It could be argued that the democratic foundation of South Africa has its roots lying in the social pastimes of rugby and soccer.
These sports connect with literally millions of South Africans and has achieved a deeply engraved emotional connection to the socio-cultural frameworks of the nation. The talent that is uncovered each season is well deserving of international recognition and contributes to the diversified offerings and strengthening nationalism of South Africa. At the helm of this industry, steering the ship of financial stability and ensuring the continuation of these highly prized national sports are the brands that sponsor the national and provincial teams.
These private investors help to ensure the survival of official rugby and soccer in SA. Indeed our national teams The Springboks and Bafana Bafana wouldn’t be the same were not for the branded partnerships of ABSA Nike and Castle. The two giant brands represent their collaborations on the uniforms of the two national teams, amplifying their presences in a pro-bono fashion. Everytime rugby and soccer in SA is broadcasted on television, makes headlines in local newspapers or features on a trending social media platform, the brands that facilitate these games gain instantaneous attention and become associated with the dynamics of the event. Huge monolithic billboarded are scattered feverishly throughout the stadiums where the games take place. In fact, it would be a challenge to watch a rugby or soccer match, live or with your friends at home, and not take an appreciated notice of the monolithic integrated branding - and this can be an exciting opportunity for creative fans!
Almost every element of these two sports are branded, even the instruments of play! unifying our national teams enable a feel of good sportsmanship and enhances team pride - a result of local and lekker brands backing up our boys all the way to the championship.
The South African media has incorporated these sponsorships into great advertising adaptations. Notably, the Supersport bouquet on DSTV has rolled out a good few campaigns and general TV ads to get the fans of these sports pumped up for the next biggest seasons of play.
When zoning in on the provincial teams of SA rugby and soccer, one will observe a similar smorgasbord of sponsorship. Like Times square in New York City, the entire pitch is filled with branding icons for Africa.
In provincial rugby, international logistics company DHL South Africa has been the official Stormers - and also the parental advisory committee WP rugby- sponsor for a few years. Infamous warriors of the Kwazulu-Natal rugby pitch Sharks have are represented by South African mobile leader Cell C and Gauteng based champions Lions have gained a worthy and prestigious partnership with top brand Emirates Airlines.
In the hyped up arena of local soccer, where diehard fans nationwide eagerly await the yearly PSL and where the atmosphere is amplified with the proudly South African sound of a thousand vuvuzelas, Johannesburg based team Orlando Pirates Football Club have telecommunications giant Vodacom backing up their image.
Capetonian squad Ajax have managed to impressively attract the likes of sporting goods brand Adidas - a great manoeuvre on both sides as Adidas can boast the official representation of Cape Town’s premier soccer team and Ajax can count on the brand for technical support.
Have a read on a few South African brands that made a successful impact on the greater African market here.
Contributed by Cameron Smith.