On Sunday I sat through one of the dullest FA Cup finals I have seen for a while, whilst watching the cricket on cricinfo. For those who don't know the FA Cup is probably the most famous knock out competition in the world.
This year was the first time it had been held at the new Wembley stadium. Since the football was so dull I found myself searching around, and was shocked at how little attention the various sponsors had paid to the search engines.
E.ON paid £32 Million to sponsor the FA Cup for 4 years. Unlike the other big brands advertising or sponsoring the FA Cup, E.ON have also spent some time to ensure that any positive brand recognition isn't wasted. A search for eon fa cup has E.ON has three of the top 5 results, two of them specifically talking about their sponsorship of the FA Cup. For the big brands the rest of this article is less of a happy tale.
There were three other brands allowed to advertise pitch side at wembley, these are Umbro, Carlsberg and National Express. I am assuming that National Express is the third supporter mentioned on the partners page at theFA.com
For these three brands it appears that they have forgotten about the search engines. A search for umbro fa cup has the FA Cup website top, and the rest of the results are sites selling the Umbro FA Cup Ball. carlsberg fa cup is slightly better as carlsberg ran a competion to send two people to the final, but this result is still second behind the fa cup website. national express fa cup has national express top (with an indented result) with the fa website second.
Finally there are the sponsors of Man Utd and Chelsea, AIG and Samsung respectively. The AIG search is one of the better set of search resuls (AIG fa cup) yet still they only own two of the results (though there are two more from Man Utd websites.
The worst set of results is without doubt those of samsung (samsung fa cup) who don't own a single result in the top 10.
##Brand recognition wasted.
Given how strong these brands are, and how easily they could rank for searches I was shocked at how little attention has been paid to the brand recognition available on the back of the FA Cup. The FA reckon last year's final had a tv audience of 484 Million. I would bet that this year's will attract a higher audience.
I don’t know how much money was spent sponsoring either the teams or the competition, but with over 400 Million people viewing a brand I am shocked someone hasn’t thought to throw up a couple of pages on their website mentioning the deal. With the strength of the various brands and their websites they would rank so easily for even relatively competitive phrases to do with the FA Cup. A simple page with a title along the lines of "brand are proud to sponsor the FA Cup" would easily rank for the phrases above, and I'd wager a lot more besides.
Once you have build up a big brand, and the associated powerful website, failing to do such a simple step is bordering on insanity. I have read about the massive spike of traffic for the advertisers of the super bowl, why not for the FA Cup?
Am I being harsh? Are there brands out there that join up their strategies and backup huge offline exposure with an equivalent online exposure?