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”.
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.