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5 marketing insights to look for at the tour de france

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PaulaFindlay

The Tour de France is arguably one of the largest annual sporting event on the planet. Broadcasted in countries all around the world with its streets lined with millions of spectators, this three week stage race is a sponsor’s dream when it comes to activation. Below, we outlined some of the things to look for (other than your favorite rider!) as the peloton makes its way around France!

1- The Breakaway
The breakaway is the perfect opportunity for smaller team to give their sponsors substantial exposure.With stages lasting roughly 4-5h and the peloton waiting as long as possible to reel in the breakaway, the impressions generated by being on tv broadcasts and having announcers mentioning your company over and over is hard to rival with.

If you happen to catch a stage of the race, pay attention at the amount of coverage that the breakaway gets versus the peloton. Maybe see how many logos you can pick out in the peloton versus the breakaway. Being at the front of this gruelling race is hard for the riders, but showcasing their sponsors what ultimately pays for their salary.

2- Team EF Education
The American team is bringing a breath of fresh air to the European peloton. Through unique behind the scene footage that they upload frequently to their website, they are able to connect with their fanbase in a genuine and valuable way. EF’s branding is great, they are not constantly name dropping their sponsors’ names over and over, and they have Canadian Michael Woods on their squad, likely the only rider in the peloton who ever ran a sub-4 minute mile!  

3- The Roadside Crowd
This year’s race is 3,480km, which is roughly the distance between Calgary and Montreal. Despite that, for the vast majority of the race, spectators line the course day after day to cheer on their favorite riders. If you pay attention to the crowd as the motorbikes drive by, you’ll notice that more often than none, they are wearing Tour de France branded gear.

This isn’t because they went out to buy this merchandise prior to the stage. Tour de France official sponsors understood the unique opportunity that they had and figured a way to capitalize on it. Roughly 1h before the riders start, the caravan, a giant convoy of trucks and cars, drives the exact same course as the riders will be riding on and hand out promotional material to the fans lining the sides of the roads. By doing so, the Tour’s sponsors are effectively turning the crowd into giant billboards and are maximizing the amount of global exposure they are getting for the investment.

4- The Jerseys
There is an incredible amount of time that goes into designing each team’s jersey for the Tour. Not only do they have to look good but now they also have to represent their sponsors while being aerodynamic and keep the riders cool. Since dark colours absorb heat, most teams try to design jerseys using very light colours. Because every team can’t look the same, the UCI has to approve the process and will veto a jersey that is too similar to another one already approved.

What teams will often end up doing is using the colours of their main sponsors and develop their design around those. Logos can be hard to pick out when the broadcast is following the peloton with the overhead helicopter but colours are often much easier to pick out. The fact that the title sponsor’s colours are often used in the design of the jersey is once again another way in which a sponsor will be able to stretch its investment in a team.

5- The Overhead Shots
One more thing to keep an eye open for is the beautiful overhead shots taken from helicopters. Those camera angles are great to understand just how big the race is, often panning out from the first few riders in the peloton all the way to the broom wagon which follows all the team cars following the race. As the race makes its way to the finish line, it can often span over multiple kilometres of French country roads.

 

Since the route is announced months in advance, local merchants have developed various ways to benefit from free exposure while the eyes of the world are on their French village. Taking advantage of open fields or historic monuments, these local merchants will design oversized bicycles or spell out welcoming messages to try and generate tourism to their region.

The Tour is one of the most beautiful sporting event in the world but also one of the biggest annual billboard in the sporting world. Enjoy the race, but if the peloton is not overly motivated to chase the breakaway, keep an eye out for some of the things mentioned above! Vive le Tour!