I love Le Tour. The speed, the colour, the vistas, the wit of the commentators… I love it all.
So much ambition, skill and determination, but I can’t help but notice that the marketing always seems to fall short of the effort the riders go to. Not in terms of spend and quantity – you can’t doubt the numbers of banners and totems and logos and shirts, but in terms of strategy and thinking.
Anyone who has followed just one of the over 50 days of televised cycling will have seen the caravan of colour sweeping across the landscape, the chest-beating warriors zipping up their jerseys as they fly over the final line.
But have you been moved to reach out and buy one of the brands that sponsor the teams? Have you been moved to install a Bora? Or maybe a Hansgröhe? Would you know what to do with either? Have you checked out a Grenadier? Do they expect us to dance the Quick-Step, or walk on it? Did you know that Mitchleton was to be drunk? That Jumbo was to be shopped within? And that Visma keeps your data safe? Should I be eating my Green-Edges?
Surely, any one of these brands could make such a leap forward in sales if they used this expensive badging to give at least some indication of the sector their brand lives within. Tell us that a Bora is a kitchen hob (rather than a Pacific island), that Hansgrohe is a showerhead. You never know it might make a difference next time I am buying one. All it would take is a little thought and some careful design to make this utterly clear – even as the rider flashes by – and at no extra cost to the sponsoring brand.
The big three races are almost over for this year, but next year perhaps the marketing people can push the pedal, sweat the asset and make the marketing work as hard as the hero riders. Don’t waste their effort.