Andy Murray: an awkward but authentic brand ambassador

As our gloriously soggy sporting summer progresses, one hard and fast rule of sponsorship looks like being washed away in the downpours and Andy Murray's tears.

For sponsors of sports people and events, the key determinant has always been success.

Take the halo effect for Barclays of sponsoring the Premier League, which for eight years has given the pin-stripe brand mass-market appeal.

Now under siege by authorities and consumers, the embattled bank has predictably postponed its brand activity. But it will persevere in renewing its sponsorship of the world’s top football league, pining its hopes on that association’s redemptive qualities.

Meanwhile Adidas, a tier 1 London 2012 Olympics sponsor, coyly admits that ‘a gold medal certainly helps’ when it comes to justifying the brand’s huge financial stake in this summer of sport (see this week's Marketing Interview, p29).

So it is not too much of a leap to imagine marketers at the German kit supplier, in amongst the ranks of people praying for Andy Murray’s success on Centre Court last Sunday, petitioning heaven hard on behalf of its brand ambassador.

That Murray didn’t win should not cause Adidas’ marketers any sleepless nights – this is one cloud that has a silver lining.

Awkward, taciturn Murray, so steadfast in refusing to play the media game, stunned the Centre Court crowd when he cried bitter tears of disappointment on losing to Nike-sponsored Roger Federer.    

The Scotsman is yet to lift a grand slam trophy. But with that outpouring of passion, Murray delivered a more valuable form of gold to his sponsor: authenticity.

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