Just a few weeks before kick-off, German companies are launching Euro 2004-related deals designed to lure customers into spending some cash in the name of the beautiful game.
Every German goal could get you 11 extra minutes of free shopping
For every goal German midfielder Michael Ballack and co. score, Mastercard will award 11 minutes of unlimited shopping to the lucky fan who guesses how many the team ends up with at the end of the game.
Of course, given Germany's problems on offense, this deal could work out better for the credit card company than the customer. Might not France, or Holland, be a better choice?
"You're of course not entirely wrong," a spokeswoman told DW-WORLD. "But I don't think that would be very popular among our German customers."
So far, more than 50,000 customers have sent Mastercard their guess-stimations. And Mastercard expects many more before the Euro 2004 kicks off in Portugal on June 12, 2004. The company is one of many in Germany and the rest of Europe tapping into football fever in the weeks leading up to the 16-team, three-week long tournament.
Riding football coattails to profit
Whether it's pizza restaurants offering the right pie to go with each game, or a department store offering football-related deals, European companies are jumping at the opportunity to link themselves to the beautiful game.
Shop, don't celebrate!
Germany's Postbank, which is mulling an IPO on the German Stock Exchange, has offered clients a CD where the interest rates are directly tied to the German national team's success. The customer puts away a minimum of €2,500 ($3,050) with a basic interest rate of 1.3 percent. If the team wins the tournament, the bank will increase the interest rate by 150 percent, to 3.25 percent. If the team comes in second, the rate will be increased 75 percent, and so on.
"It's a logical step in our partnership with German Football Association," says a Postbank spokeswoman. "We always want to try and think of something creative and new."
Partnering up with the German team has been a smart way for many companies to gain and hold access to a important consumer group. Kaufhof department stores are offering everything from Germany flags, to team teddy bears in a special EM 'fan shop." The customers, says a spokesman, have come to expect such offers from Kaufhof, and "it supports our customer base."
At a time when Germans are tightening their purse strings, retailers hope linking themselves to the national football team, runners up in the 2002 World Cup, will spread optimism among consumers. That's why, it seems, most campaigns link rewards for each German goal, or win.