UK Sponsorship Awards 2019: Category Updates. Early Bird Deadline Just Six Weeks Way - December 21st

FIRST DEADLINE: DECEMBER 21 2018
FINAL DEADLINE: JANUARY 22ND 2019
GALA DINNER: MARCH 26 2019

The early bird deadline for the 2019 edition of the UK Sponsorship Awards (UKSA) is just six weeks away. The 25th Anniversary edition of the Awards retains many of its popular categories (arts, sport, consultancy, etc.), but has also introduced a range of innovations and enhancements to reflect the dynamic nature of the market.

Among these is the expansion of the Best Use of Celebrity Endorsement category to include Social Media Influencers. With more and more talent establishing successful careers on digital platforms, a growing number of brands are activating sponsorship strategies through this medium, or signing up influencers to work with them at events or through traditional media channels. So this category will pit the new talent against the array of sports, music, film and TV that typically feature in brand sponsorship campaigns.

Among the renamed categories, Social Purpose Sponsorship replaces Charity and Community Engagement Sponsorship. The new title better reflects the language of the market, though entries must still show evidence of how both sponsor and sponsored entity benefited.

This category is taking on greater importance than ever as Gen Z (born approximately between 1995 and 2010) enters the workplace. In the US, a recent report from MNI Targeted Media estimated that Gen Z will account for 40% of all consumers by 2020 (in the US) and that they will influence around US$4 billion in discretionary spending. Most significantly, says MNI: “They are a generation driven by values, with 68% saying that “doing their part to make the world a better place is important to them, and this impacts their buying behaviour.”

With the #metoo movement currently transforming the way society thinks about gender equality and the treatment of women, one of this year’s most significant categories will be Best Sponsorship of Women’s Activities. This category, partnered by Women in Sport, rewards brands, associations and agencies for the work they do around women’s projects. This could be anything from opening up access to sport for young girls through to arts and education sponsorship programmes that deliver against equality objectives. Entries in this category do not need to be stand-alone sponsorships, but can be a line of activation within a large sponsorship strategy.

Like last year, there is an extensive array of media-based categories to support the long-standing TV Sponsorship and Branded Content categories. These include Best Use of Social Media, which rewards sponsorships that are activated across channels such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest; and Best Online Sponsorship or Owned Media Activation, which reward sponsorships that originate on digital publishing platforms or are activated via a brand’s own platforms (eg company websites). Other categories in this area include Best Use of Mobile, Best Use of Print, Radio and Film, and the recently-launched Gaming category.

Already announced for 2019 are two Football Sponsorship categories and the new Spotlight Award, which this year focuses on Technology, Media & Telecom (TMT) sponsors. In addition, the 25th Anniversary event will include a one-off ‘Silver Award’. Designed to celebrate 25 Years of excellence and effectiveness in sponsorship, partnership & activation, it will be awarded to one outstanding brand and is free to enter.

UKSA organiser Rosemary Sarginson said: “This has been a fascinating year for the sponsorship industry as brands seek to navigate their way through a wide array of challenges ranging from technological disruption to Brexit to #metoo – all whilst trying to tap into the zeitgeist of Gen Z and millennial thinking. Our categories are designed to try and tell the story of the industry, while celebrating the hard work and creativity that goes into a great campaign.”

While the early bird deadline (December 21 2018) is UKSA’s first call to action and offers a discounted rate, there is still plenty of time in the New Year to enter the Awards. The final deadline is January 22, 2019 and the Awards Gala Dinner itself is on March 26 at the London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square.

 

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