In Memory of Toby Hester (1962-2019)

It is with great sadness that the UK Sponsorship Awards team has learned of Toby Hester’s untimely death. Aged just 57, Toby was a popular figure in the sponsorship industry known for his exuberance, keen intelligence and commitment to advancing the sector.

Following senior positions at Castrol and T-Mobile, Toby was most recently founder and CEO of coaching and mentoring service Sponsorship Coach. A Board Director of the European Sponsorship Association, he was also a long-serving member of the UKSA judging team – providing shrewd and considered insights year after year.

A friend to many in the industry, Toby is survived by his wife Alyona and young daughter Annabelle. There will be a Celebration of Toby’s life on Friday 20th September 2019 at Bisham Abbey. Anyone who would like to attend can find details here on the ESA website.

UK Sponsorship Awards (UKSA) Unveils World Cup Sponsorship Category For 2020 Edition Of Event

The organisers of the UK Sponsorship Awards (UKSA) are delighted to announce a one-off World Cup Sponsorship category for the 2020 edition of the event. Alongside all of the usual categories, the 'Best World Cup Sponsorship' category will celebrate campaigns connected to any World Cup played within the qualifying period.

High-profile events to have taken place this year include the Cricket World Cup, the Rugby World Cup (pending) and a breakthrough edition of the FIFA Women’s Football World Cup. However, any other sponsorship created around a sporting World Cup is eligible.

UKSA organiser Rosemary Sarginson said: “World Cup sponsorships are very complex – requiring lengthy pre-event preparation followed by an enormous burst of activity during the event itself. With on-field and off-field events both providing an air of unpredictability, such sponsorships demand commercial bravery and agility. In such a busy year of World Cups, the UKSA team felt that now was the perfect time to shine a spotlight on this dynamic area of sponsorship.”

To win this category, entries will need to meet all the usual criteria – clear objectives, creative executions and strong campaign results. Judges will pay special attention to the reasons why this mode of sponsorship made sense, and how the brand in question took advantage of the unique attributes associated with World Cups.



Evian Wimbledon Campaign Wins Sponsorship of the Year Trophy at the 25th UK Sponsorship Awards -  Silver Award goes to The O2

Evian’s Wimbledon 2018 campaign, entered by Wavemaker, was revealed as Sponsorship of the Year at the 25th UK Sponsorship Awards, hosted by BBC royal correspondent Jonny Dymond at the London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square on Tuesday, March 26, 2018. The campaign also picked up three other awards in the Sport, Brand and Branded Content categories.

Also celebrating was M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment, named as the Large Agency of the Year. Continuing a successful night, The Medium to Boutique Agency category was clinched by Wavemaker, while the agency innovation prize went to Bright Partnerships – its second agency category win.

Other winners on the night included The O2, which won The Silver Award, a one-off accolade to celebrate the best sponsorship of the last 25 years. The ‘Champions of Sponsorship’ for 2019 were Octagon’s Phil Carling, AEG Europe’s Paul Samuels and diversity campaigner Polly Shute.

Commenting on the event, UK Sponsorship Awards organiser Rosemary Sarginson said: “The last year has been a challenging one for businesses, with uncertainty surrounding Brexit and continued media and technological disruption.  Yet again, however, our winners and finalists showed that the sponsorship industry has been able to raise its game. Through a combination of innovation, creativity and sheer hard work, they drive economic value while also supporting sports and cultural institutions and offering life-changing experiences. Congratulations to every single participant.”

As in previous years, the line-up of winners showcased how sponsorship can be an effective marketing platform for businesses across a variety of sectors. They ranged from retailer Aldi and travel firm Thomas Cook to utility provider nPower and broadcaster Fox. Financial services was represented by Barclaycard while car brands Citroen and Skoda went home with awards. Drinks sector winners included Budweiser, Bailey’s and Loch Lomond Whiskies.

With the introduction of Mobile and Gaming categories, FMCG brand Kellogg’s and Angry Birds creator Rovio were winners respectively. The Continuity Award went to Wickes while Bridgestone triumphed in the PR category and the ECB’s partnership evaluation study won Research. For DHL and Manchester United there was the International Award.

Proof that high-tech and business solution brands are increasingly enamoured with sponsorship were wins for SAP, Infosys and Accenture, the latter winning two categories with the National Theatre. Organisations to come out on top in key categories included The National Citizen Service and European Confederation of Flax and Hemp. New brands to make a mark included Vodafone’s Voxi while the Small Budget Award went to First Bus South Yorkshire, in partnership with Sheffield & District Junior Sunday League and Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

Diversity continues to be a growing pillar of the Awards programme. Accenture won the Diversity category while Skoda won the most competitive ever Women’s category. “There is plenty of evidence to show that diversity drives business,” said Sarginson, “so I’m delighted that the sponsorship industry is embracing inclusion. I look forward to seeing more ground-breaking work at the 2020 UK Sponsorship Awards, which will be our 26th edition.”

Please click here for the Book of the Night with reviews of all the finalists.

Trends And Predictions For 2019

With the UK’s political class paralysed by Brexit and the global stock markets suffering from an extended malaise, making predictions for the coming year seems even more perilous than usual. But here are a few themes that look set to impact on sponsorship in 2019. 

Esports moves mainstream: In October 2018, Mastercard became the latest high-profile brand to throw its hat in the esports ring when it signed a multi-year global sponsorship of League of Legends. Deals like this are playing a key role in legitimising the appeal of esports among the mainstream marketing community. With digital research firm Superdata predicting that esports will be generating around US$2.1bn in revenues by 2021, expect more brands to enter the fray this year.

Sustainability in sponsorship: 2018 saw the issue of single use plastic suddenly rise to prominence. While many countries are stuck with a rump of climate change deniers and stakeholders seeking to roll back environmental protections, the overall message for brands is that young audiences are pretty proactive regarding the environment and expect brands to reflect those values. So expect to see a few more sponsors start to promote their green credentials to customers.

More sectors under scrutiny: Italy banned betting sponsorship in 2018 and the Labour Party has said it will take a similar line if it comes to power in the UK. In response to growing pressure the UK betting industry agreed at the end of last year to impose a ban on gambling ads during live televised sport. The pressure is likely to continue on the betting industry in 2019 and may spill over into sponsorship – not just in terms of regulation, but also the kind of partners that rights holders are willing to work with. Also expect concerns about obesity to start to impact on sponsorship decision-making in 2019.  READ ON....


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