We cannot categorically state that advertisers would completely ignore Hungarian footballers in their campaigns – in 2006, for example, Zoltán Gera, even as a West Brom player, played a role in Pepsi’s commercial film, later they tried to sell Rexona deodorant with the face of Balázs Dzsudzsák. , even three years ago, with the image of Ádám Bogdán, the brand new Pepsi Lime and Wild Cherry products were “pushed” on the Hungarian market, not to mention other small attempts – but we cannot say that Hungarian footballers would also flow from the tap. This is especially shocking after the national team was well placed at the European Summer Championships and Ferencváros made it to the Champions League or Europa League group for the third time in a row. While – a fresh experience – in Italy, it is almost up to Federal Captain Roberto Mancini in the advertising spot of TIM, Italy’s largest mobile operator.
I wonder why this is so? The answer to the question is with Dudás Hunor, the Hungarian Marketing Association Sports Marketing Department we were looking for.
Do you think that the Hungarian footballer, as an advertising medium, is in place?
Not at all! Let me go back in time a bit, to the years in Diósgyőr, around 2013, when I was the executive director of the club. We contacted the Borsod Beer Factory to support local football, as eighty percent of the people of Miskolc are connected to DVTK one way or another, but we received a negative response. For that, we started making our own beer, since we had to make money from somewhere, and what god is doing, people slammed down on our beer and started buying it. By this time, the factory managers had come to mind and came back with a serious offer, seeing how successful our own-brand beer was. But for that, we had to start production! But I mentioned this only as an introduction. Because they came initially with the idea that breweries do not sponsor football. No, I said, here is Lustenau in Austria. Yes, but it’s different, they said. For this, I mentioned Getafe and the name El Brillante on the players ’pants, which is a brewery. It is also different …
I have no idea, but they said we are too small a country, too small a market. And is Austria perhaps huge? Turns out it wasn’t in the background. It simply didn’t have a culture of promoting products to football players. Let’s see. An athlete – we are talking about a professional athlete – has three sources of income. First, it is specifically derived from your sports performance, that is, your salary. The second is the sale of image rights, ie the rights to his image, and the third is the interest on his investments, the first on the money earned from the two sources. There is an example of the latter in Hungary, for example, Ádám Szalai has a factory, Balázs Dzsudzsák travels in real estate, but to my knowledge Dominik Szoboszlai also. In Hungary, the general public is probably only interested in the first source of how much football earns, specifically with the game. At the international level, however, in many cases the player’s income is higher from the secondary and tertiary sources than from the primary.
As with Messi and Ronaldo. But what we have is that after the state really generously finances elite sports, potential sponsors say why we should pour even more money into the sport when there is anything to grind into milk anyway through the tao and specific state subsidies. Why pour water into the Danube ?!
There is logic in this, but strange logic. When we talk about sponsorship, part of that is patronage, when I give money, but I don’t expect anything in return for it, and there is specific sponsorship, when I give money on a market basis and expect consideration in return. This is actually a swap. We are trying to educate here, in the marketing department, that is, we need to look at how they do this in the West so that both parties prosper. Where there is a tradition, a culture. If you think about it, there is no more suitable advertising medium for an athlete. It is well-known, in most cases it is good-natured, good-looking, and an ideal role model through its performance. We have a lot of internationally known athletes – Kristóf Milák, Áron Szilágyi, Dominik Szoboszlai, Péter Gulácsi, Balázs Baji, Illni Fanni and many others – for whom we could not find a better role model and, as a result, an advertising medium. This would be worth taking advantage of. By the way, when I talk about education, it’s aimed not only at the advertising companies, but at the athletes as well. Because it doesn’t matter how the athlete chosen as the advertising medium behaves, how willing, how communicative, how much he uses the social media interfaces. for it may also be that, in spite of his world-renowning achievements, he is unfit for this role, for he is so aloof, withdrawn, perhaps eccentric. If you want to go out into the market, you want to be a brand carrier, then it also requires a kind of behavior. I don’t want to name anyone by name, but even among our Olympic champions, there are those who aren’t exactly the ideal advertising brand – and not because they don’t look good.
However, some have already started their careers as advertising media, such as Milák and Illés Fanni in the campaign film of Szerencsejáték Zrt.
Coincidentally, they were both clients of our business, The Path, and Kristóf just because our paths are parting. Yes, there are already good examples, thank God. When athletes come to us with the intention of signing a contract, we find that there are as many athletes as there are types. There are those whose personalities are opposed to this kind of extroverted behavior, there is nothing wrong with that, we accept that. We’re not the same. The problem occurs when the athlete says I want to sponsor, but in return I don’t give anything. This is when conflict usually develops, and we want to remedy this with our educational activities. Because you like it, you don’t like it, in today’s world you have to use social media, you have to serve the fans. You have to show your own self. As Long Katinka, for example, does in an exemplary manner, practically living her life in front of the general public, she also has half a million followers, which is a huge force.
It makes sense, as fans don’t want to identify with a pulp figure, but with a flesh-and-blood person who may also have trouble living a non-sterile life.
Yes. Remember Jerry Maguire?
Of course, with Tom Cruise.
Well, that’s the iconic phrase, “Flourish your horse!”
The trouble is, we also come to athletes who start by flourishing their horse, but that’s the wrong order, there’s a logical loophole here.
First they have to put something on the table, and now I don’t even think exclusively about sports performance, and only then can your horse flourish. A brand has to be built first and only then can the sponsor be persuaded to flourish.
Why are football players not among the Hungarian advertising media?
There are very few, there is a collaboration between Ferencváros and Telekom, but the faces of some players do not jump in now. And, for example, Marco Rossi would have been ideal for this role in the summer, surging the wave of popularity of the European Championships, but not … . Now let’s get rid of the last three World Cup qualifiers. Just as Mancini was picked up in Italy, Rossi could have been picked up by advertisers in Hungary. As I see it, there are more problems with footballers here, at least with us. On the one hand, people say you already have a lot of money anyway, why earn even more with ads. On the other hand, many of them are sharing personalities, now again I don’t want to say names.
And the worst part is that with its many decades of hard work, the media has created the image of the Hungarian footballer as a testicle, a freebie, an overpaid star who just parasites on the body of society and puts nothing on the table. perhaps in the wake of the last two Eb appearances and Fradi’s group performance, this perception is changing.
That’s right! Look, I often go to Dunaszerdahely, to the DAC 1904 team, lately, because János Hahn, who has signed there, is also our client.
Unfortunately, I don’t experience the almost touching football worship here at home, which is almost overwhelming there in Csallóköz, maybe only in the Groupama Arena, not elsewhere.
I think it will be a long time before football becomes a popular sport in Hungary. This is a laborious process. The media, but football itself, has a role to play in this. Our department works on this to bring together and educate the players in the puzzle, the athlete, the sponsor, the media and the audience. we have an initiative called the Sportmarketing Awards, which we have been handing out for two years, the first two times it was awarded to Long Katinka as the most valuable athlete and Ferencváros the most valuable team. THE The best sponsorship solution was the cooperation of Szerencsejáték Zrt. and Kristóf Milák.
Is it possible to build a brand without real performance?
It can be very rare, but not typical. Many people think that if there is performance, then there is branding as well. But this is not true. It is not automatic that the product is already sufficient for brand building.
I always use Dennis Rodman as an example.
It was a dog bat compared to Michael Jordan, though the fact is that no one took the rebounds like the Worm. And yet his individuality has become a fantastic advertising medium, through his suggestiveness that something has always happened around him, not necessarily positive things, but the press has constantly written about him.
I can attest to this myself, I was there in Chicago between 1996 and 1998 for the Bulls ’last three league finals, and in Windy City, Rodman featured more on the billboards than Jordan or Pippen.
Well, right! The importance of personality! Of course, this also required him to take down twenty rebounds per match, meaning he would have been unsaleable without a product. But personal charm is crucial. That’s why we look at the athlete, but also his sport, to see if it’s marketable. Is it possible to carve a hero out of that person?
It seems that until our football reaches at least the bottom of the European lead, it will be difficult to carve heroes out of our footballers.
Unfortunately, this is true. Dominik Szoboszlai potentially has the hero. But it’s not there yet. If we want to carve a hero out of someone, that person has to let those interested into his or her privacy, allow him or her to get to know him or her.
That’s why Elijah Fanni is so successful, and not just at the Paralympics, because he’s an outspoken, outspoken individual who knows no taboo subject.
Marketable athlete. People are interested in exciting individual destinies. We need to find the narrative to which the athlete’s life story can be attached. We need to make an influenza out of a successful athlete. Rather than being real influencers, twenty-four hours a day are exemplary professional influenzaers. About whom I have a very bad opinion. However, the flu has an unimportant advantage over sports heroes. They’re full-time fluers, they have time for everything. However, the athlete must go to training because otherwise there will be no results. This is where we come in: we need to build the image of sports heroes.
Do you see a chance that in a year or two a Hungarian footballer would become such an advertising medium here as in, say, Mancini in Italy?
Not really in a year or two. To do that, a process must begin. we need success first. Namely, international successes that can only be achieved on the international stage.
We should have more Gulácsi, more Szoboszlai, more Willi Orbán. Of whom they could be role models at home.
Look, I came to Hungary in 1989 from Szeklerland, Covasna county. Steaua won BEK in 1986, I personally experienced the madness in which the Hungarians of the team, coach Imre Jenei and László Bölöni, became heroes, moreover, in Romania, where a Hungarian could only be a hero in the rarest of cases. A similar success today would boost football marketing in our country in an incredible way.
Their bullies were tangible, heroes living close to the body, not like Messi or Ronaldo these days, right?
But sure! That is why he could be a Hungarian hero from Gulácsi or Szoboszlai, because they are the puppies of our dog, the Hungarian guy can believe that he could also be Szoboszlai from him if he puts himself there. But that requires our football players to be on the big stage of world football.
(Cover image: Hunor Dudás Photo: Dorina Ruzsovics / Index)