Advertising with the Tour de France

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

The video above is an advert from Škoda, a car brand belonging to the Volkswagen group. Once infamous held up as examples of why the Soviet Union was doomed Škoda is a modern European manufacturing success story.

Škoda is a big, if not huge, backer of professional cycling with sponsorship of many races and they seem keen to market this. The ad is being used across Europe and it says “pro cycling is tough but our cars hold up well”.

Carrefour

Perhaps not the peak of advertising copy

By contrast I snapped an advertising hoarding featuring a billboard ad for Carrefour. This is a French supermarket group with operations around the world and it sponsors the King of the Mountains jersey. If the Škoda ad is clever and entertaining, the Carrefour ad looks like something cooked up in an hour, hopefully in house. It doesn’t really say anything about the company, just that it’s got a link the Tour de France. Maybe that’s all the supermarket wants, to stick to a cheap and simple message so it can hint that a visit to its shops is equally frugal?

Other companies sponsor the Tour de France. For example Nestlé has several brands present on the race, including Vittel as the “official water”. It uses cycling from time to time in ad campaigns. None of this should be a surprise, the Tour de France has been relentlessly commercial from the beginning, at first an exercise to sell newspapers and today a money-making event that exploits sport.

Pellos example

Art imitating life

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{ 18 comments }

Breakaway Artist July 6, 2011 at 11:53 pm

Hello, just a notice… I’m in Canada and can’t see the video… there’s only a black rectangle… no video. Not that i want to buy a Skoda but I’m curious…

Paul July 6, 2011 at 11:59 pm

Never wanted to own a Skoda.

Now I want to own a Skoda.

Michael July 7, 2011 at 12:37 am

as a Skoda owner I can finally hold my head up high!

cthulhu July 7, 2011 at 12:47 am

Well, Skoda started as bicycle manufacture, so there is that tradition.

And yes they made some really good cars lately. The parts are often the same as in VW’s or Seat’s so the real difference is the price and functionality and the extras. Since VW is the premium brand it is more expensive than the other two, the latest Octavia had to be downgraded a bit because it was too good, so good that it made the Passat look bad.

Also, last year’s campaign and the year before last year i believe too, they advertised with the same campaign. Sure they updated the spot, you can see the new OmegaPharma team and the new Rabobank kits but if you look closely the car in the rain with the mechanic is a Gerolsteiner car. ;)

cthulhu July 7, 2011 at 12:52 am

ah right and the slogan works even better in German
there it is “Qual” (==Torture) turns to “Qualität(==quality)

Rich July 7, 2011 at 1:04 am

As cthulhu says, the Skoda ad is a remake/re-edit of a longer version (90 secs) from about three years ago. You can see it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Scp5lo0TeIo

C Grade Cyclist July 7, 2011 at 6:35 am

Amazing the difference a great ad can make – that one will stick in the head for a long time… :)

The Inner Ring July 7, 2011 at 8:33 am

I was worried the video might be blocked in different countries. Try searching for “Skoda Tour de France” and see if you can get the film.

936ADL July 7, 2011 at 8:51 am

Love the Skoda ad, fantastically shot piece.

It almost makes you want to go out and buy one. Are the team decals a dealer fit option?

MT Dave July 7, 2011 at 1:38 pm

I need a massage, stat!

Roadie1 July 7, 2011 at 2:25 pm

Is that Vittel ad current? Only I’m struck by the rather risque doping joke/marketing line…

The comissaires need not trouble the soigneurs but bang up one of the chief sponsors!

The Inner Ring July 7, 2011 at 2:27 pm

Roadie1: the Vittel ad was filmed a few years ago but appears every summer. In fact I saw it about an hour ago.

MtDave July 7, 2011 at 4:27 pm

I don’t think Sidi is doing themselves any favors with that silly cooking commercial on ES.

Breakaway Artist July 7, 2011 at 8:56 pm

Thanks, there was a bug with youtube yesterday. Suddenly, I couldn’t see lots of youtube videos… only black rectangles.
Today, it’s seems OK (so far).
After finally seeing that video, I changed my mind: I might actually buy a Skoda!
(So, after all it seems the youtube bug was maybe a good thing… hmmm.)

Anon July 8, 2011 at 4:58 am

F!@# yes. Such raw footage – love it, love it, love it. It’s funny how 1st nation suburbia views cars as opposed to how they should truly be used… I hope your back seat is stained black from years of derailleur grease as mine is.. =D

PT July 8, 2011 at 6:22 am

If I didn’t love Saab (remember when the yellow MAVIC neutral service cars were Saab 93′s?) & Volvo so much, I’d probably buy a Skoda. Nice cars & great ad.

Gingerflash July 8, 2011 at 2:10 pm

Just thought I’d say that I too love the Skoda ad.

It shows both the cars and pro-cycling in a great light.

Skoda have been in cycling long enough for their sponsorship to have some solid credibility too.

Wilson July 9, 2011 at 12:25 pm

The worst TdF tie-in ad at the moment is for a company selling automobile parts online: “Retrouvez la passion du Tour de France avec… [insert name of website].” Uh… how, exactly?

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