Hyundai-sponsored sports vignettes about players and exciting World Cup moments to air during the games.

"For soccer fans, this is huge," said Mr. Sellers. Hispanic families, he added, often take vacation time to watch the games. "They wake up their kids in the middle of the night to watch."

beer matters

Anheuser-Busch Cos. carries its worldwide Budweiser sponsorship into the U.S. Hispanic market in packaging, point-of-sale material and TV, radio and print advertising featuring the World Cup trophy and logo, with the theme "One World. One Game. One Beer." But A-B didn't buy one of Univision's packages, excluding the beer giant from running ads during games or related programming. In fact, Miller Brewing Co. has beer-category exclusivity in Univision's World Cup program.

Univision executives know their hard-core fans. All 64 games will be broadcast live from Korea and Japan on Univision's three-month-old second network, TeleFutura, even though kickoff times range from 2:30 a.m. to 7 a.m. in the U.S. All 64 games will be replayed on TeleFutura at 10 a.m. World Cup segments will air daily on Univision's Galavision cable network, and Univision will broadcast the day's best match at 7:30 p.m.

"The scheduling is a no-brainer-it's soccer 17 hours a day," said David Downs, president of Univision Sports Network sales and marketing. "We give the advertisers not just a presence on three networks in three games in three dayparts, but other [World Cup] programming too."

In ads, marketers often feature Mexico's soccer team, a strong contender and popular with the two-thirds of U.S. Hispanics of Mexican origin.

Four Budweiser spots from Omnicom Group-backed Del Rivero Messianu DDB, Miami, are part of a wider "Celebrating the True Passion" campaign. In one, a new father reacts to the news of his son's birth as though it were a major soccer goal. In another, a businessman in a suit and soccer boots stops at a shoeshine stand. (View the ad QwikFIND aan32j)

"For true soccer fans, their passion for the game shows itself in all parts of their lives," said Tony Ponturo, Anheuser-Busch's VP-global media and sports marketing.

contributing: jean halliday

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