Keane adds 7UP to his list of endorsements as World Cup fever takes hold

 

ADVERTISING/MARKETING: Two World Cup-themed advertising campaigns start this week, signalling the start of what is likely to be wall-to-wall football celebrity endorsements in the run up to May 31st.

7UP has signed Roy Keane in a €750,000 nine-month promotional deal and Carlsberg is continuing its relationship with Jason McAteer with a new €1.25 million campaign. Roy Keane is not exactly a stranger to Ireland-specific product endorsements. He appears in full eastern warrior regalia in Eircom's brand advertising, as a crisp-stealing leprechaun for Walkers and as a needlepoint fan for KitKat. In such a small market it is surprising that yet another brand is willing to sign the footballer as product confusion seems inevitable.

"We won't be using Roy like everyone else," said Ms Rhona Holland, marketing manager with 7UP. "The contract runs until the end of the year and it's not simply an advertising contract."

There is an advertising element - Irish International shot a television advertisement featuring the footballing star in Old Trafford three weeks ago and there will be radio advertising and an outdoor campaign.

The brand has also contracted with Keane to make personal appearances and be involved in promotional activities.

"He is available to us for a number of days and on those days it will be a question of co-ordinating with our promotional agencies, our advertising agency and our PR agency to make sure we make the most of the time available to us," said Ms Holland. She declined to reveal how much of the three-quarters of a million euro budget went on Keane's fee.

Ms Holland said that Keane's recent injury was not an issue for the brand.

"Obviously, we would be disappointed if Roy Keane wasn't fit to play in the World Cup but that wouldn't alter the campaign."

Ms Holland is, however, keen to repeat the good news announcement made by Keane's manager Mr Michael Kennedy on Tuesday, which said: "Roy anticipates being fit to play in the Champions League final, subject to Manchester United progressing that far."

Owens DDB has interpreted the Carlsberg advertising theme of dreams can come true by intercutting clips of Ireland's previous World Cup endeavours with the reaction of fans. In Japan, McAteer scores the winning goal before the camera reveals that he is in bed dreaming.

According to Mr John Flynn, creative director of Owens DDB, "Jason McAteer was an easy one. The fans know him as a player who is consistent, selfless, hardworking and doesn't take himself too seriously." The television element of the campaign began this week but Carlsberg's World Cup push in Ireland started in February with an e-mail and short messaging service (SMS) campaign to persuade fans to change their watches to Japanese time. Some 13,000 people signed up for the e-mail campaign.