In 1978 Mark H. McCormack (one of the builders of sports as a business industry) met several times with Andre Heiniger, Rolex CEO, proposing him that ROLEX sponsored Wimbledon Tennis Championship through a new electronic marker along with a chronometer that would be managed by the Swiss brand.
The answers that Mr. McCormack received were always the same: the sport was suitable for mid-range watches with large manufacturing volumes, but not for an exclusive brand closed to luxury positioning. The solution? Invite Mr. Heineger to watch the Wimbledon final from the royal box. From the moment he entered the royal box, the businessman identified all the elements that were part of his brand values: exclusivity, elite and quality. In addition, the passion shown by more than eleven thousand people who attended the final along with the innumerable number of tennis fans who could not get into the Center Court of the All England Club made the possibility to close the Rolex sponsorship agreement before the end of the event.
Forty Years later the aspirational nature of sports brands still being one of the main attractions for companies which desire this magnificent brand awareness and impact it on their target, people who want to feel unique, be exclusive and recognized for it, being part of a group that differs from the rest.
It was not so far ago some business corporate considerations changed in terms of the brand positioning. They liked sports but missed other values that society was demanding. Were NBA or FC Barcelona who created messages beyond traditional sports adding a plus to brands which joined them to activate it all around the globe.
As you can see in the graphic below, you can see the values the market identified with UNICEF (blue line) in comparison with other brands related to the sports industry, the complement values are clear and powerful, the perfect match.
Article written by Óscar Yáñez