A look at the AC marketing game, courtesy Branding Strategy Insider.
It all started with a flash of American superiority and a bruised royal
ego. In 1851, a yacht owned by the New York Yacht Club easily beat 15
of the fastest British yachts in a race around the Isle of Wight. Surprised
at the result, Queen Victoria was reported to have asked who had come
second and was politely informed: ‘There is no second, your Majesty.’
The America’s Cup had begun.
After 156 years and 38 contests, the finally returned to Europe. In
April of last year, yachts from 11 nations began competing in Valencia
to see who would eventually race the current holder, the Swiss yacht
Alinghi. It always is a massive event, but arguably those with the most
to lose are not the yachtsmen or countries involved. In fact they play
an almost peripheral role compared with the companies spending nine-figure
sums to associate their brand with the event.
As I walked around Valencia, Spain’s newly designed marina it could
easily be likened to visiting an exotic menagerie of big brands with
some of the fattest marketing budgets on the planet. BMW and Oracle
had joined forces with Allianz to sponsor the American yacht. A few
meters away the French boat sponsored by Areva, the French nuclear power
company. For reasons that weren’t immediately obvious, New Zealand’s
entrant was sponsored by Emirates. Most companies pay upwards of $100m
to be a sponsor. Meanwhile, supporter brands such as Vodafone (the official
phone network), Nespresso (the official coffee) and Adecco (the official
HR supplier) were also stumping up millions to be a part of it. Read on.