David Peters, the Head of Carat Sponsorship UK, was in Dublin last week and talking to him about the work they are doing in the UK really drove home how we all now approach sponsorship from a completely different direction.
Sponsorship is no longer about finding a programme or vehicle that our audience enjoys and then just trying to associate the brand with it.
It is about identifying our consumer’s passions and then building a relationship between our brand, the consumer and these passions.
Our recent Kellogg’s sponsorship of Xposé is a great example of how we identified and developed a sponsorship out of an insight and passion. The Special K consumer has a very clear passion for beauty and fashion. We also know that they indulge this passion on a daily basis through many frequent but short touchpoints with the genre.
Xposé provided us with the perfect vehicle to deliver all the values and merits that we want to be associated with Special K. In addition Xposé forms part of the daily ritual for its fans as they interact with it across the day and week. As we built the sponsorship we ensured that there was a link between Special K and Xposé across all of its many touchpoints – TV broadcast, 3player, online streaming, magazine supplements, Facebook page, twitter feed, YouTube page, live events and many more. It is this “always on” nature of the show that made it the perfect fit to associate with.
But this is still not enough to truly build a relationship in the consumers’ eyes. Gone are the days when the words “this show has been brought to you by” actually make people believe the show would not be there for them to watch if it wasn’t for the goodness of the advertiser. Ironic given we are now in a broadcast production era when many shows actually would not be there but for the advertisers commitment of funding.
To ensure the consumers accept the relationship between, fashion, beauty, Xposé and Special K we have also built a series of events for Special K consumers around fashion using Xposé presenters and including coverage across Xposé’s many touchpoints. We have taken the sponsorship outside of the programme itself with week long cross station promotions across TV3 and press partnerships.
We often find we identify a consumer passion for which there is no easy broadcast sponsorship solution.
Our activity for Lucozade last summer shows the kind of incredible inventive solution we can come up with to ensure we fuel our consumers’ passions.
We identified a very clear passion about live music from our core audience and the natural place for us to build on this passion was the music festival season. Rather than just sponsoring a festival or a stage (the equivalent of stings on a TV programme) we saw an opportunity to help them enjoy their festival experience rather than define their festival experience for them.
We created our own media properties ranging from a Lucozade bus that took people to the festivals for free (thereby removing the only boring part of the whole event), radio and press segments encouraging festival goers to share their experiences, right through to a TV3e series to find people to broadcast live from the festivals for transmission on air. All the elements showed the consumers how Lucozade was not just trying to say “hey we like music too” but was actually doing something to help them enjoy the festivals even more.
It is how we activated the communication around the consumer’s passions that have made these sponsorships work. We have taken the activity far beyond buying stings, to full integration and a clear demonstration for the consumer of how we are building on their passion for them.
Many media and property owners themselves have now realised that sponsorship is almost entirely about activation rather than just awareness. The most blatant example of this we have seen recently is from the 2012 Olympics. All the official sponsors get for their money (and it’s a lot of money) is the right to use the rings and say they are partners. No broadcast rights, no logos on kit, not even a logo on the backdrop of a stage. How the sponsors use the rings is entirely up to them and will still have immense value for the target consumers – but it is something that they and their agencies will need to develop and deliver themselves.
There is no shirking this. No one can say “well we’ve spent all that money on the rings we aren’t going to waste anymore on it now”. As we have seen already, they will have to activate it and build the relationship themselves or it’s worthless.
Which is the right way to do it.
Chris Nolan – Director
As always, if you have any opinions- supporting or conflicting- on this post or related matters we’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to post replies below