OK, so it’s hardly news that Nalbandian swiped out in rage at Queen’s Club and injured a line judge. The result of which was forfeiting the match, losing the championship and being branded, at best a toddler who threw his toys out of the pram – and at worst – totally unhinged.
But to me, it’s more than a question of unsportsmanly conduct it’s branding gone mad.
Of course he shouldn’t have lost his rag and lashed out at that poor defenceless Nike swoosh that was innocently propped up against the line judge’s chair. But really, was there any need for it to be there, or was it a brand too far?
Obviously the advertising revenue is essential and the opportunities for brand and product placement endless. But there have to be more creative and intelligent ways of getting your brand noticed than plastering it on every available square inch of a court.
And let’s face it, Queen’s was done up to the nine’s with Moet and Nike, everywhere. They just about stopped themselves from painting logos on the centre of the court.
Take for example Nadal’s trainers at the French Open with the number six stitched on the heel, above the logo, with the brand knowing all too well that the cameras would zoom in on it, or Federer’s tailored blazer with subtle brand presence, which is hotly debated at every outing it gets.
Clever branding techniques deployed by imaginative and creative teams who have thought beyond the blatantly obvious have far more leverage and remain in the consumers’ conscious for much longer. And of course, they create opportunities for editorial column inches rather than relying solely on paid-for advertising space.
In fact, Nike should be thanking Nalbandian for his hissy fit. Without it no one would ever have remembered what brand was wrapped around the line judge’s feet! Perhaps that’s the answer, pay for basic branding space, and lie in wait for an irate sportsman to bash it about a bit.
Actually, come to think of it, didn’t Djokovic do that at the French Open the week before…….I spot a pattern.
Perhaps we should all be glued to Wimbledon, waiting for a player to volley a Robinson’s Barley Water across Centre Court. Now, that wouldn’t be totally unimaginable.