Through its long-term marketing strategy, Continental has become established as one of the leading sponsors in professional football
- · Tire Division’s marketing strategy began with sponsorship of UEFA Champions League from 1995 to 2000
- · Clear increase in awareness of premium tire brand Continental
- · International sponsorship currently includes 2014 FIFA World Cup™ and UEFA EURO 2016™ – regional sponsorship includes the German “DFB Pokal” cup competition and Major League Soccer in the USA
- · Tickets and hospitality are central pillars of sponsorship activation, along with product test drives and big screen viewing
Hanover, June 10th 2014. In the run-up to the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil, the Tire Division of Continental AG can already look back on almost 18 successful years of using football sponsorship as a strategic communications platform. The Division’s long-term marketing strategy for its premium tire brand Continental was launched back in 1995 with sponsorship of the UEFA Champions League. In 2003, Continental signed a contract making it Official Sponsor of the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ in Germany for the product category Tires. Since then, Continental has supported all of the men’s World Cup and European Championships as an official sponsor: the UEFA EURO 2008™ in Austria and Switzerland, the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ in South Africa, and the UEFA EURO 2012™ in Poland and the Ukraine. “As by far the world’s most popular sport, professional football has proved an outstanding central communications platform for us,” says Nikolai Setzer, Continental Executive Board member responsible for the Tire Division. “Since 1995 we have recorded a steady increase in brand awareness for our premium Continental brand and fired up the brand image with the powerful emotions from football stadiums around the world.”
The Continental Tire Division is today the world’s fourth-largest tire manufacturer, with sales of €9.7 billion and more than 42,500 employees. Over recent years the Hanover-based division has secured itself a firm place among the technology leaders in tires, a position documented by the fact that one car in three manufactured in Europe is fitted with Continental tires. Further proof is provided by the division’s leading position leadership in the car winter tire segment, where Continental sold more than 21 million tires in 2012. “We are delighted that we’ve been able to achieve a steady increase in brand awareness for our premium tire brand Continental through our sponsorship of the world’s most popular football tournaments,” adds Setzer. „Now we’re aiming to continue down this road with the forthcoming tournaments in football-mad Brazil and France, countries at the heart of our key sales regions – South America and Europe. We are aiming to establish Continental permanently among the top premium brands in the tire business in the world’s most important markets, using international and regional football sponsorship as intensively as possible and making it a firm part of our business relationships.” Examples of Continental’s regional football sponsorship include the “DFB Pokal” cup competition in Germany, sponsored since 2010, and Major League Soccer in the USA. On top of this, Continental is also active as a partner to the men’s national teams in Spain and The Netherlands, as well as in France, where sponsorship also includes the women’s national team, and in England, where Continental sponsors the FA Women’s Super League. In England and the USA sponsorship also extends to the national football associations The FA and US Soccer. “As all of these commitments show, today at international and regional level alike, it is hard to imagine Continental not being involved in football,” says Setzer. “Football has a fundamental role to play in society at large – and for our premium Continental brand.”
As an official sponsor, Continental is entitled to a substantial contingent of tickets and premium hospitality packages for all of the above-mentioned tournaments, and both tickets and hospitality have become cornerstones of the company’s sponsorship activation strategy since 1995. Ever since the UEFA EURO 2008™ tournament in Austria and Switzerland, though, these have been accompanied by attractive product test drive programs at the company’s own proving grounds, such as the Contidrom north of Hanover, or at rented facilities, combined with big screen viewing opportunities. This takes account of the fact that not all of the company’ business partners can travel to the host countries and benefit from the programs organized there.
In the Brazilian tire sector Continental currently holds a substantial market share of more than ten percent, and is looking to build on this position through its sponsorship of the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™. To this end, output at the Continental passenger car and commercial vehicle tire plant in Camacari, Brazil, where in 2012 1,300 employees manufactured a total of 5.5 million tires, is currently being ramped up to almost twice that level. Within the Continental group, Camacari plays a lead role in meeting South American demand for original equipment and replacement tires.
On its website – www.ContiSoccerWorld.de – set up in 2005, Continental serves up a wealth of insights, portraits and interviews, providing comprehensive pictures of the teams that have qualified for the tournaments and their stars, as well as of the host countries and their people, and the company’s own key activities in and around the world of football.