Nike celebrates two World Cup finalists

by THOMSON REUTERS

MOSCOW, July 12 (Reuters) - The World Cup final on Sunday will not only be an all-European affair but an all-Nike match. For the first time in its history, the American sportswear manufacturer will be providing the kit for the two finalists, France and Croatia.

The result is a significant victory for Nike, as rival Adidas is a long-standing and prominent partner of FIFA and the World Cup.

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"We've had three of the four teams make the semi-finals and then two of our teams made the finals, which is a first time for Nike," Elliot Hill, Nike president of consumer and marketplace, told Reuters.

 Team France

Team France

 Super Eagles 2018 FIFA World Cup Team Croatia

Super Eagles 2018 FIFA World Cup Team Croatia

"We've been in the game of football for over 20 years, and it's the first time that we've had an all-Nike final with both teams wearing Nike."

Adidas sponsored 12 of the 32 teams at the World Cup finalists compared to Nike's 10 but saw one of its most prominent clients Germany knocked out in the group stage while eight of its teams fell in the round of 16.

"In addition to the kits, we've had great success with our players," said Hill.

"We have over 65 percent of the athletes wearing Nike football boots. That's more than all the other brands combined. So it's been a really successful World Cup for us, on and off the pitch."

Of the other manufacturers, Puma supplied kits for four teams, New Balance for two and Errea, Hummel, Uhlsport and Umbro one apiece -- the latter being the distinctive Peru shirt with the red diagonal stripe. (Reporting by Catherine Koppel; Editing by Christian Radnedge) 

The New York Times' $300 T-shirt Is How Not to Promote a Brand

By Hannah Abrams

Sometimes, we feel like we are screaming this message from the highest mountain top, and yet, brands continue to ignore our cries. But for those of you listening: Know your brand, and know your audience. There's clearly a disconnect in The New York Times latest promotional apparel, and we're not quite sure how anyone thought this was a good idea.

We told you last week that The New York Times hoped to offset its digital struggles by launching a merchandise store. To us, that made sense—branded merchandise is a great way to promote brand awareness, and of course, generate some extra profits.

But The New York Times bit off a lot more than it could chew with its new $300 slogan T-shirt, and the internet is very confused. According to Vice, The New York Times collaborated with luxury Japanese brand Sacai to create a very expensive slogan tee for purchase at Saks Fifth Avenue.

"Truth. It's more important now than ever," the T-shirt reads. On the back of the T-shirt, there's lines from an old 2017 ad for the newspaper with gems like, "The truth is hard," "The truth has no agenda" and "The truth pulls no punches."

We get it. Truth is great. But the truth is, $300 is way too much for a T-shirt. Not to mention, the hoodie version with the same text is going for $420. For a newspaper fighting a battle to prove that journalism is a good and vital part of democracy—a public service, even—putting its logo on a luxury T-shirt few people can actually afford is not a good look. It may even be counterproductive.

This is simply the latest brand to completely misread its audience. Last year, we watched as Barneys and Nordstrom totally missed the mark on their new apparel offerings, and we're sure The New York Times won't be the last one either. For those of you working in promotional apparel, make sure your client has a thorough understanding of its end-users, because promotions like this can easily turn a brand's intended audience against it.

Elon Musk, Farting Unicorns and Copyright Law: A Promo Story

by Tom Higgins

Yes, you read that headline right. Allow us to explain.

Back in February 2017, in a since-deleted tweet, Elon Musk posted a photo of a mug featuring the image of a cartoon unicorn farting electricity into an electric car, calling it “maybe my favorite mug ever.” Tom Edwards, the Colorado-based potter who made the mug, was delighted to receive recognition for his work, especially from someone as influential as Musk.

This delight didn’t last too long, however, as Edwards discovered a month later that Musk had posted another since-deleted tweet featuring a copy of his unicorn cartoon to promote Tesla’s new sketch pad feature, which allows drivers to draw on the car’s built-in touchscreen.

As it turns out, Tesla was also using the image as a small icon for its operating system and would even come to turn it into a Christmas card.

Despite admitting an appreciation for Musk’s sustainable business ventures, Edwards has decided that he needed to defend his ownership of the Wallyware brand of cartoon-adorned pottery he has been working on for nearly 40 years.

On May 23 of this year, Edwards’ lawyer sent a letter to Tesla’s general counsel in an attempt to reach an amicable, mutual resolution to the obvious instance of copyright violation. Tesla has yet to respond.

In the meantime, however, Musk found time to argue with the artist’s daughter online, claiming that the decision to use the cartoon was not his choice and arguing that, if anything, Tesla’s use of the farting unicorn had only boosted Edwards’ mug sales.

As of Wednesday, the image was still being used in Tesla’s cars. Edwards reportedly intends to continue with his efforts to reach out to Musk, though no lawsuit has yet been filed. For him, it’s all about making sure that artists get paid for their work, especially in cases where corporations insist on using their designs without permission.

“I realize my farting unicorn is not as serious as whistleblowers,” he admitted to the Guardian. “But honestly, it’s all about integrity.”

While we freely and fully acknowledge Mr. Musk's promotional prowess (flamethrowerslife-sized lego brickshats), we can't support copyright infringement of any kind, especially when the scales are as unbalanced as they are here. We'll keep you posted as this saga unfolds, if for no reason other than the fact that we relish the opportunity to write about farting unicorns whenever possible.

THE WORLD CUP OF PACKAGING

by Tim Sykes

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As the world anticipates the football World Cup in Russia, brand owners prepare to monetise consumer engagement with promotional product runs, keeping packaging design teams busy. We survey packaging from five continents, some examples more sophisticated than others, inspired by the festival of football.

Official sponsors of the FIFA World Cup™ Budweiser, Coca-Cola and McDonalds have of course invested heavily in their marketing. Budweiser has opted for relatively consistent global design, featuring limited-edition packaging which pairs the brand’s red with the iconic trophy to create a design aiming for potent shelf impact. The packaging also reinforces the association between Budweiser and World Cup in the eyes of consumers, intending to position Budweiser as the beer of choice for fans, 93 per cent of whom watch the football at home. The concept is available in multiple packaging formats – the most coveted of which will surely be the aluminium bottle.

 To complement this the packaging, Budweiser is also getting creative. In the UK, for instance, it has launched a two-hour delivery service in partnership with Amazon Prime Now, the chance to win tickets to the World Cup final using entry codes displayed on the packaging, and point of sale promotions at leading retailers.

To complement this the packaging, Budweiser is also getting creative. In the UK, for instance, it has launched a two-hour delivery service in partnership with Amazon Prime Now, the chance to win tickets to the World Cup final using entry codes displayed on the packaging, and point of sale promotions at leading retailers.

To complement this the packaging, Budweiser is also getting creative. In the UK, for instance, it has launched a two-hour delivery service in partnership with Amazon Prime Now, the chance to win tickets to the World Cup final using entry codes displayed on the packaging, and point of sale promotions at leading retailers.

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By contrast, Coca-Cola’s marketing campaigns are much more regionally driven. In Austria the drinks giant has released a series of cans depicting the backs of football shirts in various national colours. Each one in the series features a number and a nickname for the respective position on the field – from ‘Straight-A Keeper’ to ‘Goal Hanger’.

 The Japanese promotional packs aim to drive digital engagement with the promise of prizes.

The Japanese promotional packs aim to drive digital engagement with the promise of prizes.

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Meanwhile, in Mexico Coca-Cola has introduced a collection of miniature 'Mini-Mundialistas' souvenir bottles in conjunction with fellow FIFA sponsor McDonalds, celebrating nations involved in this summer’s tournament (and Italy).

In contrast to its carnivalesque packaging for Brazil 2014, McDonalds itself has pursued more restrained optics for the Russian World Cup, drawing on Russian iconography and echoes of folkloric graphic style:

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Non-affiliated brands are also cashing in on heightened enthusiasm for football. Heinz Tomato Ketchup looks to corner the World-Cup-barbecue-condiment market with the unoriginal but effective tactic of putting a ball on the label:

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Following a similar thought process, two vegetable businesses are targeting the Swiss World-Cup-snacking-tomatoes market with snack portion Schur®Star bags shaped like a football shirt.

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The Brazilian snack brand Yoki also riffs on the national shirt theme for its bags, and also provides a rigid bowl in the shape of a football cut in half:

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...On the other side of the Atlantic, the Nigerian Football Federation marked qualification for the tournament by issuing a customised celebratory champagne:

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Meanwhile, in the host nation, World Cup fever has steadily taken hold, with market research suggesting that products bearing the competition’s official logo are selling at five times the usual rate.

The vodka brand Tsarskaya has brought out a special edition bottle celebrating the national sport:

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Meanwhile, Russian company TAVR is one of those catering to the national mood, having launched a sausage-meat product shaped like a football.

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“We want to bring pleasure to everyone who is interested in sport,” executive director Aleksandr Remeta told the website unipack.ru. “This new product is an original and tasty souvenir which might prove indispensable while watching the match.”