Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Football's fashionable side

Fashionista doesn't often have cause to write about football but, with World Cup fever at its height as we reach the closing stages of the competition, Fashionista has considered with interest the opportunity for mass exposure which the world's biggest, most viewed sporting event lends to fashion brands.

Sportswear brand exposure is a given through official association: Adidas is the official event sponsor, producing the team kits for many including Germany, France and the hosts South Africa; Puma has Italy; Umbro has England; to name but a few. Understandable. Nothing extraodinary there.

Of much greater note is the publicity and widespread advertising reach which association with the FIFA World Cup bestows to less obviously "sporty" brands. Enter high street and luxury retail giants M&S and Louis Vuitton.

Fashionista thought the England squad looked oh-so-smart in their 3 piece suit by M&S. 4 years ago, our boys wore Armani. In a bid to be slightly more recessionista and to fly the flag of how great it is to be British, the England squad has partnered with one of our favourite national brands. What no doubt first appeared as a a great way to drive footfall and attract online sales is likely to have been derailed, first when key team members featured in the ad - Theo Walcott - failed to be selected to travel to South Africa, and then, as a result of England's dismal performance against Germany on Sunday.

Louis Vuitton may have escaped M&S's fate, since their World Cup product was only ever going to be associated with the winning team. LVMH were asked by FIFA to design a custom built trunk to encase the 18 carat gold FIFA World Cup trophy so that it could travel in style. The LV monogram is instantly recognisable, and viewers will not be able to avoid clocking the logo as the trophy - in its LV trunk - is carried onto the pitch for the final. The perfect example of a winning brand collaboration.

Whilst Fashionista is a fan of the beautiful game, she suspects that her eye may be on the customised trunk rather than what is inside it come the 11th of July...