Saxo Bank’s Low Key 2011 Tour De France Activation

How did Saxo Bank, title sponsor of Alberto Contador’s pro cycling team, activate around their three-time Tour de France winner in the 2011 race?


Fairly quietly – at least compared to last year.


Perhaps that’s not surprising considering that Contador is under investigation for a failed drug test – something which has caused deep controversy in a sport that has seen several sponsors pull out of the event in recent years because of drugs scandals.


Indeed, Saxo Bank’s advertising around and during this year’s Tour was more focused on a new product launch than on Contador. Despite featuring a cycling action image of the star rider, the new trading product ‘Forex Binary Touch Options’ was the core focus of the summer’s campaign.


A print and online campaign drove trialling of the new product through QR scanner codes leading to a mobile demo trial of the tool and also used web addresses and phone numbers to drive viewers to test, trial and find out more about the new product.


The campaign used the tagline ‘For those who don’t lose their touch’ – which certainly hinted at brand support for defending champion Contador.


Another tactic used in the campaign to bolster the brand’s credentials and standing was the use of award accreditation citing – with logos of 6 Euromoney 2011 FX Awards carried on copy throughout the campaign.


The financial brand also focused on hospitality for its sponsorship activation in 2011.


Activity seemed scaled back from the 2010 Tour. Last year the bank provided exclusive online coverage on its website at www.saxobanktakingthelead.com, which included behind-the-scenes looks at Team Saxo Bank’s tactics, training and bikes.


In addition to the website, Saxo Bank knit the community of cycling enthusiasts and Saxo Bank fans together with real-time race updates and the latest Tour de France developments directly on their computer or mobile phones via Twitter and other social media activities.


The bank also organised on-site events that let fans and clients experience the race closer than ever before. In Rotterdam, Bruxelles, Avoriaz and Paris, guests were given a chance to watch the race as VIPs, meet the riders for autographs and photos and see the mechanics working on the bikes.


This 2010 campaign certainly racked up some good results with searches for the Saxo Bank brand on Google doubling over the course of the race. Unique visits to the saxobanktakingthelead.com site increased 459.79% during the Tour and the Saxobank Twitter feed received a record number of new 4,678 followers.




Saxo bank’s objective behind sponsoring Riis’ pro cycling team was to use the sport to build international brand recognition and reach clients around the globe through cycling and the Tour de France’s international reach.


Indeed, Saxo Bank stated that the team expresses the same kind of values and attitudes that Saxo Bank identifies with – endurance, passion, winning and team work is what Saxo Bank has been about from the outset.


Despite the cloud over Contador, Saxo Bank (and partner Sun-Gard) recently confirmed it is extending the team’s sponsorship into 2012 and that Saxo Bank will continue to support Bjarne Riis’ team even if Contador is suspended by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.


Indeed, the bank has announced that it will give team manager Riis more money to find more riders for the team.


Lars Seier Christensen, co-founder and co-CEO of Saxo Bank, said: ‘We are there regardless of whether Contador will be there or not. There is thus no risk that Bjarne will be in trouble if Contador is sanctioned. But let me also say that it is definitely not our expectation that we are going to lose Contador due to a conviction. It would be a great injustice from the information I have gathered about the situation.’







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