Chris Reed
Sep 23, 2014

Is there a brand strategy behind Brand Beckham?

In September’s edition of GQ there are no fewer than three adverts featuring David Beckham. I can remember none of the brands. Two were clothing, one perfume. But I do remember Brand Beckham.

Is there a brand strategy behind Brand Beckham?

Beckham, and his very savvy wife, have performed an amazing marketing exercise in creating such an aspirational holistic Beckham brand. They have ensured that brands from every sector wish to be associated with them.

Well actually him. He outshines his wife in the association and financial stakes by some way. But don’t rule her out and the clever advisors behind the scenes as having a great understanding of marketing and the power of the personality brand on the public of today.

However I think there is also the risk of overexposure for the Beckham brand at the expense of all the brands they endorse. The effect of this is that consumers remember none of the brands that Beckham is endorsing and just remember him.

That is of course great news for David Beckham and with every increase in exposure it no doubt helps persuade other brands to pay ever increasing amounts of money to be associated with him. I have to question the value that they are receiving though.

Three adverts in GQ all featuring Beckham looking suitably moody and the brands he is promoting just get lost. Repetition of one brand (i.e. the Beckham brand) over single adverts for the others is bound to promote him and not them. What value are the brands themselves getting out of this relationship?

I am not sure that there is even a strategy as to what kind of brands Beckham goes for. Diageo recently announced that they were recruiting Beckham to be their Haig Club Whiskey brand. Strangely they are using Beckham to emphasise their heritage of the product and its premium-ness.

I would never have associated heritage and history with Beckham so to me it’s an odd choice. Clearly Diageo have done their research and he’s an aspirational icon to the target audience who are presumably much younger than other whiskey brands. More Johnnie Walker and F1 than Famous Grouse and Teachers.

The brands Beckham is associated with are eclectic to the say the least. As well as Diageo he has or is working for Pepsi, Police Sunglasses, Sainsbury’s, Young’s frozen fish, H&M, Armani, Belstaff, Adidas, Brietling for Bentley, Burger King, Walt Disney, Diet Coke, Samsung the list goes on plus there are his own brands of perfume, games and a clothes line coming soon.

From David Beckham’s point of view, why would you turn down the millions being offered if brands are daft enough to think that they will get cut through where many others have previously failed? It is more likely that any associated brand will have gained a short term spike with the launch PR.

However there is little chance of any long term brand building but many brand owners will gladly hitch a ride to the Beckham brand building machine for that short term hit. Ironically all these brand Beckham associations may leave them all behind but keeps building brand Beckham to greater heights.


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