Sports Merchandising Remains an Attractive Market
When the NFL football season begins, we get a good look at a well oiled marketing and merchandising machine that is good at making money. All hype aside, their process and packaging of their core product is what it’s all about.
Major league sports enterprises such as the NFL, MLB and NHL have a lot to show us about retail merchandising and packaging. There’s a certain magic and expectation tied to pro sports merchandise.
NFL – Aggressive Promotion Works
The NFL alone earns $3 billion per year on the merchandising of everything from action figures and jerseys to footballs and auto accessories. Sometimes manufacturers just slap a logo on a package and pay the NFL licensing revenue.
The NFL maximizes their revenue stream from ticket sales, stadium venue rental/merchandising, TV broadcasting, logo and trademark licensing, and advertising. Collectively, that’s an $8 billion a year revenue powerhouse. Each source seems to strengthen their overall brand power and income stream. A well-orchestrated marketing-based machine.
As you’re shopping for Xmas gifts, you’ll come across plenty of merchandise with NFL logos on it. Some of the more popular items include team jerseys, fan costume wear, kid’s football uniforms, helmets, and footballs.
If you’re a manufacturer, you could consider licensing the NFL logo on your product too. The benefits include a greater appeal to distributors and retailers and access to a well-defined sports consumer segment. Sometimes, even the non-sports fan will buy these products simply because they recognize the logos.
Football Display Packaging
Individual teams also license their products and you’ll find consumers around the world will buy merchandise with Dallas Cowboys or New England Patriots images on them. These brands carry a lot of weight.
The Wilson NFL football pictured above is nicely packaged, yet it appears to rely heavily on logos alone to draw a sale. The football itself is a very attractively designed product. Any football player would love to have this football. It’s bold, visual, tactile, and although the white laces stand out in a way that makes it harder to hold and throw, it acts as a visual focus that entices the consumer.
This example of window packaging reveals the importance of displaying the product boldly. The corrugated paperboard packaging is a convenient way of displaying the football too. It’s lightweight, printable, keeps the football in the ideal position, and even beckons the shopper to touch the football.
It’s caught your attention and engaged you, but has it built desire and convinced you to buy it?
Interruption and Engagement
I had to pluck this particular item out from a deep, lower shelf. It wasn’t standing out to get my attention, didn’t disrupt and raise my impulse to buy, and all the packaging did was to present the ball.
There were other footballs available but this Wilson football was the best product. The selection and product quality was underwhelming. I did buy it, but this particular box’s packaging leaves a lot to be desired. And the other brand’s sports balls on the shelves seemed to lack attractiveness.
During the fall football season, when demand is high, a POP display could seriously jump sales up. Why Wilson goes with such passive marketing is unknown. They would be wise to research the power of sweepstakes and contests to strengthen brand value. And combine that with a major POP display campaign.
Compare the Wilson packaging to the Rawlings packaging below:
No NFL logo here, but the invigorating colour, header graphics, Rawlings logo on top, and shape of the cardboard container is more captivating. The football itself is very attractive similar to the Wilson football. Again, the main benefit being sold is the gripability of the ball itself.
This packaging of a Canadian football below doesn’t quite get my vote. What’s needed is more shape and imagination in the packaging and playing up the fun aspect of football. Canadian footballs are very large and difficult to hold. The packaging needs to make the ball look smaller and compensate for that limitation.
Here’s a package with some exciting possibilities for footballs using an open window design that allows a full view of the soccer ball. I find the faded black to blue colour on the box to be a little disorienting. It is a good sustainable packaging solution as well.
There’s plenty of ways to use display packaging to boost your revenue and get a jump on the competition. Your packaging may be more important than any other aspect of your product marketing. Take our POP packaging survey and see our 9 rules of exceptional packaging design to get you started on the road to powerful retail marketing.
How is your 2014 Xmas sales looking? Here’s to making your product fly off the floor and shelves.