Luxury Brands, Football and China
Last Saturday night in Beijing’s Birds Nest Olympic Stadium, AC Milan Football Club defeated FC Internazionale Milano (Inter) 2-1 to win the Italian Super Cup. The Italian Super Cup is an Italian soccer league preseason football match closely followed by Italian fans and often played in other countries. This was second time the Super Cup tournament was held in China (the first being in 2009).
With football possibly being the largest spectator sport in China, an international match held in China provides a massive PR and advertising opportunity for Italian and international companies. There was no shortage of big name sponsors involved in the event including Telecom Italia Mobile (TIM), Nike and Adidas. As both teams hail from Italy’s fashion capital Milan, it comes as no surprise that Milan based luxury brands Dolce & Gabbana and Versace were dress sponsors for AC Milan and Inter respectively. In the lead up to the match Dolce & Gabbana and Versace both held events inside their Beijing flagship stores attended by the football teams, swarms of media and adoring fans.
Versace’s celebrations began intimately as their VIP customers were allowed a private buying session of this year’s fall/winter collection. However, once Donatella Versace and the Inter team arrived everyone’s attention was directed to them and the shopping ceased abruptly. The evening then progressed into party mode as guests were treated to free flowing champagne and cocktails while DJs played late into the night to a super trendy Beijing crowd.
Dolce & Gabbana’s in store event was more low-key and focused on the launch of Milan Fashion Soccer Players Portraits, a book of the entire AC Milan team wearing Dolce & Gabbana’s clothes. Unlike the Versace event where the players were cordoned off, Dolce & Gabbana allowed fans to interact and get signatures from all of the players. Outside the store, adoring fans that had travelled to Beijing from all over Asia chanted AC Milan anthems and screamed when the players appeared.