Continental seeks image boost with World Cup sponsorship

Hanover, Germany. More than a year before the start of the soccer World Cup finals in Germany, supplier Continental is intensifying its advertising and marketing activities around the tournament.

The supplier is one of 15 official partners of the tournament, to be held in June 2006. Experts estimate that these main sponsors have to pay about $40 million each to FIFA, the competition's organizers.

"We will not comment on the amount spent," said Lars Fahrenbach, Continental's marketing chief. "We are convinced that the money is well invested."

Continental's slogan for the tournament is: "Do it with German engineering."

The supplier has created a TV advertisement based around a pair of goalkeeper's gloves. The gloves have an inside surface resembling that of car tires, giving them the right grip.

The ad will be shown on German TV stations including ARD, DSF and ZDF.

On the Internet, Continental is offering computer-animated soccer games. In soccer-fan and car magazines the company uses a fantasy sports stadium in the shape of a Continental tire as its main theme.

"Analyses of our previous involvement in (soccer) sponsoring, such as for example in the Champions League, show that our brand's degree of familiarity has increased significantly," said Fahrenbach.