Consistently Activating Brand Assets: Nivea Men x Liverpool FC

Post by David Nichols, Group Managing Partner and Global Head of Invention

I saw today that Nivea Northern Europe’s marketing Director, Andrew Rawle, has been selected as one of the ‘Top 100 Effective Marketers’ by Marketing Week (1).  His winning strategy?  Consistency.“When something works so well, the best thing to do is to keep doing it,” Andrew says in the article. In particular, he highlighted the long-term sponsorship with Liverpool FC.

Below we explore why I think this is such effective marketing activation. 


Nivea Men’s partnership with the football club is now in its 8th year. It is refreshing to see a brand harnessing the power of ‘fresh consistency’, given that many companies tend to ditch brand assets in the search for novelty. Consistent support over time allows a brand asset such a sponsorship to become part of the brand’s distinctive memory structure. Coming up with new and interesting ways to activate the sponsorship keeps it fresh.

2. Taps into a RELEVANT passion point

Football is the no.1 passion for so many men across the UK.  This much every marketing director knows.  Many brands sponsor major football clubs, so it is a highly competitive and crowded space.  Nivea have decided to ‘fish where the fish are’ in partnering with a Premier League team, accepting the challenge that they need to make their activation distinctive.

3. Bring to life the BRAND positioning

When it comes to sponsorship, many brands simply resort to ‘logo slapping’. Here, the brand is merely added to the end-frame of a film or stuck at the bottom of a poster; that’s where the connection stops. In the case of Nivea Men, there is a clear link between the activation and the brand’s positioning, which is along the lines of helping men look and feel on top of their game, no matter how intense day-to-day life may get. Footballers need to perform and help their team win. But many of them like to do this in style, by looking good during and after the match! And this is where Nivea Men has a key role to play.

4. Link to USAGE occasions

This is where many brand activations fall down. There may be a link to a passion point but not to product usage occasions.

Nivea Men show how to build the brand and sell more stuff. The brand amplifies the Liverpool FC sponsorship by telling product stories starring the players. The latest film for the new body shaving range shows Joe Gomez having a painful body shaving experience in the shower after a match. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain then uses Nivea for Men’s Anti-Irritation Body Shaving Stick to get much better performance (below). The humorous film cleverly uses football terms to describe the product in action: “Control, precision, defence”.

We use the term ‘brand integration’ to describe this form of sponsorship activation, where the brand and product are deeply embedded. Another example is the Nivea for Men Sensitive range. This time the humorous film showed how the product helped players look and feel good before running out on the pitch (below).

On the social mission side, the ‘Dear Liverpool’ activation rewards LFC fans who’ve done amazingly kind and selfless things by offering a meet and greet with their football idols.


This brand partnership makes strategic and business sense, rather than just being a ‘cool and available’ sponsorship deal.  It hits the holy grail of driving three key metrics at the same time: brand awareness linked to a passion point (via the huge Premier League fanbase), positioning the brand (via the link to peak performance) and driving sales (via a direct link to the product usage occasion).  If you can achieve this with your brand activations – you too could be up for ‘Most Effective Marketer of the Year’! 


  1. Top 100 Most Effective