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News & views

Sponsoring language

[10 July 2013] One of the good things about the Wimbledon tennis championships and the Glastonbury music festival was their lack of wall-to-wall corporate sponsorship – sponsorship was there, but not so naked that every TV shot included a brand name. The organizers seem to have decided not to sell their souls to sugar-pushers like Coke and Pepsi or the ubiquitous burger chains. Wouldn't it be good if someone could design a TV app that filters out all the advertising on hoardings, boundary boards, players’ shirts and the like. It would sell.

On 1 July, La Liga giants Barcelona FC finally bowed to commercial pressure in the shape of a €35million-a-year shirt-sponsorship deal with Qatar Airways, the first time they’ve agreed to put a business name on their shirts. Previously they’d given shirt rights only to Unicef and the Qatar Foundation, both ostensibly not-for-profit concerns. 

A bizarre modern phenomenon is the willingness of otherwise apparently sane individuals to buy at exorbitant cost, and then actually to wear, a football shirt in team colours bearing a logo for the likes of Wonga – whose most distinctive features are a 5,000 per cent annual interest rate and the shameless slogan ‘straight-talking money’. How strong the herd instinct remains in people of free will.

There’s one unintentionally amusing advert seen on all the football grounds. It’s from Adidas and is part of the biggest advertising campaign in the company’s history. Designed by a Montreal-based company, the advert declares ‘adidas is all in’. Meant to imply that the various Adidas brands are all together in one glorious corporate global family, it actually proclaims that Adidas is tired, exhausted and generally shagged out, probably from all that endless running in branded sports shoes on the company treadmill. The Encarta dictionary gives 'all in' as meaning 'with everything included' (as in an 'all-in price') or 'fatigued'. [cont]

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