Beko kicks off Official Partner of Play campaign with animated FC Barcelona superstars

Lionel Messi and his FC Barcelona teammates came face-to-face with unique, playful animations of themselves for the first time as Beko unveiled its new Official partner of play campaign worldwide.

Global stars Messi, Luis Suárez, Gerard Piqué, Arda Turan and Marc-André ter Stegen will feature in a new short film from Beko, Premium Partner of FC Barcelona, alongside their animations. Fellow teammates Neymar Jr., Andrés Iniesta and Ivan Rakitić will also appear as animations across the campaign.

The animated players will appear in advertising, in store, in-stadia, real-time social media for El Clásico (FC Barcelona vs. Real Madrid on April 2nd 2016), on digital channels and in the media over the coming months. The campaign will feature money-can’t-buy opportunities for fans, including the chance for the ultimate play at Camp Nou.

Official partner of play is built on FC Barcelona’s skilful, attacking football played with freedom and enjoyment both on and off the pitch, a style of play that epitomises the true spirit of football. As a brand, Beko supports people in their busy lives by providing faster, more efficient home appliances, giving them more time and freedom to ‘play’ every day with the spirit of FC Barcelona. The Official partner of play sits within a new brand positioning – the Official partner of the everyday – which establishes Beko as a truly consumer centric brand, at the heart of everyday life showing how people can rely on Beko as their everyday partner.

Tülin Karabuk, CMO at Beko Global, said: “As FC Barcelona personifies the spirit of play and freedom, the Official partner of play is the perfect message for us to communicate our values to millions of fans around the world. We want to put a smile on their faces and engage with them about the sport they love. Beko knows that every day there are people who need solutions for their busy and often unplanned lives. Therefore, we ensure all of our products are designed with our consumers’ everyday needs in mind to give them more time to play.”

Francesco Calvo, Chief Revenue Officer at FC Barcelona, commented: “We are delighted to work with our partners at Beko for the launch of this new campaign. Activations such as these help us to connect with our fans around the world. FC Barcelona has a tradition of playing with a smile, a fun style of attacking football and winning games with sublime moments of skills, so we think that this new campaign by Beko is very fitting for the club.”

Watch a video introducing the eight FC Barcelona animated players at the YouTube link below:

https://youtu.be/IQIpXxdUF6o

Download an image of Lionel Messi, Luis Suárez, Gerard Piqué, Arda Turan and Marc-André ter Stegen meeting their animations here:

http://we.tl/OuHZVAhi4l

Download an image of the eight FC Barcelona animated players celebrating here: http://we.tl/Y4Ex1O6nuS

Media relations contact:

Steve Spencer

Synergy

Steve.spencer@synergy-sponsorship.com

0203 128 8847

When will Manchester United join the women’s football party?

An Official Digital Transformation Partner, an Official Paint Provider, an Official Global Noodle Partner… the list goes on.

Manchester United’s commercial team are experts at monetising the club’s global reach and appeal. It seems that everything and anything that can be sponsored at Old Trafford already is, yet still United continue to unveil new partners on a global and regional level.

Strange then that there is still no Manchester United women’s team. In fact, they are one of only two Premier League clubs not to field a female side, with Southampton the other - although they were affiliated to Southampton Saints Girls & Ladies for several years and are considering re-establishing this partnership.

United did use to run a women’s side, and still do at youth level, but the senior team was disbanded in 2005. Former boss David Moyes once suggested the club may re-establish a women’s team, but executives have so far opted not to do so despite calls from Sports Minister Tracey Crouch to rectify the situation.

With United’s social media fan base topping 100m last year, it becomes clear just how much of an impact a United women’s team could have and how many people the sport could be taken to across the world. And that’s what it is – a sport in its own right, not simply the female version of men’s football.

This huge online following could also grow exponentially with the introduction of a Red Devils women’s side as, whilst a high percentage of women will already make up that 100m, there is a potential to increase the number of females among that audience even further thus giving the club and its sponsors a wider demographic to engage with.

Last year, Synergy helped secure and launch SSE’s ground-breaking deal as the first sponsor of the SSE Women’s FA Cup. Over the past year we have seen just what kind of impact any focus on women’s sport can have, highlighted by more than 30,000 spectators filing into Wembley for the Final. Uncharacteristically, United are definitely missing a trick commercially, if not for the sport and for equality then for the sponsorship potential.

United has a huge global fan base and in recent years the club has put a heavy emphasis on growing that support in Asia and North America with pre-season tours, sponsorship deals and even signing Asian stars Park Ji-Sung (South Korea) and Shinji Kagawa (Japan). Women’s football is growing in Asia and there is now an Asian Football Confederation Women’s Day each year, which coincides with International Women’s Day, to celebrate those who play and support the game across the continent.

In the USA, women’s football is huge and the current national team are reigning world champions having won the World Cup last year. Such is the draw of the US women’s team that an average audience of 25.4m watched the final live on TV, the highest viewing figures from any football match, male or female, broadcast on US TV.

So as United strive to grow their fan base across the Atlantic, would it not make sense to launch a women’s team and, as they have done with the current £350m shirt sponsorship with Chevrolet and previous AIG deal before that, possibly seek sponsors from the States?

United’s brilliant commercial department has taken the club to the verge of replacing Real Madrid at the top of the Deloitte Football Money League within the next 12 months, largely due to the world record deals with Chevrolet and Adidas, the growing portfolio of sponsors and increased broadcast and match day revenue. Surely a women’s team should be next on the agenda?

United were late to the Twitter party, not launching their official account until July 2013 once all other major clubs worldwide were already well established on the platform. Despite this, it didn’t take them too long to catch up with their rivals. Maybe they are going to be fashionably late to the women’s football party too and, hopefully, catch up in the same way. After all, it’s a bit of a no-brainer given the global commercial potential.

Fit For Kings: Is The UK The Next Big Thing For DraftKings?

In case you’ve missed it, Daily Fantasy Sport (DFS) could be one of the next big things on this side of the pond. After explosive and very rapid growth in the US, DFS is now looking to export its success to the UK, with DraftKings recently signing partnership agreements with Arsenal, Liverpool and Watford. DFS involves selecting Fantasy Sports Teams, with an entry fee and prize money that can reach millions of dollars. As I said back in 2014, gamification of sport is a huge industry, and the dramatic growth of DFS is testament to this.

DraftKings and FanDuel are the industry leaders in the USA, following an ad blitz, several high-profile sponsorships, and a number of legal battles. At the heart of these battles is whether Daily Fantasy Sports should be viewed as gambling or not. Joe Asher, William Hill CEO, feels that DFS “is gambling and it should be regulated as such”, although you can understand why an established betting firm would feel that way.

Both DraftKings and FanDuel have courted controversy in the USA through high profile advertising and sponsorship campaigns, running a TV advert every 90 seconds, spending a combined $150m in Q3 of 2015. The ubiquity of the adverts caused a backlash in November (illustrated below) from viewers and sports fans, but some argue that it has only alienated those who would never use the service, doing little damage to the business itself.

Beyond the plethora of team and league sponsorships, DFS providers have partnered with major events such as the Belmont Stakes (presented by Draft Kings) and Stadium Lounges like the Draft Ops Ice Club and the Draft Kings Fantasy Lounge, which will “give visitors an interactive place to gather and play DraftKings”. The deliberate move to partner with teams, leagues, events and lounges has caught the eye to the extent that it is hard to avoid the presence of DFS providers in the USA. Primetime sponsored shows such as NFL Insider on ESPN have been compared to “a DraftKings infomercial disguised as a pregame show“. For those in the UK who watch Premier League football, it’s similar to the pervasive presence of betting firms.

It might not be a popular, or progressive method of brand-building, but this ubiquitous brand presence across sporting and media platforms has quickly established DraftKings and FanDuel as the dominant players. As is often the case, sponsorship has been used to legitimise their brands, but this may all be in vain if they lose their legal battle in the US - it is perhaps telling that at this stage, the NFL have opted against signing a partnership with either FanDuel or DraftKings.

The expansion of DraftKings into the UK could also inadvertently jeopardise their domestic operations, due to the requirement of a gambling licence through the UK Gaming Commission. Obtaining this could be seen as an admission that DFS is indeed gambling, and that won’t have gone unnoticed by Attorney Generals across America. As payment processors step away from DFS providers, international expansion can be seen as spreading risk, in case of protracted legal battles in the US.

Whilst DraftKings and Fan Duel are available as an alternative to gambling for Americans, it will be tougher for DraftKings to cut through and at the same time differentiate their offer in a mature betting market like the UK. Given how commonplace betting adverts are, achieving both cut-through and differentiation will be difficult, as it is now possible to bet on Fantasy Football, to receive tips on your Fantasy Football team from betting firms or play Fantasy Football for cash prizes.

Having announced Arsenal, Liverpool and Watford partnership deals in February, we are yet to see DraftKings make much of a move on the UK market…and they are not even listed as a partner on the website of the latter two clubs. Given the popularity of Fantasy Football in the UK and an established gambling market, it is surely only a matter of time until we see DraftKings make their mark here. If their approach is anything like their domestic strategy, you’re unlikely to miss it.