The Tour de France is a branding Tour de Force (Part One)

The Tour de France is a branding Tour de Force (Part One)

I recently made the pilgrimage to Southwest France to follow the Tour de France. As a keen fan for several years now, I appreciated the Tour de France as the world’s most famous multi-day bike race and the most fervently supported and anticipated sporting event in France. But now that I have experienced it firsthand, I have an even greater respect for le Tour. It is much more than a bike race. It is a three week marketing and branding Tour de Force. What initially struck me was the brand of Tour de France. This is a 100+ year old brand that is deeply embraced by the French and recognized around the world. It represents France and all that is French. For three weeks every July television viewers around the world take a virtual tour through mountain ranges, towns and monuments all over France and are introduced to French culture, brands and people. And with 22 teams of 9 riders each sporting shirts and shorts covered in logos, this is a 21-stage race between 198 walking (or riding) billboards and endless chances for marketable moments for sponsors. My adventure included 7 race stages, 900km of driving through umpteen charming French towns, 400km of cycling including four grueling mountain summits and exhilarating (more like terrifying) descents, 20 plus hours shivering or sweltering on the side lines and several bottles of shared wine with fellow spectators. In addition to firmer thighs, a hoarse voice from screaming “allez, allez” and some incredible memories, I’ve returned with a camera full of great shots of the riders whizzing by in their sponsor-laden jersey’s and...
Page 3 of 3123