UK Sponsorship Awards Announces Revamp Of Media Categories To Reflect Industry Changes. Mobile, Social Media, Online and Gaming To Join 2018 Line up

The organisers of the UK Sponsorship Awards (UKSA) are delighted to announce an expansion of the event’s media categories in time for the next edition of the event, which will take place in the London Marriott Grosvenor Square Hotel on March 27 2018.

While the long-standing TV Sponsorship category will remain unchanged, the 2018 event will see the introduction of a Mobile category, reflecting the growing importance of small screen technology to millennial and Gen Z audiences. The popular Digital Activation category will also give way to two new categories that more accurately reflect the way in which sponsorships are activated through new media channels. Best Use of Social Media will rewards sponsorships that are activated across channels such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest. Best Online Sponsorship or Owned Media Activation will reward sponsorships that originate on digital publishing platforms or are activated via a brand’s own platforms (eg. company websites and channels).

In addition, the Print and Radio category will be extended to cover Film, thus providing an opportunity for all non-TV and non-digital media sponsorships to compete against each other. As a further complement to the TV category, the breakthrough Branded Content section will be back for a second year. For the distinction between the two, and between Mobile and Social Media, see the category descriptions at the end of this release.

The other key change sees the introduction of a new Gaming category that will encompass all areas of gaming from console to casual gaming and e-sports to massively multiplayer online gaming (MMOGs). Sponsors across any of these areas will be able to submit entries to this exciting new area of activity.

UKSA organiser Rosemary Sarginson says: “Every year, the UKSA team analyses key trends in the sponsorship industry and attempts to reshape its award programme to reflect them. While Digital Activation has proved to be a very popular category since we introduced it a few years back, the word ‘digital’ has become increasingly generic and is no longer a workable descriptor for the amazing creativity and innovation in the media/sponsorship industry. For this reason, we are putting our energy behind mobile, online and social media categories this year. Of course, branded content and gaming are also ways cutting edge ‘digital’ work can be recognised.”

On occasions, says Sarginson, UKSA’s category planning can get slightly ahead of the industry curve – and require a rethink. “We were the first to launch an eSports sponsorship category last year and found that the UK community had not quite reached critical mass to support it. For this reason, we have come back this year with our new Gaming category, which will cast the net wider than last year. Now, any sponsors involved in the amazing world of gaming can join the UKSA party. If we find that the category is sufficiently large to justify it – then we will consider splitting out eSports from the new Gaming section.”

Sarginson says more exciting changes to the UKSA line up will soon be announced, including details on the event’s planned football categories. In addition, all of the usual popular categories will be up for grabs (Sports, Arts, PR ,etc). Details on deadlines and how to enter can be found on the Awards website. This year, the Early Bird deadline is December 18th, 2017. The Final Deadline is January 15th, 2018. The event itself is on March 27th, 2018 at the London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square.

Media Category Breakdown

TV Sponsorship - supported by Thinkbox

TV sponsorship is about partnerships that have a stand-alone television property at their heart. The association might be leveraged across other platforms and channels, but the core IP will be a TV show, a channel or a component of a TV show, such as a celebrity/character/show segment. Brands that partner with free-to-air or PayTV properties are the primary but not exclusive target of this category. As an example, 2017’s category winner was Colgate Max White and Britain’s Next Top Model. To ensure like for like comparisons, this category may be split by size so please specify the fee paid. Branded content and AFPs should be entered in the new Branded Content category – unless they are activations of an overarching TV sponsorship in which case that category may also be relevant.

Branded Content

Best Use of Branded Content is aimed at strategies where the client has been directly involved in the funding and creation of the content in question. It may overlap with TV sponsorship – but it is not the same as sponsoring a traditional TV show or a film. Branded content can be anything from an advertiser-funded show on TV to a piece of content created for the internet. While branded content does not include a standard TV ad, a 3-5 minute film that integrates the brand with more traditional storytelling devices could fall within the definition of branded content. To win this category, entrants must explain why they pursued a branded content strategy and how they activated it across different channels and platforms. Branded content for this category does not need to originate in TV, but can also originate in the online or mobile arenas. In some cases, it can also be a film – such as The Lego Movie – or a game.

Print, Radio & Film Sponsorship

This category is about sponsorships that begin with print, radio or film. It's designed to recognise great work that is often overshadowed by the big budgets available in TV. Again, the sponsorship can (and should) be leveraged across platforms, but it needs to start with Print, Radio or Film IP. This might be a branded supplement or product placement. In the case of film, sponsorships that do not involve product integration into the film itself are also eligible for this category – i.e., a brand may choose to sponsor a period drama film even if it would be anachronistic for it to appear in the production itself.

Best Use Of Social Media In Sponsorship

This category rewards the most innovative and effective work in online and mobile social media. This can include YouTube but is not about ‘owned media’ such as company or club websites. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter or some other platform (or maybe a combination of them all), we want to see examples of how social media is transforming the way sponsorship supports branding or corporate objectives. Please provide clear evidence of success, especially around audience engagement levels. 

Best Online Sponsorship or Owned Media Activation 

This category covers two key scenarios. Firstly, sponsorships that originate on native digital platforms such as Buzzfeed, Huffington Post or AOL - i.e., not sponsorships that begin in other media such as TV and get carried through to online. Secondly, activations through company-owned websites, platforms and/or channels. The latter group may in some circumstances be stand-alone activations, but are more likely to be activations of larger sponsorship programmes (for example, a gaming platform created on the back of a sports or entertainment sponsorship with the intention of capturing consumer data).

Best Use of Mobile In Sponsorship

This category rewards brands that have made the best use of mobile’s attributes to support their sponsorship. There is an overlap with the social media category – but the winner will be the entry that has placed the unique capabilities of mobile at the heart of its strategy. Aside from mobile-first social media strategies, this category could also cover sponsorships that utilise mobile in areas such as audio, payments, ticketing, video content, VR, AR and gaming. Sponsorships that also take advantage of mobile devices as ubiquitous pieces of hardware that accompany people everywhere could also fit within this category. Tablets are also covered by this category.

Best Gaming-Based Sponsorship

As its name suggests, this category is for brands that have made great use of the fast-emerging gaming category. Criteria for success are similar to those in other categories, namely – clear objectives, great execution and proof of business benefits. The fast-emerging field of eSports is covered, but so is sponsorship of everything from high-end console games to casual gaming. Sponsors that have managed to take advantage of emerging technology like VR gaming are also eligible.