Football marketing has a crucial place in the game, with UEFA's KISS Marketing Awards recognising associations' innovative, far-sighted ways of promoting the sport.
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Europe's national associations' acumen at promoting football has been recognised by UEFA's KISS Marketing Awards. The 2016 winners were announced at an awards ceremony which took place in Athens during the latest KISS Marketing Workshop.
Full list of award categories and winners:
Best Brand Activation
Winner: Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) – 'We Are Not 11, We Are 11 Million'
Creativity and Innovation award: Romanian Football Federation (FRF) – 'Matematica fotbalului' ('Football Maths')
Special mentions by the jury: Estonian Football Association (EJL) – 'Südame ja palliga' ('With the Heart and Ball')
Best Fan Engagement Campaign
Winner: Irish Football Association (IFA) – 'Dare to Dream'
Creativity and Innovation award: Football Association of Moldova (FMF) – 'Support National Team with Carla's Dreams'
Best Commercial Partnership
Winner: Polish Football Federation (PZPN) – 'PZPN Licensing Programme'
Creativity and Innovation award: Turkish Football Federation (TFF) – 'Swarovski Turkish National Team Jewellery Line'
Best Grassroots Marketing Campaign
Winner: Football Association of Finland (SPL-FBF) – 'Using FRM to Grow Participation’
Creativity and Innovation award: Bulgarian Football Union (BFU) – 'Grassroots – SIX-a-side'
Best Women's Football Marketing Campaign
Winner: English Football Association (FA) – 'A League Of Our Own'
Creativity and Innovation award: Israel Football Association (IFA) – 'UEFA Women's European Under-19 Championship'
"The attendees from almost 55 national associations witnessed the very finest in European marketing best practices through our awards event," said UEFA senior marketing manager Noel Mooney.
"With 85 applications, 2016 proved to be a record year, and has given UEFA a rich bank of marketing content to be shared for the good of European football."
"The KISS Marketing awards enabled us to see also how fast the marketing of national association football is improving, and we learned a huge amount from it," added Polish Football Federation (PZPN) general secretary Maciej Sawicki. "We were delighted to win the Best Commercial Partnership award, and it means the world to the Polish FA."
The marketing awards were organised for the first time in 2011, under the auspices of UEFA's Knowledge & Information Sharing Scenario (KISS) – in which Europe's national associations exchange expertise for the overall benefit of European football.
Marketing is a vital component in the promotion of modern-day football, and is an essential component in strengthening the identity of national teams and clubs.
The KISS programme is also an invaluable source for associations to exchange, learn and propose new marketing ideas and initiatives for now and the future – with football's well-being always in mind.
The awards cover activities in a variety of relevant areas – these include brand building, sponsorship, digital marketing, fan engagement, football promotion, marketing research, merchandising and licensing.
A total of 85 projects were submitted by 35 national associations, and the jury comprised Adrian Goldthorpe (Managing Partner, Lothar Böhm Associates Ltd.); Sam Kelly/James Annis (Managing Director/Business Development Manager, AKQA); Mark Kirkham (Head of Marketing & Innovation, PepsiCo Western Europe Beverages); Tony Meenaghan (Professor of Marketing, University College Dublin) and Bianca Rech (Team management sports – women's football).