Some of the most famous sports sponsorship campaigns truly stand out in the world of product and sports marketing. For example, look at the Air Jordan campaign. Widely considered the all time best sports marketing campaign, Nike's Air Jordans brought instant brand recognition through Michael Jordan's signature sneakers, a lot of this recognition stemming from the controversy which arose from the star wearing the sneakers during games.
The original Air Jordan sneakers didn't go with Jordan's uniform. Since he kept wearing them during games, he would get repeatedly fined. This little bit of controversy brought even more attention and publicity to the already popular sneaker; and when Nike offered to pay for every one of Jordan's fines as long as he continued wearing the sneakers during games, the hype continued to rise.
Another extremely profitable example of this type of marketing is the cash raked in by the network airing the SuperBowl every year from willing advertisers. These 30 second advertising slots cost approximately $2.5 Million dollars a pop; and companies are more than happy to shell out the money for one of these prime sports sponsorship opportunities.
The reason that companies rely on this type of marketing is this: sports stars and athletes are some of the most recognizable people to consumers world wide. Many people adore them, some want to be as much like them as possible; and by attaching the name of a product to a well-known sports celebrity or team, they ensure that millions of people hear about their brand.
Some of the most recent, notable big brand pairings with sports teams and athletes are: Ford trucks with the Boston Red Sox, TAG Heuer watches with Tiger Woods, and David Beckham for H&M and Burger King. These brands are relying on the names and the images of these celebrity status sports figures; and it is a very intelligent move as far as advertising goes.
Sports, both watching them and playing them, will always be some of the most popular hobbies worldwide. With this much focus on the games and the people who play them, brands who have the money to dive into sponsorships, endorsements, and marketing strategies with notable athletes should take the opportunity to bring more positive attention to their brand. Even when controversy surrounds the people involved in an ad campaign, the attention to the product stays positive.
Companies, and those running them, that invest in marketing through sports have set themselves up for success with easy recognition ad the idea that fans of the athletes representing the products will be one step closer to living the life of their favorite sports star just by using certain brands.