CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: ALL EYES ON CLUB FOOTBALL'S BIGGEST PRIZE

Following the Champions League final on Saturday, we sat down with Account Director Tom Sweetman to dissect what the sponsors of club football’s biggest prize did over the season to plug their brands.



Ronaldinho’s Route 10 Freestyle Bus Tour


The UEFA Champions League has seven different official global sponsors in Heineken, Playstation, Walkers, Mastercard, FedEx, Just Eat and Expedia, all looking to use the platform to promote their brand and key messaging. Of all the campaigns through the season, it was Expedia’s ‘The Ronaldinho Route 10 Freestyle Bus Tour’, launched ahead of the final, that caught our eye.



Tapping into its travel roots, Expedia got the ball rolling with a football travel study of 2,000 British football fans, asking them what they like to do most when they travel abroad following their team. The study revealed that 57% of fans feel more cultured by such away trips, while 45% admitted to learning the basics of the local language before each trip.


Building on these results, Expedia launched ‘The Ronaldinho Route 10 Freestyle Bus Tour’ - an immersive 90-minute tour of Paris aboard an open-top bus, for football fans visiting the French capital for the Champions League final, with tickets up for grabs via a competition. Touring the sights of Paris is one thing, but it was the identity of the tour guide that really made the campaign come to life.


Named the ‘Route 10’ tour after Ronaldinho’s shirt number while a Paris Saint-Germain player, the tour was designed and led by the former Parisian-based player himself. Utilising the ambassador in such a way capped off a campaign that from start to finish tapped into both Expedia as a brand and its sponsorship of European club football’s biggest prize, while building up plenty of excitement along the way.


Mastercard’s priceless masterclass


Using a former Champions League winner in Ronaldinho to front up your Champions League campaign obviously gives it an added layer of credibility – and Mastercard deployed a similar tactic by using two-time Champions League-winning manager Jose Mourinho for an intriguing and insightful content piece at the beginning of the season.


Tapping into its famous ‘Priceless’ advertising slogan, Mastercard have created a behind-the-scenes series of content pieces and exclusive experiences with its ambassadors, all under the ‘Priceless’ banner. An exclusive tactical masterclass Q&A with Mourinho kicked off the Champions League campaign last year.

Taking questions from fans around the world, Mourinho takes a deep dive into the world of football tactics and his experiences of employing them in his career, offering up some ‘priceless’ advice and expertise along the way. While perhaps not the most original of campaigns, having a name like Mourinho to promote the brand through a high-quality piece of content is always something to be admired.



Stats, stats, stats from FedEx


Tactics and stats are discussed and consumed more than ever by football fans these days, playing a pivotal role in the way we all dissect or analyse a match. Mastercard was able to tap into that concept through its campaign with Mourinho and it’s an approach FedEx has also taken this season to promote its sponsorship of the Champions League.


Alongside UEFA, FedEx launched the ‘FedEx Performance Zone’ – a one-stop shop for all your Champions League stats from this season. Taking its ownership of the competition’s statistics one step further, the delivery service linked up with another Champions League winner in Xabi Alonso for a content series in which he analyses the competition’s defining moments, best performances and standout teams with the help of the FedEx Performance Zone data.


Another fascinating and insightful watch across a number of episodes, the campaign reinforces the point that FedEx is a brand that can be trusted to help you stay connected – both to football and through the use of its service around the world.



Just Eat cause a stir on final day


While not a major Champions League campaign from fellow sponsors Just Eat, the takeaway service did launch a special deal ahead of Saturday’s final between Liverpool and Real Madrid. On the day of the final, fans were able to get a hefty 25% off any Just Eat orders they made to go alongside their Champions League final evening viewing.


Certainly an offer not to be sniffed at and one that helped create some buzz around Just East on the day of the final.



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