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Posts Tagged ‘brand fail’

The Unmentionables vs. the Tour de France – a study of brand association

June 23rd, 2011

Apparently, there’s a global sporting event happening in the Year of Our Lord after 2011 – The Unmentionables – centred on the capital city of an island off the coast of continental Europe. That’s about as much I can share with you because the organisers of this global sporting event have grabbed rights to every essential word and expression around it – location, names, dates . . .

Legally, I cannot use these words or expressions because that might create an association between The Unmentionables and me and/or Liberate Media in your minds. And that association has not been paid for, and so therefore is to be fiercely discouraged by legal means.

Basically, I’m nicked if I use any of these words. The organisers of The Unmentionables have already shown how fierce they can be by taking legal action against people and businesses in the capital city of this small island off the coast of continental Europe.

The organisers do not want us to talk about The Unmentionables. They want to ensure that the brands that have paid astronomical sums to be legally associated with this global sporting event are protected.

We know who these sponsors are but I’d not want to risk the wrath of the organisers of The Unmentionables by using their names in this post. I also would not want to risk death by lawyers by making the cardinal mistake of using any links. So I won’t.

Brand dream: Le Tour sponsors are central to the open, honest and greatest sporting event in the world

Contrast this approach to sporting event delivery with that of the Tour de France, which starts in Liege in ten days’ time (Saturday, July 2nd 2011). I can use any terms I wish to describe this annual event – the organisers encourage it.

And why wouldn’t they? It makes good business sense for Le Tour and for their sponsors, who I can freely link to, whenever I want.

Le Tour is by some margin, the best sporting event in the calendar. For three weeks in July, professionals at the top of their game fight for three main prizes over terrain that is not for the faint-hearted. At stake are the jerseys that identify the very best cyclists of our generation: the yellow, the green and the King of the Mountains.

For the record, neither me nor Liberate Media have any association with Le Tour. But I did not need to say that because Le Tour organisers understand the benefit of free thought around their excellent brand. They also know that their sponsors will gain from this freedom.

The Unmentionables, on the other hand, are now defined by an ultra-conservative, negative and miserable approach that shuts down any free thinking and sharing around the sporting event. In my mind, the brands associated with this event are fatally tainted by this approach.

But I know that this year’s Tour de France will be thrilling, packed with drama and played out openly, honestly in front of a global audience. If I was a brand, I would die to be associated with Le Tour.

As for The Unmentionables, the organisers have told me to lose interest or be sued. Given these conditions, I’m more than happy to concur.

Le Tour is never an anti-climax. You will be engaged, thrilled and won over to Le Tour and its sponsors by its extraordinary narrative. And you can write what you like, when you want, using all the ordinary words and phrases that you need to tell the story.

Meanwhile, The Unmentionables event already has “underwhelming” written into its DNA. And brands associated with The Unmentionables are, willingly or not, being redefined by that dismal message.

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