You may not have heard of the Snow Leopard – otherwise known as Ghanaian skier Kwame Nkrumah-Acheampong – but his brief appearance in the Men’s Slalom at last month’s Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada, helped raise the international profile of his main sponsor, apple brand KIKU.
Of course, one of Kwame’s main attributes in terms of marketability is the fact he comes from a country not famed for its winter sports prowess – he is, let’s face it, Cool Runnings on skis – but his ability to get down a large, snow-covered hill without incident on two planks of wood has brought him, and KIKU, to the attention of viewers worldwide.
In late February, British current affairs comedy programme Mock the Week talked about the Snow Leopard and the fact he learnt his trade in the UK, showing him in his animal-print outfit adorned with the KIKU logo to millions of viewers across the country.
If you want to tie your brand into a sporting event, it need not necessarily cost an arm and a leg, although in the case of someone like Torin Koos, the US cross-country skier sponsored by USA Pears, an arm and a leg might indeed be all you can afford.
No, despite being unable to operate on the same level as the likes of McDonald’s or Pepsi when it comes to putting your brand alongside events like the Olympics or indeed the football World Cup, there are opportunities out there if you know where to look and if you employ some lateral thinking.
Why, for example, did no-one from the berry business think to sponsor snowboarder Jasey-Jay Anderson, the 34-year-old blueberry farmer from Quebec who won gold for Canada in the Men’s Parallel Giant Slalom during what was his fourth and final Olympics?
For those fresh produce marketing managers out there, your challenge for the coming months is to successfully place your brand alongside a major sporting event at the lowest cost possible.
Anyone managing to do so can count on us featuring that tie-in prominently in the pages of Eurofruit.
Let the games begin!