In a warning for brands sponsoring the World Cup, new research from the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) finds that 45% of Brits oppose political or ideological content in sports advertising.
Nearly three times as many people oppose such content in sports advertising as support it (16%). The findings come ahead of this year’s Qatari World Cup where difficult questions have been raised surrounding human rights issues, with campaigns calling on the English Football Association to take a firmer stance in its anti-discrimination campaigns.
The research finds that older British people are far more likely to oppose political or ideological content in sports advertising (57% of those aged 55+) than 18-34 year olds (33%). Furthermore, only 13% of UK adults support brand advertising in Qatar considering the current humanitarian crisis revealing the unease consumers can feel when sport and political sentiments cross over, which is a warning for brands who carry out sports marketing, sponsorship and partnerships.
Natalie Spearing, MD from the Chartered Institute of Marketing, said: “Marketers should take note of these findings and recognise that as professionals they owe their employers a duty to tread carefully when dealing with politically charged issues and sporting events. Far too many worthy sounding sentiments have been revealed as hyperbole or worse still hypocrisy in recent weeks, undermining consumer trust and sales.
Brands’ role in promoting women’s football
In contrast, fans are keen for brands to support the development of the game, particularly women’s football. Looking at views towards the Women’s Euros, the study reveals that 58% believe marketing played a positive role in promoting the tournament and encouraging females across the country to be active. Furthermore, 64% say the success of the Lionesses will encourage more brands to invest in women’s football, helping to support and develop the sport.
Despite widespread support for women’s sport, and the role of businesses in promoting it, not all brands are getting it right. Just one in 10 (9%) of those polled felt all brands involved in the Women’s Euros were authentic in their backing for female football – highlighting the need for brands to ensure marketing and advertising campaigns are genuine.
Spearing added: “With the World Cup getting closer by the day, the Women’s Euros have provided marketers with an important opportunity to uncover valuable insights into what works, and what doesn’t. Brands involved in the World Cup must remember that they are operating on a global stage with millions of eyes watching. Any inauthentic marketing will (rightly) be called out by consumers, so it’s imperative that any campaign closely aligns with the brand’s purpose.”