UKSA Silver Sponsorship Award - Best Sponsorship Of The Last 25 Years - Nominate Now

We are seeking your nominations for a sponsorship(s) which, in your opinion, has been one of most effective, creative, ground-breaking, game-changing, influential sponsorship campaigns of the last 25 years.  Nominated campaigns are published here as and when we receive them.  A shortlist of eight will be announced. votes invited and then a shortlist of five revealed.  The overall winner of the Silver Award will be unveiled at the Awards event. There is no fee for this category but we do need 200-300 words backing up your nomination. Please send to  On the list so far in alphabetical order....

British Airways and London 2012

- This was a short-term exercise but one which created a huge impact within the BA business, raising internal pride and re-engaging its workforce with the company, and also struck a braver, bolder tone with consumers via its brilliant activation.

- In 2012 itself, it created a multi-£m campaign around the message 'Don't Fly - Support Team GB'. Via TV, digital and outdoor media it urged consumers to stay at home for the Olympics and immediately after the Olympics created the ultimate late summer 'celebratory' sale offer which broke all records for volume of flights booked. 

- Its Great Britons campaign unearthed and celebrated top class and emerging talent in sport, food and entertainment - the latter being the two key on-board components of its offering - emphasising the cultural importance of the Olympic games and providng a three-year runway to the Games from an activation perspective.

- It is very rare that a sponsorship can work equally well in positively changing consumer perceptions and internal ones, and its core objective - 'Bringing the Love Back to BA' - was delivered in spectacular and memorable style.


John Smith's Grand National (2005-2013)

- John Smith's was probably the most natural partner the Grand National has ever enjoyed, bar Ladbrokes, given its long-standing support of horseracing and the affinity between its target audience and the sport/event.

- Despite that, the challenge from the CMO was to create some ground-breaking activation which 'stretched' the sponsorship, and this was achieved by the creation of the John Smith's People's Race, a 'reality' event which selected 10 members of the public to learn to ride and then ride in a race at Aintree on Grand National Day, live on TV.

- This event created longevity for the sponsorship, a raft of regional stories which could be picked up by local media around the country, and injected excitement and a sense of daring - this was a risky exercise for the participants - into the brand. This 'sub-sponsorship' won numerous awards in its own right across the marketing spectrum, including UK Sponsorship awards.

- A raft of other activations were focused around humour, with long-term brand ambassador Peter Kay among those deployed, while at the same time ensuring theu celebrated the ethos and history of the event as the 'people's race' by honouring both participants and fans of the event via the John Smith's National Heroes campaign

- Above all, the sponsor perfectly captured and enhanced the party mood that the event engenders - adding to the sense of fun on the one day in the year that racing transcends its normal boundaries - despite having a hard act to follow coming immediately after previous sponsor Martell.


Martell Grand National  (1992-2004)

- Martell Cognac's long-term sponsorship of the 'National transformed their brand into an international market leader via a long-standing commitment to promoting the race internationally.

- Martell created a string of major racedays in other countries on the same day, all linked by satellite. L'Or De Martell Cup Evening in Hong Kong, where the 'National was beamed in live as the last race of the night, was the template and regular events in Singapore and Delhi were supplemented by others elsewhere.

- In the UK, Martell's partnership with Aintree raised the bar in terms of the 'National's prestige, via the quality of the execution and a relentless focus on media relations, both to engage the media and extend the campaignability of the event - with major media days in November, January and February which became events in their own right. Journalists to this day still look back fondly to them!

- Martell and Aintree led the industry in terms of developing the entertainment product at racecourses. They and their sister brands created the first commercially-focused Ladies Day at a UK racecourse, an event now attended by 55,000 people per annum. Cocktail bars, raceday fashion shows, live music and many more innovations started at Aintree and are now the norm.


Müller and British Athletics and Athletics Ireland

Müller are the UK’s #1 dairy brand* and official sponsor of British Athletics and Athletics Ireland. Their mission is to get the nation active through fun.

They are achieving this by:

• Bringing Athletics to the FOREFRONT of people’s minds

• Inspiring adults and children of all ages, abilities and backgrounds to get active while having FUN

• Investing in the FOUNDATION of the sport, placing athletics on prime time TV and increasing funding through sponsorship

Müller deserve to win this award because through this sponsorship they have been:

• Groundbreaking: Müller created a major national TV campaign for Müller Corner with British para-athletes (£2.5MM spend). Müller is the first ever dairy company to do so in the UK. Müller created a unique & inspiring diverse team of ambassadors. Where other companies sign one or two athletes, Müller signed 10 to fully represent diversity and inclusion in gender, ethnicity, ability and even development in their career

• Influential: As a result of the UK obesity crisis and the Public Health England (PHE) report highlighting a major lack of activity, Müller reduced sugar across their range by 13.5%, equaling 1759 tonnes, ahead of PHE targets of 5%

• Effective: Müller launched a Corner on-pack campaign across 18m packs, offering the chance to win £2,000 of sports equipment and a visit from an athlete to a school. Supported with an additional £1m worth of TV advertising, the campaign received over 85,000 entries

• Creative: Müller organised a sports day for 4 schools at the London Olympic Stadium. Pupils were given the chance to run, jump, throw and push on the track where legends were made. They had professional coaches including Heptathlon Olympic medallist Kelly Sotherton – and they also took part in an egg & spoon race on the 100m track where Usain Bolt won gold. Inspiring the next generation through fun.



O2 Academy : Making O2 more famous for music than telecommunications 

O2 changed the landscape of music sponsorship in 2007 by launching The O2, the world’s most popular live music venue. The O2 remains our greatest brand asset, but it is out of reach for millions of music fans and O2 customers across the UK. To make music part of O2’s DNA we needed a highly relevant sponsorship to all customers passionate about live music, regardless of where they lived or what they were in to. 

In 2008 O2 embarked on a ground-breaking partnership with Live Nation and Academy Music Group to become the name in title sponsor of all 11 Academy venues including the world-famous Brixton Academy, Shepherd’s Bush Empire and Manchester Apollo. The 10-year deal not only secured the biggest and best network of venues right across the UK, but gave us presale rights to thousands of Live Nation shows covering hundreds of other venues nationwide creating Priority Tickets. This partnership propelled O2 to the number one brand in music sponsorship and enabled a telecommunications company to become widely accepted as part of the music industry. 

Today we have 20 O2 Academy venues and counting, 25 million people have attended shows within them. O2 customers have enjoyed access to over 35,000 exclusive presales, 1.2M Priority benefits (queue jump, free drinks, access to exclusive spaces) and have purchased over 6 million Priority Tickets. 

We recognise the most successful sponsorships need time to develop and generate genuine ROI. Through this partnership O2 and music are now synonymous, many associate the brand with music more than they do telecommunications. Plus its impact is undeniable; having been to an O2 Academy venue 63% of O2 customers are more likely to consider staying with O2, 36% of prospects are more likely to consider us. We have recently re-signed the partnership through to 2028.

O2 and England Rugby (1995- ongoing)

O2 and England Rugby

In the fast-growing mobile market of the mid-90s, how could we create a brand that stood for something and engaged our target audience to ultimately become the UK’s most loved telco? We had to reach them through their passions.

We scoured the sporting landscape, with rugby consistently coming out on top for the high-value customers we needed to engage with.  

In 1995 the rugby part-timers turned professional and we spotted an opportunity; we would become the only network for an army of England fans that was set to explode.

Our strategy was game-changing; don’t just partner with England Rugby but turn the England shirt into a platform that would drive brand awareness, engagement, and long-term loyalty.

The professional game has since evolved into a global phenomenon. At every step, O2 has focused on rewarding and growing our rugby-loving customer base, bringing them closer to the England Rugby Men and Women’s teams and our brand.

Our campaigns have been ground-breaking. We were there in 2003, when the Rugby World Cup (RWC) came home. 

We helped the nation ‘Get Up for England’ in 2011 giving away 50,000 breakfasts for the early New Zealand kick offs.

We inspired millions to ‘Wear the Rose’ in 2015 for the home RWC, generating 5.4 million acts of support and 1.5 billion opportunities to see, with a 67% tournament share of voice on social.  

In 2017 our ‘Love the Game, Wear the Rose’ TV ad was watched by 2.65 million during the England Women’s RWC final, generating 2.7 million acts of support for the Red Roses and an 11% surge in O2 brand awareness.

O2 Touch is now the country’s largest community rugby programme, growing to over 27,000 players nationwide since 2013. O2 Priority has seen over 10 million accepts across England Rugby related offers and tickets. 

England Rugby has had a huge impact on O2 brand awareness with 10,800 minutes of broadcast exposure for the logo on the iconic shirt. Reaching over 1 billion England fans in TV audience alone. 26% of the UK recall O2 as a rugby partner, we are the most mentioned brand in rugby sponsorship. Most importantly we have built high-value customer loyalty through our partnership, O2 customers who love rugby are considerably more profitable.

24 years and counting and there’s so much more to come. Watch this space for Japan 2019…


England Rugby's long-term principal partner has been a constant innovator via its England sponsorship.

- O2's big campaigns, especially in World Cup years, won numerous industry awards via highly creative and stand-out activations.

- 2011's 'Get Up for England campaign', with the World Cup in New Zealand, saw 150,000 special O2 breakfast packs delivered to customers as part of the Priority marketing platform, containing beers and a specially created Breakfast pie.

- O2 pioneered the first ever live 3D sports broadcasts, was the first to deploy virtual reality in a major campaign, delivered O2 Touch rugby to thousands around the country, and created major live experiences including Scrum in the Park, Scrum on the Beach and many more.

- The sponsorship has always been heavily business focused, with data and analytics at the forefront, and its longevity is a testament to its performance as a platform for the brand and business. 

- It has performed so well because no other sponsor of the last 25 years has managed to innovate so consistently and brilliantly as O2, playing the role of sponsor to perfection - creating standout, ground-breaking content while tirelessly supporting the objectives and ambitions of England rugby to grow the game


The O2 

In 2005, against a torrid backdrop of both public and media backlash, O2 and AEG took a leap of faith and created The O2. At first, questions were raised over the partnership, the extent to which AEG could seize the opportunity and whether or not O2 would see value. 

But it soon became clear this wasn’t any ordinary sponsorship. It was a partnership that would transform the sponsorship landscape entirely, create a new working relationship between the music industry and the telecoms sector and underpin one of the UK’s most successful loyalty platforms - resulting in the creation of the world’s most popular entertainment venue. 

How was it done? Firstly, we put our customers first and focused on their pain points. From queue jumps to VIP lounges, we removed the barriers to a truly exceptional live experience. And our customers love us for it. In 2018 O2 customers over-indexed at 56% of visitors vs a 26% market share. 

Secondly, we brought the latest and greatest mobile innovation to our iconic venue, all in the name of customer experience. O2 Wifi, live 5G trials and Relive Your Night are all recent examples of how we use technology to boost fan experience. 

Thirdly, we’ve made live entertainment more accessible than ever before through our Priority Tickets programme. Priority was born out of The O2. Since 2007 O2 customers have purchased 6 million Priority Tickets of which over 2.5 million have been to shows at The O2. And in an increasingly fragmented media landscape, The O2 has delivered consistently high visibility with outstanding media value delivering huge ROI. 

This partnership has given O2 a considerable advantage in the highly-competitive mobile and entertainment sectors. Every year since opening, The O2 has been crowned the world’s most popular entertainment venue, with 9 million annual visitors, boasting 97% awareness amongst UK consumers, embedded in popular culture with shout-outs in songs from Stormzy, Drake and The Weeknd. 


Together we’ve created The O2. A venue with a personality, a heartbeat and a vision. Redefining what it feels like to visit an entertainment venue, and what it means to own a mobile phone. 


Robinsons & Wimbledon (75 years and counting)…

- Robinsons' logo on the Umpire's chair continues to perfectly convey Wimbledon's self-proclaimed essence - 'tennis in an English garden' - at a time when the sponsorship roster at the event is now generally the preserve of global mega-brands.

- The Wimbledon association is the constant presence in the success of one of Britain's favourite brands, which has one its products present in one in every two households in the UK. The Wimbledon sponsorship is still seen as a core part of the brand's IP, which is  actually highly appropriate since the product was created in the Gentlemen's Changing Room at Wimbledon!

- Numerous activations across the marcoms spectrum have used the event to drive summer sales, and on various anniversaries celebrate the association in style.

- And as the brand grows around the world, the sponsorship remains relevant, and one of the most long-standing sponsorships in the UK continues to be a success for both sponsor and rights-holder.


Sainsbury’s ParalympicsGB Sponsorship

In 2010, Sainsbury’s was announced as the first Paralympic-only sponsor of London 2012. Described as ‘historic’ by then IPC President, Sir Philip Craven, the sponsorship raised awareness, playing a major role in delivering the most successful Paralympic Games ever. 

The sponsorship aimed to: 

• Increase Games awareness / popularity 

• Introduce a nation to new sports / athletes that were largely unknown 

• Put Paralympic sport on the world stage, showcasing athletic achievement, not disability 

• Promote messages of inclusion / inspiration 

Pillars of activation: 

1. Turn colleagues into advocates: 70 local Paralympians were paired with stores and every colleague was given the opportunity to try a Paralympic sport. 30 colleagues were seconded to LOCOG, 150 colleagues became Gamesmakers 

2. Engage communities through schools: By tapping into Sainsbury’s existing ‘Active Kids’ scheme (*) the team created the Million Kids Challenge which provided equipment / training to schools enabling children to try Paralympic sport. 

3. Engage customers in / out of store: A multi-channel campaign activation which positively engaged with customers in the run up to / during the event. The Paralympic Torch visited 550 supermarkets and 100 customers got the chance to take part in the Torch Relay. 12,000 tickets were given to customers, with a targeted marketing campaign that championed inclusion / achievement in the realm of sport. 

Concurrently, Sainsbury’s signed David Beckham as an ambassador, challenging him to take on para sport activities, using his high profile to drive colleague / customer engagement. 


• No.1 domestic sponsor (across both Olympic & Paralympic partners) 

• 2.4 million children took part in the Million Kids Challenge 

• 89% colleague enthusiasm for the sponsorship 

• +5.6% sales growth in the 12 weeks to Sept 2012 

• ATL profit ROI of 4.3 

Continuing its ParalympicsGB sponsorship to this day, Sainsbury’s continues to champion inclusive sport. It remains a game-changing partnership. 



* Active Kids is a proposition that enabled customers to collect vouchers in store / donate to local schools, nurseries, Scout / Guide groups to redeem for sports equipment 


Sennheiser and V&A (2013 – ongoing) 

Sennheiser’s sponsorship has enabled the V&A to take a pioneering approach to how music is presented in its world-class exhibition programme. A ground-breaking and innovative transformation for the world’s leading museum of art, design and performance. 

In 2013, the V&A partnered with Sennheiser for the first time to create David Bowie Is, an immersive exhibition unlike any previous museum experience and the first major UK exhibition where sound was an integral part of the interpretation. Sennheiser’s guidePORT audio guide system ensured that every visitor could experience state of the art technology whilst immersing themselves in Bowie’s music, art, and style. With almost 312,000 visitors, it was, at the time, the most popular V&A exhibition ever.

The V&A and Sennheiser have since collaborated on You Say You Want A Revolution, 2016 (243,000 visitors) and The Pink Floyd Exhibition: Their Mortal Remains, 2017 (352,189 visitors)

Sennheiser’s commitment to support the worldwide tours of David Bowie Is and You Say You Want a Revolution means over 2.5 million people at 14 venues across 14 cities in 11 countries have experienced this ground-breaking partnership.

The collaboration has afforded Sennheiser the opportunity to share globally its long-term goal; The Pursuit of Perfect Sound. The global response has been unprecedented and has provided exceptional results, delivering above and beyond the original objectives to develop and showcase technology, engage specialist and consumer audiences, and build profile internationally.

Over the years the V&A and Sennheiser have pushed the boundaries as to how sound can evoke, provoke and inspire visitors and created a genuinely multi-media museum experience. 

Sennheiser have helped make a significant advance in exhibition interpretation and communication which is relevant to any museum showing music. This sponsorship has, therefore, benefited not just the V&A but the broader museum community.



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