Winners of the European Sponsorship Association’s Awards were announced last night at London’s Cafe de Paris. For details on the winners and the highly commended campaigns, please visit http://www.sponsorship.org/awWinners09.asp.
Archive for November, 2009
Sponsorship Consulting, headed up by Pippa Collett, has joined forces with Brussels-based Sponsorship Ideas run by William Fenton. The amalgamation brings together two of the industry’s most experienced practitioners. William Fenton commented: “As I have known Pippa since she worked at Shell and have already conducted joint projects as diverse as the Dubai International Film Festival and a British Government Department project, getting together more formally was a logical step.”
This month saw Arts & Business unveil the winners of its 31st Annual Awards. Divided up into eight key categories, winners on the night included UBS, Deloitte LLP and Ernst & Young – underlining the pivotal role that financial services continues to play in supporting the arts sector.
UBS’ win came in the BP A&B Sustained Partnership category – for its role in turning a derelict power station into an internationally-recognised arts powerhouse. Deloitte LLP, meanwhile, won the A&B Cultural Branding Award in partnership with Royal Opera House for Ignite, an arts festival which broke new ground for both of the partners.
Commenting on the quality of entries across all eight categories, Colin Tweedy, chief executive of Arts & Business, said: “The winners show the astounding variety of imaginative partnerships possible between culture and commerce. If there has been a knock to the reputation of business during this recession, the arts are proving a perfect way for them to reconnect with their communities. Business has no obligation to support the arts. That they continue to do so is a force for good for all our collective futures.”
Ernst and Young’s victory came in the A&B Young People category – for a partnership with the South London Gallery which gave young people from local schools the chance to put together their own exhibition. Other winners on the night were Liberty Stadium and Pippin’s Designs; Ferry van Diijk and Hoxton Hall; Translink Metro and Belfast Actors; Takeda Pharmaceutical Company and London Symphony Orchestra; and Edding Pens and Monorex.
Minister for Culture Margaret Hodge said: “Business support for the arts makes an increasingly vital contribution to the success of arts companies, exhibitions and productions. This is especially the case when times are hard. The Awards showcase the imagination of sponsors and their determination to back high quality and innovative work – I commend them for their generosity and imagination, and the artists for the difference they make to our lives.” More at: http://www.artsandbusiness.org.uk
After weeks of speculation, F1 World Champion Jenson Button has joined Woking-based McLaren on a £6 million a year deal. In doing so, he creates a British F1 dream team alongside Lewis Hamilton, who was F1 Champion in 2008.
The risk for Button is that he will be forced to play second fiddle to Hamilton – who is still regarded as the hotter property, both on the track and in the commercial arena. But for McLaren title sponsor Vodafone, the 2010 season looks like it could be a good one. Internationally, the mobile company will benefit from having two of the strongest and most charismatic drivers on the circuit. And domestically, it will be able to develop an activation strategy which promotes its strong UK associations.
McLaren’s other sponsors include Diageo, Aigo, FedEx, Hugo Boss, H&R, Hilton Hotels, Mobil, Santander, SAP, Lenovo and Reebok. The question now is whether any Brit-based companies will be tempted to join the McLaren fold.
So what exactly does it take for a sponsor to give up on a sports franchise? Well this year has given us a few meaty examples to chew over – culminating in Thierry Henry’s blatant handball for France vs the Republic of Ireland (which knocked the latter out of the FIFA World Cup).
The year kicked off with Kelloggs deciding to withdraw its support for swimming sensation Michael Phelps after he was caught smoking a cannabis pipe. We then saw ING quit the Renault Formula One team over the infamous instruction for Nelson Piquet Jr to crash his car. By contrast, we’ve seen rugby club Harlequins manage to avoid any serious fallout from the Bloodgate scandal. And now Gillette has decided to stand by Thierry Henry, who is one of the company’s top star endorsement properties.
At first sight, there’s no obvious unifying theme here. But let’s dig a little deeper and see what we can uncover. Let’s start with Kelloggs and Phelps. Here the message is that recreational drugs and family brands don’t mix. That point is further underlined by the way in which brands like H&M withdrew support from Kate Moss over her use of cocaine.
This taboo regarding recreational drugs doesn’t, however, extend to adult brands. It’s notable, for example, that Speedo, Omega, Visa, Mazda and Pure Sports all rallied round Phelps. Omega even went as far as to call it “a non-issue” – which was more feisty than the brand needed to be when you consider Phelps felt compelled to say sorry.
The ING F1 example is not so helpful in developing a viewpoint – since the company was already poised to quit the Renault team just a few races later (at the end of the 2009 season). Far more interesting would have been if the scandal had occurred just after ING signed up with the team. Such was the severity of the offence that ING would probably still have pulled out – but the decision to do so would unquestionably have been a much tougher call.
And what of the Harlequins and Henry stories? Well the message here seems to be that sponsors understand the pressures that make teams and stars cheat – and are willing to forgive them if they show sufficient levels of contrition (the one stand-out exception being performance-enhancing drugs). Harlequins were mortified to discover the extent of the bloodgate scandal while Henry has not flinched from facing the press. That was enough to mollify their sponsors.
Still, such observations don’t really get us to the nub of sponsor decision-making – because they assume the final judgment by the brand owner is partly based on ethics, as though sponsors are a kind of offended surrogate parent.
In truth, the issue of morality is a distraction. Sometimes morality and commerce seem to go hand in hand in sports sponsorship. But the ultimate decision whether to stay or go is almost invariably commercial – with only the most extreme forms of behaviour likely to lead to withdrawal on moral grounds. Assuming the conduct in question is not criminal (eg match-fixing), companies make a calculated decision based on the likely impact on brand equity and sales – nothing more. For all of the talk about fairplay, cheating is not regarded as sufficiently serious unless it involves performance drugs. And the reason that this stands alone is because sponsors need to be seen to stand side by side with governing bodies as they wage war on drugs.
This shouldn’t surprise us. After all, brand custodians are answerable in the final analysis to their shareholders. It’s not for them to make a decision that is likely to harm ROI.
Consider Thierry Henry once more. If Gillette had dropped the French captain, it would have pleased Ireland but cost Gillette the large and lucrative French market. That was never going to happen. Again, it might have been more interesting if roles had been reversed – and Gillette had found itself having to appease an angry French audience.
Germany’s most famous football club Bayern Munich has signed what is believed to the biggest sponsorship deal in European soccer. The deal, which is a renewal of its partnership with Deutsche Telekom, is worth an estimated €25 million a year and will run until 2012/2013. At current exchange rates, that puts the deal at around £22 million a year, beating the £20 million a year that Standard Chartered recently stumped up for the Premiership’s Liverpool FC.
Although Germany’s Bundesliga is not as high-profile as the Premiership, Bayern has a huge and loyal fanbase at home – which gives DT the opportunity to market services such as T-Home, the IPTV platform which will be on Bayern shirts. It is also one of the best-known global soccer brands – thanks to its history in European club competitions.
Bayern has one of European soccer’s most successful sponsorship strategies. In addition to the shirt deal, it also has one of the most lucrative naming rights deals in Europe – with insurance group Allianz attached to its stadium. English clubs like Liverpool and Chelsea have made it clear recently that they would like to emulate such a deal.
Meanwhile, on the subject of Allianz, ad agency Grey and media agency Mediacom (both owned by WPP) have won the £60 million accounts for the German insurance giant. Grey will set up a dedicated outfit called Team Allianz@Grey to handle areas like brand communication, digital marketing, internal engagement and sponsorship.
Some sponsorship link ups make sense straightaway. Such is the tie-up between GlaxoSmithKline toothpaste brand Macleans and ITV weekend show Dancing On Ice.
The show, which is presented by Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby, sees Torvill & Dean training a team of celebrities to dance on ice. As sponsor, Macleans will activate the partnership across multiple platforms including online, mobile, interactive, licensing and in-store activity.
The deal was negotiated by ITV and MediaCom Beyond Advertising. The creative, which will presumably have lots of brilliant white imagery, will be lead by Grey London.
The London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG) has unveiled German car giant BMW as its official Automotive Partner. BMW, which becomes London 2012′s seventh Tier One partner, will supply 4000 vehicles to transport athletes, technical officials, the media, IOC personnel, LOCOG operational teams, members of sports federations and marketing partners around during the course of the Games.
In addition, BMW becomes London 2012’s sixth sustainability partner – supporting LOCOG’s commitment to have a low emission fleet during the event. Aside from providing a low emissions fleet, BMW will showcase electric vehicles during the Games and provide bicycles for use by athletes. At the same time, a proportion of the fleet will be wheelchair-accessible and BMW will convert some vehicles for use by disabled drivers and passengers.
LOCOG Chair Sebastian Coe said: “Operationally, an automotive deal is vital for any Organising Committee so I’m thrilled BMW is on board. They share our vision to stage a sustainable Games and will be a valued partner. On a commercial level, signing another Tier One Partner in this challenging environment is a fantastic achievement. Companies recognise there’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to be part of this and are seeing the benefit.”
Ian Robertson, member of the board of management of BMW, said: “We see our partnership as an opportunity, over the next three years and beyond, to focus attention on our fuel efficient premium cars – and also to shine a light on the future of mobility. This partnership will be an inspiration for customers, employees, dealers & suppliers.”
It’s been a busy month for LV=’s marketing team. Just two weeks after the insurance group was unveiled as title sponsor of rugby union’s Anglo-Welsh Cup, it has unveiled a second deal which sees its road recovery brand Britannia Rescue partnering the British Bobsleigh Association (BBA).
Commenting on the deal, LV= group marketing director David Radford said: “This sponsorship will help us increase awareness of the Britannia Rescue brand and the great value products it offers motorists looking for breakdown cover.”
The timing of the deal means LV= will be able to activate around the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games which take place in February 2010. However the real rationale for the deal will be to build an indirect Olympic association in the run-up to London 2012. This strategy, of working with UK sports federations, has become very popular among brands which cannot afford the price-tag placed on event sponsorship by London Organising Committee LOCOG.
Credit card company MasterCard is to be the title sponsor of Barbarians rugby union fixtures for the 2009-2010 season. The series will be called The MasterCard Trophy and will commence with a clash against the All-Blacks at Twickenham on December 5. A game against England has also been confirmed with others to be announced soon.
Commenting on the deal, MasterCard’s VP of marketing Ben Rhodes said: “Sponsorships are a critical component of MasterCard’s global marketing approach. We’re proud to build further heritage in rugby by adding The MasterCard Trophy to our Rugby World Cup 2011 sponsorship.”