Chris Reed
Mar 5, 2012

Are Camper sailing in choppy waters with new brand partnership?

The Camper shoes sponsorship of the Emirates Team New Zealand boat in the Volvo Ocean Race is a mixture of positives and negatives.Camper are a Spanish premium shoe that are some of the most ...

Are Camper sailing in choppy waters with new brand partnership?

The Camper shoes sponsorship of the Emirates Team New Zealand boat in the Volvo Ocean Race is a mixture of positives and negatives.

Camper are a Spanish premium shoe that are some of the most comfortable in the world. They are cool and fashionable and appeal to youthful affluent target audience who like the quirky branding, shoe design and marketing. Their marketing stands out from the crowd by appealing to this market with a distinctly quirky and very well designed product that appeals to fashionable individuals.

The Volvo Ocean Race 2011/2012 covers more than 39,000 miles around the world in a nine-leg race and is on now. Traditionally appealing to older affluent more snobby consumers it's an odd association for Camper to align themselves with. It appears to be a contradiction with their usual tightly focused marketing.

The key to the sponsorship is the shoes that the Camper shoes are needed by the sailors and the positive image that this communicates to the potential customers. Camper have produced a great range of waterproof, non-slip shoes that any sailor or non-sailor could wear. They have also created a range of protective clothing that could be worn by both sailors and non sailors.

Sailing's premier event, once called the America's Cup,  does share many of the same values as Camper. Design, premium performance, technology and teamwork which are key contributors to the success of this 'great little shoe company'  as they call themselves.

Camper is no stranger to doing things differently from their peers and over the past 25 years the company has made a name for itself

by doing just that -- from collaborations with some of the world's most influential designers, like Mark Farrow, Shigeru Ban, Bernhard Wilhelm and Javier Mariscal, to opening hotels in Berlin and Barcelona, which embody the Camper brand values.

The only criticism of this partnership is that they don’t appear to have told any of their retailers and licensor retailers about the partnership and how they could actually go about exploiting the sponsorship.

There is no POS in any of the Singaporean stores for example. There is a though great, fully comprehensive addition to their website:

http://www.camper.com/en/volvo-ocean-race

However they haven’t promoted it very well and worse than that they are not even selling the Ocean Race shoes in Singapore stores for example. Bizarre having developed them and with the race coming through Asia. This appears to be a wasted opportunity to extend the customer reach and capitalize on the partnership.

This could be a global activation problem as the race association only has 6,000 likes on their specially designed facebook site. A minuscule global number. Maybe the race appeals more to the owner's passions that being a positive selling point to consumers?

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