Slingshot Sponsorship nominated for four ESA Excellence Awards 2017, including Agency of the Year 7th November, 2017

Slingshot Sponsorship is pleased to announce that they have been shortlisted for four awards at the prestigious European Sponsorship Association Awards.

The ESA Excellence Awards, hosted by the European Sponsorship Association, is an awards show that recognises and celebrates the achievements within the sponsorship industry across Europe. The European Sponsorship Association is in charge of regulating shareholders and owners in the sponsorship sector and making sure members are being sustainable and ethical. They also maintain a duty in improving and keeping standards in the sponsorship industry, which they do by educating members, through policy and networking opportunities.

Slingshot Sponsorship’s nominations at this year’s ESA Awards include:

  • Rights Holder of the Year: having won this category for the last two years, Slingshot Sponsorship are thrilled to be nominated again for two clients: The Holi Festival of Colours and the Extreme Tech Challenge held on Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island.
  • B2B Sponsorship of the Year: a sponsor with the Extreme Tech Challenge, the activation of iTutorGroup showcased how the tech event could support female entrepreneurs in China, providing them a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend and pitch.
  • CSR Partnership of the Year: a deal brokered with Slingshot the Aramco and Bloodhound SSC partnership aims to engage 50,000 children in 6 months in STEM.
  • Agency of the Year (Single Nation): after a highly successful year, Slingshot are delighted to also be nominated in this category at the prestigious ESA Awards.

Slingshot Sponsorship, renowned for disrupting and moving away from logo-centric partnerships, specialise in brokering sponsorships for their rights holder clients. Through a highly strategic approach, Slingshot Sponsorship continually delivers world-class partnerships.

Jackie Fast, the MD of Slingshot Sponsorship, commented “It’s a wonderful achievement to be shortlisted for so many awards, for an association that holds as much weight as ESA. But we are not content, we are aiming to get better every year and show the same level of quality at all times with all our clients.”

The winners this year will be announced at the ESA Awards on the 7th of February 2018 at the Science Museum, London. The event will be attended by over 350 people across Europe.


Football Clubs: getting the most out of gambling sponsorship 25th September, 2017

There has been a large increase in the amount of betting companies sponsoring football clubs in the top two tiers of English football. And for clubs looking to improve and maybe mount a challenge in their respective leagues, looking for bookies to sponsor your club may actually be step one into doing so. But beware, time is running out, as it is only a matter of time before regulatory bodies intervene.

Betting is now the latest industry to monopolise the sponsorship sector of the footballing world, with match and training kits being sponsored by many gambling companies across the world. However, for clubs and rights holders, your time is running out as authorities will soon put a stop to this, just like in 2003 the Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Act caused tobacco advertisement to be prohibited. 2005 saw the ‘Gambling Act’ passed, allowing domestic and offshore gambling companies to advertise on TV. In 2007, 4 out of the 44 clubs in premier league and championship had kit sponsors pertaining to gambling. Over the years, this figure has dramatically grown, and now out of the 44 clubs in the top two leagues, 22 clubs are sponsored by gambling companies.

The takeover of betting companies

If we take away the top 6 clubs, because they are separate entities from the rest of the top two tiers of English football, over half of the clubs are sponsored by betting companies. Betting companies in 2007 took up just under 10% of the market share or kit sponsors, but 10 years later, it is now at 50%, but what effect does this have on the future of football?

More competition in the Premier League

With the rise of gambling companies, clubs are now able to challenge the top six more than ever before. With an increase in sponsorship money, clubs can inject that money into new players and new infrastructure, giving them a better chance of winning. As a gambling company, sponsoring a club is a win-win. They not only gain more awareness, but if they are giving clubs more money, with the industry spending £47.3 million this causes the gap between the top six and the rest of the Premier League and Championship to shrink as clubs are able to afford more. The quality of players and facilities will improve which makes games much more even, thus containing much more upsets which is beneficial for gambling companies as there is now much more of a chance for favourites to lose.

What does this mean for betting companies, and how to make the most of it?

Football is the largest sport betted on in the world, and with the increase of gambling companies sponsoring football clubs, sports betting will become even more prevalent. With this being said, due to the ethical issues that come with gambling, such as addiction and the breaking up of families, it’s only a matter of time before there is some sort of regulation causing gambling companies to refrain from being the shirt sponsors of clubs in England. Just like with tobacco, gambling advertising in the premier league will become extinct. So in order to get the best out of gambling advertisement, gambling companies need to act now as opposed to in five or ten years’ time.


Keeping up momentum in sponsorship sales is like watching the London Marathon on your sofa 5th May, 2017

If like me, you spent Sunday morning and much of the afternoon sat on the sofa with leftover pizza and a chocolate bar saying to yourself (for the fourth year in a row), “this is going to be the year I do the London Marathon” then you know exactly how influential ‘being in the moment’ is for making decisions.  If I don’t register for the London Marathon within 4 weeks of watching, it’s unlikely that I ever will consider registering for the rest of the year – until that annual ritual of watching it sat on the sofa again next year.
Unbelievably, this is no different to sponsorship sales, especially sponsorship of annual events.  As a sponsor, sponsoring annual events is a bit like the London Marathon – you get excited about confirming your sponsorship/registration, but then months go by and it seems all but forgotten until the actual day.  However, upon passing the finish line after a number of hours of slog throughout Greater London, you remember why you signed up in the first place and quite likely think it was the best decision you ever made.
Understanding and keeping up momentum is absolutely critical within sponsorship sales.  Like the London Marathon, there is a limited time-frame from which a sponsor remembers all the great times, the finite details that may exist beyond the assets list.  Memories of the sponsorship are always viewed with a ‘glass half full’ and sponsors are more likely to de-brief with you, grab drinks with you and generally more likely to want to discuss plans for the following year.  However, go past 4 weeks and memories fade fast – leaving only hard numbers.  I should clarify that hard numbers are not necessarily a bad thing as sponsorship is only as good as the measurement and ROI behind it, but when combined with the very distinct memory of how great it was, it’s incomparable.

One of my biggest sponsorship sales tricks is ensuring that we keep up momentum as well as truly understanding the time-frame for commitment from a buyer’s point of view.My top three ‘keeping up momentum’ sponsorship sales tips include:

  1. Renew all sponsors within 4 weeks of the event.  If you are unable to do this in this time-frame, you run the risk of starting all over again in terms of the sales process you need to go through.
  2. Include renewal clauses within the contract at the outset.  First right of refusal is a benefit and as such should be used as an asset.  Not only does this help within the sales process it also provides a clear and communicated deadline to your sponsor well in advance.
  3. Don’t just sign a sponsor and never speak to them again until just before the event (or worse yet, when you need something).  If your sponsor signs well in advance providing a very long lead time, create reasons to catch up and talk about the event in the run up.  If you have a large number of sponsors, creating bespoke sponsor communications to update them on the event progress is a great benefit and keeps everyone in the loop.

In the meantime, I shall keep you posted on my London Marathon musings.  Maybe 2018 is the year I finally get off the sofa…


It’s Not Who You Know 25th July, 2016

Far too many of our new business meetings focus purely on who Slingshot knows at Board level with brands. Undeniably, we know a lot. But that’s our business – it’d be like if McDonalds didn’t know what types of condiments to use for their hamburgers. It would be ludicrous if after 6 years of selling sponsorship rights to global brands, we didn’t make a friend or two along the way.

Unfortunately, almost all sponsorship sales agencies use this angle in their pitches – providing a false sense of security, to the potential new client, that sponsorship sales is all about speaking to the right person. This couldn’t be farther from the truth.

In my 15 years of selling “stuff”, it’s almost never about who you know. Bad salespeople focus on this in a new business pitch because it’s easy. Rather than take time to review the boring strategic processes that underlie sponsorship sales, it’s easier to provide wow factor by name dropping. This masks the fact that the challenge of selling sponsorship actually is controllable by a rights holder and can be fixed without hiring a specialist sponsorship sales agency, and no one really wants that do they?

Slingshot’s approach is never about the black book, which many think is unconventional and also means we lose a lot of pitches to those that guarantee sponsors and often unachievable revenue targets. The smoke and mirrors sales pitch champion who they know, but if you are struggling to maximise your full sponsorship potential it’s not because of your sales people, your property or your access to LinkedIn – it’s your commercial strategy.

Without a commercial strategy that understands what assets you have, what assets brands require to drive ROI, your fair market value and a pretty spectacular proposal – you honestly don’t really have a chance. I am pretty good friends with a lot of big brand buyers, but even I can’t flog something without the above. Gone are Chairman’s Whim days, but it means you have got to start thinking about your proposition if you are going to invest time and resource into selling sponsorship.


“How Long Should My Sponsorship Proposal Be?” 9th March, 2016

I am asked this everywhere I go – it seems to be the thing that most people think is holding them back from securing that perfect partner.  As much as I’d love to provide a one-size-fits-all solution, unfortunately (much like most of sponsorship) this is not the case and the answers vary with each sponsorship platform.  The golden rule is to keep it as short as possible, but still retaining all the information a prospect absolutely needs to know.  As most people are not quite sure what information a prospect absolutely needs to know, I’ve created some tips to help you when creating your sponsorship proposal:

  1. Keep it short, sweet and concise. Sponsorship proposals are not the latest Grazia or best Faulkner – put simply they aren’t interesting and regardless who you send it to in whatever format, people are not desperate to read them.  Sponsorship proposals are just not exciting regardless of how exciting your actual property or opportunity is.  Rather than accepting this, people overcompensate the boredom by writing excessive copy hoping to draw people in.  This is simply not the case – mostly because you aren’t a copywriter and even the best copywriters in the world are unlikely to make your sponsorship proposal a page turner from copy alone.  Therefore, don’t try and make your proposal exciting just by writing more about it.  In our digital age, if you can catch their attention and imagination – they will Google you.
  2. Following on from above – make sure whatever they Google is good.
  3. A picture says a thousand words. If you have great imagery – use it in the best format possible which is typically in a landscape format.  Saying this, don’t fill the entire proposal with a load of the same pictures – if they want to look at pictures of an event or people at an event, they will go on Facebook.
  4. Put a price on it. Don’t waste people’s time.  If you are going to go to the effort of sending a sponsorship proposal, make sure everything that the buyer needs is in there and this includes how much you expect from them in return.
  5. Be professional. I estimate that over 95% of all sponsorship proposals in the world are done by the person looking for the investment.  You are often the Founder, Marketing Director, Event Manager or Sponsorship person.  It’s not your fault you are not a graphic designer, you have other important skills.  But it is important to recognise you are not a graphic designer.  People like things that look good.  You wouldn’t try out the new restaurant in town if they handed you a hand-drawn flyer made out of copy paper and crayons so how can you expect someone to part with budget when you won’t even invest on your own sales collateral?

In terms of a litmus test, I recommend taking your sponsorship proposal to a brutally honest friend and asking their opinion.  They don’t need to work in marketing to have an opinion – they just need to not worry about hurting your feelings.  Listen to them.  They will definitely help.

Failing getting a friend’s sign off, get some actual professional help.  Speak to a sponsorship agency for feedback and/or hire them to put together a proposal for you.  Slingshot obviously does this, but there are also many other agencies who can help too.  It is such a shame to see people fail at securing sponsors for their event because of a bad proposal, but not a bad property so don’t go it alone!

If you are interested in having Slingshot review or create your sponsorship proposal drop us an email: proposalreview@slingshotsponsorship.com


Forbes Speaks to Slingshot Sponsorship MD Jackie Fast on her mission in the industry 22nd October, 2015

Forbes recently caught up with Slingshot Sponsorship’s MD Jackie Fast to discuss her journey through the sponsorship industry to date.  Insight on how to break into the sponsorship industry, what drives entrepreneurs, and how changing the model has helped to drive Slingshot’s client successes.

Read the full article on Forbes here.


Slingshot Sponsorship’s MD Jackie Fast Goes Down Under 16th July, 2015

Slingshot Sponsorship’s MD Jackie Fast will be presenting a two day training course in Sydney, Australia on October 27th and 28th with Marcus Evans. This is a unique chance to hear from one of the industry’s leading experts on how to successfully secure sponsorship in today’s landscape.

With the increase of digital and technology, this has created a seismic shift in the way consumers engage in the world around them – and this has a significant impact on brands and how brands utilise sponsorship to engage with their target audiences.  Slingshot have successfully been a driving force within this new framework of sponsorship and this two day course will show you why traditional sponsorship practices no longer work in today’s industry.

Key takeaways from the event will include:

  • Understanding the new rules of sponsorship
  • Incorporating social media and digital technology to enhance sponsorship activity
  • Learning how sponsorship can grow your business, not just your commercial bottomline
  • Elaborating the market trends on sponsorship sectors including sport, arts, music, conferences and CSR
  • Maximising your true potential

Jackie Fast commented, “I am extremely thrilled to be coming to Australia to present our agency’s framework for sustainable sponsorship for both rights holders and brands.  With an office in Singapore, we can help provide further support our attendees in the long term so I am thrilled to be able to come down and start engaging with the Australian sponsorship industry.”

For more information or to book your place please click here. 


Outlook & Dimensions Festivals launch video to celebrate partnership with D&AD and Red Stripe 27th August, 2014

To celebrate Outlook & Dimensions Festivals’ partnership with D&AD and Red Stripe at this year’s D&AD New Blood, the team have released a video to creatively explore the collaboration.

D&AD’s New Blood is a programme that inspires the next generation of creative talent and stimulates the creative industry. Each year New Blood hosts exhibitions at Spitalfields Market – encouraging young advertising and design heads to engage with a host of exhibitors.  As part of their partnership, Outlook & Dimensions hosted an exhibition at their offices which saw more than 20 young designers join the Outlook team to learn about the processes behind developing the festival from Marketing to Sales and the development of the festival Site-Art.

The innovative partnership also saw Outlook & Dimensions and Red Stripe develop and deliver a competition to their dedicated audiences to unearth promising and exciting new designers. The brief encouraged the designers to break away from traditional billboard advertising, to create something that would challenge the senses and embody Outlook & Dimensions Festivals.

The chosen design by Oliver Reynolds-Duffy – a 3rd year graphic designer at Manchester Metropolitan University was displayed on a 20 foot billboard in the heart of London’s bustling Shoreditch. Oliver’s designed was inspired by Dimensions Festival and concentrated on sourced materials which were used as different layered elements and pieces across the board.

The final part of the partnership culminated in the awards ceremony at the Truman Brewery and after party at Concrete, which was hosted by Outlook & Dimensions with a selection of the festivals’ DJ’s playing throughout the night.

Johnny Scratchley, Director, Outlook & Dimensions Festival stated ‘D&AD New Blood exists to inspire young, creative talent across the world and it has been a pleasure to work with them on this project and offer a platform for our audience to create on a global scale. Having a brand such as Red Stripe on board really rounded up the whole experience for our team – Red Stripe is synonymous with the music our festivals represent, so for me, this was the perfect partnership.’

The winner of the competition will be flown out to support the Outlook & Dimensions festivals’ site-art team this year.  Outlook and Dimensions are two music events with a passion for creating bespoke environments and quality underground music to be experienced. Dimensions Festival will be on from 27th-31st August and Outlook Festival will commence from the 3rd-7th September in Pula, Croatia.


It’s Not Who You Know 10th March, 2014

Three questions you should be asking your sponsorship sales person before you hire them

I have been in far too many pitches where I dread the question and answer period at the end.  This is not because I don’t like answering questions, it’s because the questions are always the wrong ones.  It never fails that when people are looking to hire a sponsorship sales person (regardless of whether it’s an internal hire or contracted external agency) the questions they always ask are the same and include a variation of the following:

“How many brands do you know that you’ll be able to get to sponsor our platform?”

Sometimes the person in question is slyer and the question comes across as:

“In terms of relationships you currently have, how many of those do you think you would be able to approach on our behalf?”

It always comes down to the black book.

Now in theory this makes a lot of sense.  Obviously the more brands they know personally, the easier it will be for that sponsorship salesperson to put your platform in front of them.  However, this doesn’t address the whole point of sponsorship sales.  Sponsorship sales are not transactional – unlike selling socks or vacuum cleaners, you have to understand how to derive value from set assets to drive brand objectives.  Creative thinking is vital.  Sponsorship sales are specific and not all sponsorship platforms are the best fit for all brands.  As such, it becomes less about the relationship and more about how the platform can help the brand meet certain objectives.  Even though I have drinks with the Marketing Director from Pampers, but that doesn’t mean they are going to sponsor Tough Mudder just because I asked politely over cocktails.

In addition, any sponsorship sales person or sponsorship sales agency who has lasted longer than 1 year will inevitably have a good black book. And even if they don’t have a strong black book in your specific sector, they will know quite easily how to build one quickly.  That is after all, what they do and why there are at the pitch to begin with.

So rather than waste time on answers that really won’t make too much of a difference to your end result, here are the top 3 questions you should be asking:

  1. How long is your longest running client and why have they stayed with you for so long?
  2. Have you ever lost a client because of not meeting your sales targets?  *To note, there are many variables that can affect sponsorship sales so if someone hasn’t met targets I wouldn’t write them off.  Instead, try to understand whether they took on the project without being transparent to their client about their own concerns such as pricing that is overvalued or timing that is unrealistic.
  3. What do you think the key USP of our platform is and what type of brands do you think it would attract?

Happy hiring!