ZooplaWhen online property listings platform Zoopla became the principal sponsor of English Premier League team West Bromwich Albion in 2012, the company was probably thinking that it was aligning itself with an ambitious, Midlands-based club which was going to do wonders for brand exposure. The £3m two-year deal saw Zoopla plastered over the front of West Brom’s shirts, a big move as part of the company’s plans to usurp rival Rightmove as the market leader. However, that branding exercise came to a screeching halt less than two years later when Zoopla pulled its sponsorship after West Brom striker Nicholas Anelka made what was deemed to be an anti-Jewish gesture after scoring a goal. The French footballer unveiled a “quenelle” gesture as his celebration, prompting outrage from the football community and Jewish organisations. To make matters worse for West Brom, the founder and CEO of Zoopla, Alex Chesterman, is Jewish himself. After demanding its branding was taken off shirts if Anelka was fielded in the next match, Zoopla ultimately decided to pull out entirely and “focus its attention” on other marketing activities. This example shows that, despite football being a great way of introducing a brand to a wide range of people, it’s always a risk when you have no control over the players who essentially serve as ambassadors. Read more from Surreal Business:
- The best and worst marketing stunts by six influential athletes
- The five big brands bitten by online retail and marketing mistakes
- The UK’s six most entrepreneurial universities
- Examples of partnership businesses
Domino’sWith reality television on the rise, the powers that be at takeaway chain Domino’s Pizza decided to get a piece of the action and sponsored diving show Splash! in 2013. Fronted by Olympic diver Tom Daley, the show saw a group of questionable “celebrities” coached on how to high dive properly. However, Domino’s adverts, featuring at the start and end of every break in programming as “bumpers”, were slightly contradicted when followed by government warnings about the fat content of pizzas – yes, specifically pizzas. Businesses such as Domino’s, McDonalds and Burger King are finding it increasingly hard to market offerings in the face of strong pushback from health organisations and government initiatives. But Domino’s must have expected the ad men at ITV to be slightly sensitive to the matter and space out the two contrasting shorts a little bit more. Visit page two to find out how Virgin couldn’t even provide trains to an event it was aligned with, and how Phones4U appeared to make a joke out of rape.
Share this story