Event Cancelled? What should sponsorship sales professionals be doing during lock-down? 6th April, 2020

It’s an unprecedented time for the world and every industry. Just when we thought that we had found the light at the end of the tunnel regarding Brexit, and businesses finally had some clarity about the future of the economy, COVID-19 has thrown us the biggest curveball in a generation.

In the lock-down period there are already some clear industry winners such as home entertainment, online communication services, delivery companies and, of course, supermarkets. But there’ll be a heck of a lot more that lose out, and the events industry (worth £42.3 bn in the UK), is unfortunately one of these.

Rights holders that depend on one-off event experiences (e.g. festivals) who have had to cancel, will be the hardest hit and most will have an uphill battle to keep any current or prospective sponsors’ from pulling or pausing their investment. The majority of sponsorship sales professionals working on these types of events are in a state of limbo.

If your event has been cancelled this year, what can you as a sponsorship sales professional proactively do to make sure you come out the other end in as strong a position as possible?

React – During this uncertain period continuing to push your event/opportunity to prospective brands would be distasteful and, in some cases, insensitive. However, doing nothing is certainly not the answer. You don’t want to be that person who pops up asking for money after the dust settles. Instead, use the time to try to understand the effect the current situation has had on your prospect. It’s not the time to be selling, but it’s a fantastic time for everyone to build personal relationships. The virus has provided us with the biggest icebreaker of all time, so use it – and actually get to know your prospect beyond the suit.

Rethink – Whilst you are doing your best to maintain and create new relationships where possible, the interruption also provides an opportune time for all sponsorship sales professionals to rethink their current value proposition. Generally, as salespeople we tend to agree a strategy at the very start of a ‘sales phase’ and fail to take a step back from it until the event has been delivered. Use the time wisely to analyse how overall business decisions throughout the year may have affected your propositions and of course the potential economic impact of the virus.

Refresh – We are often so busy trying to strike whilst the iron is hot that we tend to neglect the tasks we perceive to be tedious and not to be directly aligned to getting deals over the line, for example; neatening up your prospect lists and call notes, searching through old emails/contacts who may have moved onto new roles, re-designing your proposals and essentially giving all elements of your work a much-needed face lift.

Research – Constant research and staying up to date with the outlook of every single industry is common practice for most sponsorship sales professionals, but now more than ever that research is pivotal in identifying the brands you should be approaching at the end of the lock-down period. As mentioned above, there are already some obvious winners, but bear in mind every other sponsorship professional will likely be lining up an approach to the Zoom’s, Tesco’s and PlayStation’s of this world, so it’s important to persist with your value proposition and not simply reach out to brands who are ‘doing well’. Remember, sponsorship should be positioned as a vital component for any business to reach their objectives, not as a luxury purchase if a brand has spare budget.

Recharge – As long as you’ve set yourself up to hit the ground running when life returns to normal by taking the above advice, we would suggest that you take advantage of the left over time in which may have before been spent on commuting or after work drinks. Instead use the time to revisit passions/hobbies you never got around to. Learn that language you always said you would, practice that musical instrument under the bed, read those self-improvement books or focus on health and fitness. The sponsorship sales game is a tough one, so recharge and come back stronger.

If you are looking for advice on the sponsorship industry, we would be more than happy to offer our expertise, please email [email protected] to get in touch.

Formula 1 Sponsorship is Moving Up a Gear – but who makes Slingshot’s Sponsors’ Podium? 5th July, 2018

With its heady mix of speed, excitement, danger and competition set amongst the backdrop of a luxurious, globetrotting lifestyle, you’ll struggle to find a more glamorous sport than Formula 1.

So it’s easy to understand why the incredibly popular jewel in motorsport’s crown attracts some of the biggest sponsorship deals on the planet. There are plenty of household names and premium brands who seek to get in on the action and benefit from the powerful connotations that even just the Formula 1 name itself brings.

But as we have highlighted before, sponsorship partnerships are moving away from simple logo adornments as rapidly as Lewis Hamilton off a grand prix starting grid. The key is now brand activations and shared benefits – and sponsorship in F1 is no exception to this trend.

How Formula 1 sponsorship is changing

A quick-as-lightning example of this would be BT’s partnership with the Williams team, which started up back in 2015. Their deal went miles beyond a mere association in name, extending to BT providing extensive technological expertise and an overhauling of their systems with the aim of cutting down Williams’ race times. Those crucial split-seconds are what really gets team bosses’ engines revving.

Three years on and now under the stewardship of Formula 1’s new audience-driven owners Liberty Media – who also count Live Nation among their portfolio – this sponsorship trend continues apace.

The launch of Formula 1’s first “fan festival” occurred just three weeks into the 2018 season in Shanghai, which was a full-throttle experiential activation ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix. That event was driven by a Heineken-branded stage boasting star DJs, as well as opportunities for other key global partners such as Emirates, Pirelli and Petronas to stretch their appeal to new audiences.

“The days of sticker and cash are gone,” says McLaren spokesman Tim Bampton, referring to the passive sponsorship of the past where companies simply stuck their logos on the race cars. “The demands of new sponsors have changed substantially.” And he’s not wrong.

Slingshot’s Top 3 Formula 1 Sponsors

But which brands are really driving Formula 1’s sponsorship game forward? To help us decide, we’ve put together Slingshot’s very own F1 sponsorship podium finish. It was neck-and-neck until the last corner, but here’s how they came over the line…

formula 1 sponsorship slingshot podium

3) DHL
Country: Germany

Formula 1 cars are all about speed and efficiency – just like DHL’s link-up with the world’s foremost motorsport. With over 35 years’ experience in motorsport logistics, vital in a global sport, DHL proudly label themselves as the unsung heroes who (in some cases literally) steer the ship and make things possible behind the va-va-vooms.

DHL’s Formula 1 Brand Activation
Not content with just enabling races to go ahead with the delivery of team assets, DHL launched two awards championing speed in both the F1 drivers themselves and their supporting teams: the DHL Fastest Lap and DHL Fastest Pit Stop Award. Furthermore, DHL are the title sponsor of Formula 1’s pioneering eSports competition, a tangible result of a brand working hard to innovate in sponsorship before they’re lapped by the competition.

2) Tata Communications
Country: India

Indian firm Tata Communications couldn’t keep pace with Heineken in the finishing stretch, but come a close second. Their efforts are heavily based around technological innovation within Formula 1, playing a critical role in enabling Liberty Media to step things up a gear with showcasing their new vision of the sport to its fans.

Tata Communications’ Formula 1 Brand Activation
During the 2017 Singapore Grand Prix, Tata Communications conducted a test of truly live 360º video on the track, which enabled fans across the globe to experience the pulsating action in and around the circuit as if they were there in person. If that wouldn’t get fans’ engines started, we don’t know what would.

1) Heineken
Country: Netherlands

Thanks to their refuelled efforts in Formula 1, Heineken have the pleasure of enjoying a victory lap around Slingshot’s track before spraying a bottle of their finest over their competitors.

The fan festival is just one example of how Formula 1 have provided Heineken with unique opportunities to engage with existing and potential consumers. This has helped rev up important growth areas such as commercial opportunities, responsible drinking awareness and skill transfers between F1 and their employees, leading to a boost of £12.6m in sponsorship revenue.

Heineken’s Formula 1 Brand Activation
Heineken’s brand activations do include traditional circuit branding and TV advertisements, however they are now motoring ahead with digital activations, live fan experiences and events, dedicated PR initiatives, and packaging and point-of-sale promotions.

Take a look at a couple of their recent campaigns:

“When You Drive, Never Drink” campaign

Heineken – When You Drive, Never Drink. from Sizzer Amsterdam on Vimeo.

“More Than a Race” campaign

Heineken, Formula 1 is More Than a Race. from Mathieu Caudroy on Vimeo.

Plus an honourable mention for Rolex
Country: Switzerland

Despite missing out on the Slingshot podium by a few hundredths of a second, we must also give an honourable mention to the Official Timepiece of Formula 1.

The 2018 season marked the sixth consecutive year Rolex were the title sponsors of the opening race, and in a timely reminder top their ties to the history of the sport, they were also the main sponsors of the British Grand Prix.

Rolex’s Formula 1 Brand Activation
With a nod to the importance of clockwatching in Formula 1, Rolex are also the Pit Lane Clock sponsors – a visual reminder of precision timing in F1. Recently, Rolex have also begun signing up some of the sport’s former greats such as Sir Jackie Stewart, Mark Webber and Nico Rosberg as “motorsport testimonees” to further extend their brand appeal to various audiences.

So watch this space – there’s a lot more to come from all of F1’s starting grid of sponsors under the demanding gaze of its audience-facing owners. And we can’t wait to see what that brings.

Interested in learning more about how to get the most success in sponsorship? Follow our social media accounts for regular updates:

Slingshot Sponsorship – Facebook

Slingshot Sponsorship – Twitter

Slingshot Sponsorship – LinkedIn

The 2018 FIFA World Cup Sponsorship XI – Which Sponsors fit where in Slingshot’s Starting Line-Up? 12th June, 2018

Sponsorship for the FIFA World Cup is a fundamental part of what makes the iconic sporting competition possible.

But it’s perhaps never been as important for governing body FIFA itself as it is in 2018.

FIFA post big losses most years – £275m in 2016, and £140m in 2017. However, these vast sums are offset by World Cup-year revenues, healthily boosted in no small part by tournament sponsors.

So how has it been looking for them in this World Cup year? It’s not been entirely smooth sailing. Russia’s hosting of the 2018 FIFA World Cup has been fraught with the odd spot of controversy since it was awarded FIFA’s jewel in the crown back in December 2010.

Inevitably, this has kept some potential sponsors away. Overall, there are five official tournament sponsors listed for 2018, which is down on the number from the previous two World Cups (eight in 2014 and six in 2010).

Coupled with FIFA’s seven long-term partners, it means there are 12 notable key sponsors altogether – which, fittingly, is the perfect amount for a starting XI and manager. This got us thinking: which companies could we put where and why into a starting line-up of sponsors? We put together our very own Slingshot Sponsorship World Cup XI below in a 4-4-2 formation.

Take a look, and then scroll down to find out precisely why each brand is playing where it is…

slingshot sponsorship 2018 fifa world cup sponsors xi

Goalkeeper: Mengniu

There’s a lot of competition out there when you’re facing the best teams in the world, so you need a top goalkeeper to stand any chance. Fortunately, we have exactly that in the shape of China’s market-leading dairy produce company – a giant in their field who provide a very strong base in the spine of the team and give a boost to the bones of the squad around them.

Right-back: McDonald’s

Whether it’s attacking or defending required from the right full-back position, there are plenty of options available on McDonald’s menu. When things are tight and the team require a bit of game management, they’ll have no problem making a meal of any challenges – but with so much to offer the team, they should be able to serve up a good shift.

Centre-back: Visa

The financial services company are fully invested in the team and, despite their longevity, aren’t anywhere near spent yet. That makes them the perfect candidates to sit in the heart of the defence, swiping through strikers at will – although they are at risk of getting carded.

Centre-back: Hyundai

Pacey defenders are a must in modern football, and Hyundai know exactly how to put their foot on the gas when they need to. At the same time they’re a solid proposition who put the brakes on any dangerous attacks they face. As an added bonus, they’re not liable to break down with injury at any moment.

Left-back: Hisense

Hisense have a lot to offer in this position, whether it’s crisp, clear vision when going forward or simply keeping cool when under pressure. What’s more, the Chinese white goods company is built like a fridge, making them an intimidating proposition for any opponent.

Right midfield: Qatar Airways

With the ability to fly down the wing and being economical in possession, Qatar Airways slot straight into the right midfield position. Preparation is key for them, with the right pre-match fuel required to perform – but when they get going, they can cover the entire field and are able to float in perfect crosses to the target men.

Central midfield: Gazprom

Bringing the energy into the midfield, Gazprom are ideal to have in the middle of the park thanks to their ability to clean up loose possession and naturally bring others in to play. They sometimes have a tendency to gas a bit too much to the referee, but overall they’re the oil which keeps the engine room of this Sponsorship XI ticking over.

Central midfield: Adidas

A stylish option to complement Gazprom’s energy, Adidas know exactly what they need to do to look good on the pitch. With top footwork and an intense training work ethic, they can draw upon a wealth of experience from top athletes across all sports, which allows them to perform with maximum impact.

Left midfield: Wanda Group

The Chinese property developers and cinema chain owners are right at home on the left-hand side, with proven ability to break down the opposition and help build on possession. They’re definitely one to keep an eye on, as anything could play out with them involved during the 90 minutes before they head back to the luxury team hotel.

Centre-forward: Budweiser

Yes, they may be somewhat overconfident on occasion, but Budweiser has the ability to settle the team’s nerves when leading the line upfront. Just be warned if the game goes to a penalty shootout, however: they could struggle to keep their legs composed during the run-up, resulting in bottling their effort altogether.

Centre-forward: Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola provide a refreshing look to the front line, making them the perfect strike partner in a fluid front two. Their presence gives those around them a much-needed boost, and they provide an exciting fizz in attack, although that can wear off after a short while making their performance fall flat.

Manager: Vivo

Some say this is a shrewd appointment from the board, and the fantastic reception Vivo have got from people phoning in to talk shows speaks volumes. But the proof is in the pudding and fans will be hoping Vivo’s new-age thinking and innovation on the field won’t be too much to take in for the squad.

Interested in learning more about how to get the most success in sponsorship? Follow our social media accounts for regular updates:

Slingshot Sponsorship – Facebook

Slingshot Sponsorship – Twitter

Slingshot Sponsorship – LinkedIn

Christmas Comes Early as Southbank Centre Teams up with Slingshot Sponsorship on Wintertime 2018-19 24th April, 2018

Slingshot to manage all commercial partnerships for UK’s largest winter cultural celebration

Slingshot, the award-winning sponsorship agency, today announces that it has been appointed by London’s Southbank Centre, the world-famous arts hub, to manage its commercial rights for Wintertime, the UK’s largest celebration of winter culture.

Slingshot Sponsorship will handle all commercial rights and partner opportunities ahead of the 2018/2019 event.

Wintertime will once again become the winter destination for Londoners and tourists alike, providing a magnificent blend of inspiring artistic content and family entertainment for the holiday season.

During the event, which spans three months from November 2018 to January 2019, the Southbank Centre’s Queens Walk will be transformed into a twinkling winter extravaganza filled with Christmas surprises, attractions and activities for everyone to enjoy. The celebration integrates an unrivalled and truly diverse arts and culture programme, festive food and winter markets, as well as headline shows, the fantastical fairy tale Rumpelstiltskin and the daredevil spectacular Circus 1903 – making it the place to be for both consumers and brands this winter.

Alix Wooding, Director of Development at Southbank Centre said: “We are thrilled to offer our ever-popular Wintertime once again as a seasonal celebration by the side of the Thames and we are looking for a dynamic partner to help us deliver an experience that is fun and inspiring.”

“Slingshot has an excellent reputation matching partners together and we look forward to working with them to find the perfect team to take with us on this journey.”

Slingshot Sponsorship enhances its clients’ commercial rights by uncovering new value through development of sponsorship assets thus providing a sustainable platform for brands to benefit from at all levels.

Sam Howell, Sponsorship Director of Slingshot Sponsorship commented: “Southbank Centre as a location is one of the most well recognised and iconic around the world and we are looking forward to working on the Wintertime event to showcase its undeniable potential to deliver world class partnerships with brands.”

Commercial opportunities are now available for the 2018/2019 Wintertime event. Drop us a line to discuss how Wintertime can work with your brand.


The Key Sponsorship Benefits for Brands 4th April, 2018

The Key Sponsorship Benefits for Brands

It won’t surprise you to hear that we believe there are some fantastic sponsorship benefits for brands. But what are they? Here are the some of the key benefits that will get you thinking about how sponsorship could really help your brand. If you’d like to have a chat about how you could be using sponsorship to give your brand a significant boost, drop us a line today.

Brand Awareness

One of the most obvious sponsorship benefits is brand awareness. Quite simply, the sponsorship gets your brand in front of people you want to see it. This can be on a large scale, like sponsoring a top tier football team with the huge TV coverage you’ll get as a result. Or it could be a more affordable, lower level sponsorship, like sponsoring a village fair or dog show. There are opportunities to suit your brand, no matter what budget you have and the audience you’re trying to reach.

Brand Alignment

Sponsorship isn’t just about pure reach and awareness. A key benefit is also how it can shape the way your brand is perceived. High-end brands like Hugo Boss are keen to sponsor teams and events in the worlds of sailing and Formula One because these sports are viewed as affluent and aspirational, which sits perfectly with the Boss brand values. Choosing the right sponsorship can completely transform the way people think about your brand.

PR and Content

In the Hugo Boss example, the brand are able to gain access to imagery to use in their own messaging and branding. A stunning shot of a yacht sailing to victory with the Hugo Boss logo on the sail, for instance, can be used in their marketing and PR, giving the sponsorship greater longevity and ROI.

Brand Ambassadors

Similarly, sponsoring athletes or teams, or musicians or bands, can align your brand with what those individuals stand for. This provides a face for your brand and increases awareness and credibility. Fans who love the individuals will have more positive feelings towards your brand simply by that association.

Client and Customer Engagement

Making clever use of your sponsorship can help with client engagement in terms of hospitality and VIP opportunities. Let’s say you have sponsored a football team, you could secure a corporate box for every home game, enabling you to entertain clients and potential clients. With GDPR and bribery laws stricter than ever, this is a great way to build relationships without worrying about regulatory interference. Other things like tickets to give out to customers, prize winners or employees are another great way to get more out of your sponsorship.

Product Integration

Depending on your brand, sponsorship can be a great way to get your product directly integrated with the team or entity you’re sponsoring. Audi’s long-term sponsorship of Barcelona ensures every player only drives one of their cars. Barcelona even upload a video when the players receive their new cars for the season. This level of integration is slightly unusual, but even providing official cars to transport players to training or matches further strengthens the association between brand and team.

Should You Give Your Logo Space To Charity? 28th March, 2018

Would you give your logo space to charity?

You pay a fortune to have your logo displayed, and then give your logo space to charity? This may seem like a good deed but a poor business move, but it’s actually great news for your brand.

Which brands are giving their logo space to charity?

In recent seasons, brands including Grosvenor Casinos (Fulham FC), SportsPesa (Everton), Betway (West Ham) and Virgin Media (Southampton FC) have all donated their front of shirt sponsorship to a charitable organisation. They let the charity display their logo for one match to help them raise awareness.

Why do these deals work so well?

This is great news for the charity, who secure a placement that could be worth over £100,000. A Premier League shirt sponsorship can cost anywhere from £1.5 million to over £50 million a year, depending on the club. That puts it beyond the reach of most charities.

But giving the logo space to charity is also great news for the brand doing the good deed.

Brands pay these huge amounts to be shirt sponsors in order to raise brand awareness and build fan affinity. The supporters love their club, so they’re more likely to harbour good feeling towards the brands that support it.

Giving up this valuable positioning for one game is unlikely to have any negative effect on brand awareness. In fact, the fans are more likely to notice the normal sponsor being back for the following match. They will also recognise the good deed done by the brand, helping fan affinity.

It’s great PR for the brand and fantastic exposure for the charity, so it’s no surprise that these arrangements are becoming more common.

Is this a sign of things to come?

We wouldn’t be surprised if brands continue to think of increasingly creative ways to use the logo space they have paid for. Running the same logo on the same shirt for a whole season may even cease to be the norm.

Notts County took the innovative step of selling its shirt sponsorship to nine individual brands across the 2017-2018 season, with each one securing the spot for a month. This enabled smaller brands who wouldn’t have been able to afford a season-long sponsorship to get involved. Even Nottingham-born musician Jake Bugg took a slot, paying to have his name displayed on the shirt during every game in November.

See how Slingshot can help you get the most from your sponsorship strategy

Slingshot’s Founder Jackie Fast Wins Emerging Leader Award in Europe 25th August, 2017

The M&A Advisor, renowned globally for its recognition of outstanding professionals in the field of M&A, financing, and turnaround professionals, created The Emerging Leaders Awards – EMEA to celebrate the emerging industry leaders who have reached a significant level of success in the industry before the age of 40.

The awards programme, in partnership with Shard Media Group and supported by ACG, is now in its 2nd year and is unique in that the winners are announced before the ceremony takes place – so we are delighted to announce our very own Jackie Fast as the winner of the ‘Marketing, Communication and Business Development Professional’ category for 2017.

Jackie Fast, Managing Director of Slingshot Sponsorship stated:

‘I am absolutely thrilled to be recognised amongst this group of extremely bright and talented individuals.  I am especially proud to be noticed within the marketing, communication and business development, which is a reflection on the consistently great work Slingshot produce as an agency for our clients across all sectors. It is an unbelievable honour.”

Judged by a team of industry experts the awards ceremony, taking place in Andaz Liverpool Street on Wednesday September 13th, will feature speakers including the likes of John Kiely, Managing Director at Smithfield; Richard Shaw, Chair at ACG; Ian Jamieson, Chief Executive at Jamieson Corporate Finance; and Robin Johnson, Partner at Eversheds Sutherland.

To see the full list of winners, click here.

How Much Revenue Could My Project Earn Through Sponsorship? 9th March, 2018

One of the most common questions people looking for sponsorship ask us is, ‘what could my property be worth?’

It’s an obvious question to ask, but without knowing exactly what’s being offered to a sponsor it’s almost impossible to answer. Therefore, before you approach a brand or agency about sponsorship, it’s worth taking a bit of time to  consider exactly what you have to offer.

When creating a sponsorship package and working out sponsorship value here are three key things to take into account.

How is a sponsorship package valued?

To be able to value a platform correctly, all the sponsorship assets – such as inclusion in newsletters, social media posts, logo integration and hospitality tickets – need to have been considered and packages created detailing the frequency an asset can be used. These details are measured against the reach your project will have – how many people are going to see it and, more importantly, how valuable is that audience to a brand. The value of each asset can then be calculated to provide an overall price.

Nail down the details

We often find that people coming to us with a new venture have a good grasp on the fundamentals of their projects, such as where and when it’s going to be, but they may not have the specifics nailed down – and the specifics are everything when it comes to the value.

For example, claiming an event will be shown on TV is not enough to be able to value an opportunity and, likewise, probably won’t be enough for a brand to sponsor. Instead, make sure you know the specifics, including what channel it will be shown on and how often the sponsor can be featured – the latter is where the real value lies. The same goes for any media partner whether it be TV, radio, magazines or blogs. You need to be sure that agreements have been finalised before approaching sponsors.

Don’t approach sponsors too early

Sponsorship deals can take many months to get across the line so it can be tempting to approach potential sponsors before you have the complete sponsorship toolkit confirmed. It may seem like a good idea to get the ball rolling as soon as possible but it can lead to you coming unstuck in the boardroom as the brand can’t justify the value of the deal without knowing exactly what they’re going to get. This can lead to delays or even end the hope of any potential agreement.

Therefore, to understand the sponsorship revenue your project could receive you need to turn your ideas into serious realities by confirming the specifics of your offering. You may be pleasantly surprised by the value at your fingertips.