Slingshot: Brand Side. 19th December, 2018

Chances are – if you’re reading this – you’re aware of Slingshot and what we do. Or are you?

Our work with rights holders all over the world has been well documented, whether through our own channels or through numerous industry awards. We have worked as the exclusive sponsorship agency for many of the world’s most innovative platforms to identify and secure strategic brand partnerships. But what may be less known is our brand consultancy service: working also on the other side of sponsorship with global brands to highlight the most relevant partnership platforms in order to achieve the biggest cut-through, awareness and equity.

Our expertise, developed over many years working on the rights-holder side, has led us to understand exactly what brands are looking for when they are considering sponsorship opportunities. Thus, on the flipside we know precisely what assets are needed to be secured to achieve brand marketing objectives, regardless of industry or budget.

How can Slingshot help?

Dream Package:

 A crucial step which is often overlooked by brands is the creation of an asset list or dream package. By creating an essential asset list, brands can identify exactly what they require to achieve key objectives and generate a strong ROI. Too often we see brands being one dimensional when it comes to aligning with events and failing to make full use of the opportunity and their budget. A classic case being the purchasing of activation space without making use of the wider PR, marketing and social benefits that would help them cut through at a much higher level with their intended audience (sometimes these extra assets can be bargained within the original price!)

Negotiation:

Many agencies, when given a brief and a budget by a brand will look to spend the whole wad of cash, even if the package offered isn’t worth its price in the current market. With extensive knowledge of sponsorship valuation and sales: Slingshot can negotiate on the brands behalf to get the assets they require at the best possible value. Saving valuable sponsorship monies which can be used to leverage the partnership through activation instead.

Efficiency:

Our extensive network within the industry provides the perfect platform to take a brands’ vision for their sponsorship strategy to market. Building a network takes time and surprisingly, approaching a rights holder for sponsorship enquiries can actually be a lengthy process. However, by utilising an agency who already has an established name in the sponsorship field your brand can save exponential amounts of time, helping you to understand and evaluate the available opportunities more promptly.

Unique Events:

 Lastly, Slingshot is renowned for being at the forefront of the industry as one of the most innovative sponsorship agencies. Our position within the sponsorship industry means that we regularly work with niche, innovative and exciting events. Rather than pitch you the same old generic properties, we have access to platforms with specific demographics and highly engaged audiences which stand out from the crowd and can deliver a far better ROI at generally a far better price too. Some of our current clients include Extreme Tech Challenge, a start-up competition held on Necker Island with a B2B focus and a HNWI audience and London New Year’s Day Parade a mass consumer event with 650,000 attendees. Thus, we may already be working directly with a rights-holder which would deliver the cut-through needed for your next product release, re-brand or campaign push!

If you are looking for advice on any aspect of the sponsorship industry, we would be more than happy to offer our expertise, please email info@slingshotsponsorship.com or call 0207 145 0150 to get started.


Can too many Sponsors Dilute a Rights-Holder’s Brand? 22nd August, 2013

In sports leagues around the world, success on the field is ultimately driven by commercial revenue. As a consequence, their response has been to bring in sponsors to help facilitate the gap in funding.  But this growing emphasis upon sponsorship has left many people asking – are too many sponsors diluting the right-holder’s brand?

Sponsors make the brand more vibrant

When discussing the ever increasing number of sponsors in sport, it would be hard not to mention Manchester United, having just signed another spread of partners across the globe. The club has recently signed the Indonesian tyre producer bringing the club’s sponsorship total to 33. It begs to ask the question – are these sponsors devaluing the Manchester United brand?

Jonathan Rigby CM for MU, has rejected that the club has anywhere near reached its limit. He states that by implementing a local model amongst the 77 countries they have sponsors in currently, they are appealing to each fan individually, making the brand more vibrant and producing a follow on effect which will ultimately benefit all sponsors involved.

This certainly seems to be the case when you look at their operating profit, which has increased this year by 13.7%. The club has also just signed a new shirt deal worth nearly £500 million over 8 years, increasing their commercial sponsorship revenue to £118 million annually.

More value lies in fewer partners

In comparison, Juventus believe going the other way is more rewarding. The club believes that having valuable relationships with fewer brands will bring you more credibility amongst your following, and as a result will lead to greater financial weight behind the deals. This is the case for Jeep who is currently their headline sponsor, and one of 15 corporate partners.  In a public image driven market, and where it is only public interest which governs your reach; keeping it close to home can be seen as vital.

It’s the end product that matters

Brands enter into sponsorship for a multitude of reasons, but generally speaking, brands sponsor rights-holders for the audience, exposure, association and to fulfill their own brand objectives.  For rights-holders, one of the main things they rely upon, aside from funding, is the fans/ their audience.  As a platform, sponsorship allows both the rights-holder and brand to connect to their audience in a wholly tailored way.

The focus, therefore, shouldn’t be based on the amount of sponsors, but upon the end product – what the partnership has created for the fan, the overall experience and the club. MU’s model works because it has such a wide fan base and global sponsorship platform that allows them to associate with their following in all corners of the world. Juventus, on the other hand, has had success through its emphasis upon a few partners that have a strong affiliation to the club, keeping it close to home allows them to stay true to both the sponsor and the rights-holder’s objectives.

The Outcome

So long as the sponsorship is delivered and is aligned to the brand’s objectives and these objectives align with those of the rights-holder, the end product should ultimately benefit both club and sponsor.  Dilution of the brand will come when parties lose sight of their overall objective.


Game, Set and Match: My Top 3 Wimbledon Sponsorship Campaigns 20th June, 2013

In a few weeks another chapter of the greatest tennis tournament in the world will be written. Wimbledon is not just one of the most prestigious sporting events in the world, but also a very unique platform for sponsors, or as The All England Club calls them – suppliers.

So what is it that makes Wimbledon so different? Watching the matches on television you will realise that unlike the Premier League for example, no sponsor hoardings and perimeter advertising within the grounds of Wimbledon itself are currently allowed. You may spot Rolex next to the clock, Slazenger on the tennis balls or Ralph Lauren outfits worn by the ball kids, but these logos are only allowed on the items and services that the brands supply Wimbledon with. Despite those restrictions, Wimbledon is still exceptionally attractive to brands. Sponsors can use the association with this traditional event across their own marketing mixes.  In light of this, I’ve put together my top 3 Wimbledon sponsorship campaigns:

1. IBM at London Heathrow (2010 and 2011)

In order to raise awareness of IBM’s sponsorship of the Wimbledon Championships, IBM ran an innovative digital advertising campaign at one of the busiest international airports. Over 70 airport screens at London Heathrow were been programmed to select match updates and players most relevant to departing flights. “On average, passengers look at digital screens 99 times during their airport stay. The campaign supports IBM’s role in delivering real time player progress to Wimbledon fans at a time when they are unable to watch the match and want to keep in touch with the action”, stated JCDecaux’ Airport Marketing Director Steve Cox in an IBM press release. Thanks to the live updates IBM’s screens would have had a fair few more glances at the screens during the Wimbledon period. Check out the video summarizing this successful campaign.

2. Evian ball hunt (2012)

In 2012, Evian used its social media channels to engage with tennis fans offering them the chance to win VIP Wimbledon tickets. In their ‘Evian ball hunt’ campaign, which was supported by tennis star Maria Sharapova an Evian ball boy regularly revealed clues on the water suppliers Twitter and Facebook accounts. Followers chased him throughout London and once caught, the ball boy gave them a numbered Evian tennis ball. Each day one lucky number was chosen giving tennis fans the chance to be part of the action.

3.  Lavazza’s ‘We are the queue’ (2011)

Due to the aforementioned restrictions within the Wimbledon grounds, the famous Wimbledon queue, where people wait for up to 8 hours to get tickets, has become an increasingly important area for sponsors to showcase themselves. In 2011 Lavazza got it right. Through their ‘We are the queue’ campaign, the official coffee brand was not only serving coffee to patient tennis fans, but also made their queuing time worthwhile. Lavazza converted the area into a huge playground and relaxation bubble, where queuers could interact with games. A dedicated website and Facebook page as well as a smart phone application gave Lavazza the opportunity to engage with this key audience further. Check out the video footage of this amazing campaign here.


Lessons the Sponsorship Industry should Learn from Kickstarter 15th May, 2013

Continuing from Jackie’s most recent blog, which expressed the inherent need for an understanding of sponsorship in every industry, I wanted to lead this blog in a similar vein. The past couple of weeks have seen the re-emergence of the platform Kickstarter into the blogosphere – a crowd-funding site that offers entrepreneurs, film-makers, artists, techies etc. a platform through which they can raise funding for specific ideas and projects.

Until a few weeks ago, many were unaware of Kickstarter until Mr Zach Braff (of Garden State and Scrubs fame) launched a campaign on the website to generate funding for his new movie Wish I Was Herea kind-of-but-not-really sequel to Garden State – find his campaign video here.  Through the website, and by the click of a button, anyone is able to become an investor in Braff’s film.  What is more, those willing to sponsor are offered some pretty hefty benefits – ranging from larger investors being treated to a character in the film being named after them, to escorting Braff as one of his personal guests to the premier and after party – not bad.

Within only 3 days, Braff’s target of $2 million was smashed.  Of course this was due, to a large extent, to Braff’s extensive networks (1,099,497 Twitter followers) and celebrity pals who helped him reach this goal.  Yet despite the project’s success, Braff’s use of the site has come under immense scrutiny, with many citing this project to be one of (soon to be many) Hollywood overhauls on the website – which they believe will overshadow projects that really need to use the site to create contacts and source funding.

Despite the Hollywood backlash, the success Braff has gained through Kickstarter and the buzz his project has generated; has led me to identify 3 things the sponsorship industry should take away from this case study:

1) It is imperative to tap into passions – Sponsorship should always be about tapping into people’s interests and passions.  As a marketing tool; the brands and rights-holders that have the most success, are the ones that really connect with what the consumer wants and understand what it is they need.  Braff was able to build on the cult success of Garden State and use the affinity his fans have towards the film to help fund a new project, giving fans the opportunity to join him in the films journey.

2) Not just about the idea – Despite the success of Braff’s Kickstarter campaign, an overwhelming majority of Kickstarter projects lead to failure.  As Michael C. Neel’s research shows, the campaigns that are the most successful are the ones that are able to promote and leverage networks, exercise connections and generate as much buzz as possible around the project.  In essence, this is similar to sponsorship – those that are deemed ‘successful’ are the ones that are able to utilise every aspect of the relationship at hand – not just rely on the basic sponsorship or ‘idea’ itself.

3) Corporates should learn from crowd-funding – Some of the best ideas and projects gain fruition from smaller, grass-root platforms like Kickstarter; and it is important that these projects are able to gain funding.  Sponsorship should be accessible and understood by all; not just large corporates – the funding of such projects will in turn help generate an already stagnant economy.  Websites such as Kickstarter also offer first-hand insight into projects that are succeeding and those that are failing – offering corporates in real time, trends within specific industries.

Despite the criticism surrounding Braff’s use of Kickstarter, the re-emergence of the platform has emphasised once again, the need and capacity for sponsorship in all industries whether big or small.

What Car? Car Of The Year Awards 2013 15th January, 2013

After much anticipation, the What Car? Car of the Year Awards in association with Warranty Direct took place on Wednesday 9th January 2013 at the prestigious Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane. The event was by far the biggest and best to date with all of the leading manufacturers from the motoring industry in attendance.  The Awards were visually spectacular with the stage placed in the middle of the room amongst the tables and entertainment from comedian Al Murray had the audience in stitches.

The Awards presented by the BBC’s Kate Silverton and What Car? Editor in Chief Chas Hallet revealed the best cars on the market in 2012. The category winners were selected from an incredibly high standard of contenders, with the Audi A3 Sportback taking the prestigious title of What Car? Car of the Year. To view the full list of the 2013 contenders and winners click here.

The 2013 event was a resounding success for the What Car? Awards sponsors with Warranty Direct coming onboard as headline sponsor for the first time, Kwik-Fit joining Associate Sponsors Hankook and TRACKER and Category Sponsors Allianz Global Assistance and Cobra continuing their support for the Awards. For further information on this year’s sponsors click here.

Over 300 people engaged with the What Car? Awards on Twitter and gave a strong indication of the buzz surrounding the 2013 Awards:

Brentford Football Club Appoints Slingshot Sponsorship as Exclusive Sponsorship Agency 23rd October, 2012

Brentford Football Club, home of the Bees, has appointed Slingshot Sponsorship as their exclusive sponsorship agency.

Slingshot Sponsorship’s initial objective will be focused on securing partners for the Club’s prime advertising sites and developing opportunities at the new stadium.  Slingshot will be working alongside the club not only to acquire new commercial partners but also to create more diverse partnerships for the club as a whole with the aim of enhancing the club’s appeal to a younger audience. The team will be moving to their new stadium at Lionel Road in 2016 and are looking to facilitate new brand relationships in the run up to the move.  The new stadium will provide a wealth of opportunities further enhancing the club’s appeal.

Mark Devlin, Chief Executive of Brentford Football Club commented:

The stadium roofs at Griffin Park offer a truly unique advertising or sponsorship opportunity, and we are delighted to appoint Slingshot as our Sponsorship agency. They have a very successful background in creating diverse sponsorship properties which can capitalise on the Brentford brand and our active fan base. Slingshot’s experience and creative skills are exactly what the Club is looking for at this exciting stage of its development.

The team’s ground at Griffin Park in London is directly under the Heathrow flight path and the stadium provides two of the biggest aerial advertising sites in the country which have seen branding in the past from the likes of Qatar Airways, Atari, KLM, EasyJet, Sabena and Ericsson.

Jackie Fast Managing Director of Slingshot Sponsorship commented:

We are thrilled to be working with Brentford Football Club. Slingshot’s partnership with the club is about so much more than sponsorship for the roof and we plan to work alongside the club to create new partnerships and increase Brentford’s appeal to a wider audience. We are delighted that our objectives run parallel to those of the club and are very excited to be part of Brentford FC’s journey into their new stadium and beyond.

Brentford FC’s next game at Griffin Park is Tuesday, October 23rd versus Coventry City.

Sponsorship Agency Slingshot Sponsors Two Brothers and a Tuk Tuk Around the Seven Modern Wonders of the World as they Tuk the High Road 26th September, 2012

Innovative London-based sponsorship agency Slingshot just announced their sponsorship of brothers Kevan Pulfrey and Alex Saxon as they travel to the seven modern wonders of the world in a three-wheeled tuk tuk. The adventure will see the brothers cover 65,000 kilometres, four continents and 38 countries in an attempt to attain a Guinness world record for a journey they have been told by many is impossible.

The brothers expect to face extreme challenges throughout the voyage from severe weather to dangerous animals and for the most part they will camp leaving them exposed to difficult conditions. Kevan Pulfrey said: ‘We will face danger, overcome fears, break down in the worst places imaginable and have our eyes opened to the delights of planet earth.’ The tuk tuk is incredibly compact with no space for anything but the most necessary provisions and the pair will rely on basic road maps and a compass to navigate their journey around the world. Throughout the journey they will be raising money for their chosen charities the Alzheimer’s Society and War Child, two charities particularly close to their hearts. Donations can be made through the VirginMoney Giving Page on the Tuk the High Road website.

Jackie Fast managing director of Slingshot Sponsorship commented: ‘The journey is both incredibly unique and brave and we are thrilled to be involved.  Being involved as a sponsor helps us reinforce our own brand positioning as being challenging and innovative as well as showcasing our new international sponsorship services launched earlier this year. We are also happy to support the Alzheimer’s Society and War Child – making this part of our agency’s CSR initiatives.”

The pair drove the tuk tuk to Slingshot Sponsorship’s offices in Islington for photos with the Slingshot team before setting off on Saturday 15thSeptember towards Dover where they would leave English shores for the last time in over a year – they estimate the trip will take between 12 to 14 months. They will be keeping their followers up to date with their many adventures through their website www.tukthehighroad.com and on Facebook and Twitter.

The Invisible Brand 17th July, 2012

Sponsorship in the past has focused largely on naming rights and branding. However, increasingly brands are moving their attention away from this approach towards more creative activations and a less ‘visible’ form of sponsorship.

Invisible Sponsorship

Festivals are a good example of where understated sponsorship can be the most effective. With a different music festival virtually every weekend of the summer in the UK, it is no surprise that plenty of brands want a piece of the action.  However, festival sponsorship requires careful consideration on behalf of the brand.

Often a highlight to their summer, people tend to approach festivals with a more relaxed vibe and are therefore more open-minded and receptive which can make sponsorship of these events hugely appealing from a brand perspective. However, too much obvious branding and a lack of relevance to the event could have a negative effect.  Festival goers want to relax and enjoy the music and brands should not make them mistake of trying to get involved if they won’t be perceived as bringing something positive to the experience.

Festival goers complained that gaming brand Xbox’s sponsorship of Bestival was not in line with their outdoor experience and this created a negative perception of Xbox’s involvement with the event. Whereas, alcohol brands have such a good response from sponsorship of festivals because the brand is integrated into the event, and in turn leads to people associating it with their positive experience.

When approaching a sponsorship campaign surrounding an event such as a festival brands should consider:

  • Creating the chance for the audience to experience the brand at the event in a relevant format through experiential activities
  • Amplifying the best attributes of the event through the sponsorship campaign – adding to the experience not taking attention away
  • Providing exclusive content in some form to share with the audience
  • Ensuring the brand has relevance to the event in some format

It is no surprise that the positive environment surrounding festivals continues to entice brands, however, it is important that brands think beyond the obvious message and provide real value to the event in order to gain the crowd’s approval.

Premium Car Accessory Leader Thule Teams With What Car? 10th October, 2011

What Car? has signed Thule, the world’s premium leader in sport and utility transportation of car roof racks, bike and car category of the annual motoring Oscars – The What Car? Car of the Year Awards, to be held in January 2012.

Andrew Golby What Car? Publishing Director commented: “We are delighted to be working with Thule, who have joined us as a sponsor of the 2012 What Car? Awards. We spend a great deal of our time assessing family cars, and Thule’s products are an essential part of making big days out and annual holidays safe and enjoyable. It is very apt then, that they are now associated with the family car category of our Awards ceremony. Whichever vehicle wins on the night, there is sure to be a Thule accessory to enhance it even further.”

“Safety is paramount to parents and here at Thule we make it possible to put safety first whilst attaining an active lifestyle with your family in a stylish, easy to use format”, commented Peter Barker, UK General Manager.

The benefits of the What Car? Awards sponsorship deal includes alignment with the most authoritative and trusted brand in motoring. Brand positioning and awareness, extensive PR opportunities, networking and association to the awards via a multi-channel promotional campaign.

The What Car? Car of the year awards and acknowledged by many as the UK Motoring Oscars is the automotive industries best known and most influential awards ceremony and the awards themselves are much coveted by car makers both in the UK and overseas.

The event is attended by more than 1200 leading industry figureheads alongside the most influential motoring correspondents from the wider media.

What Car? reaches almost 3,000,000 consumers every month through the website, magazine or PR activity.

The event is to be held at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London on the 12th January with top class entertainment yet to be announced.  Previous headline acts have included Jonathan Ross, Jimmy Carr, Al Murray and Jo Brand.

The sponsorship deal was brokered by Slingshot Sponsorship.

ABOUT What Car?

The What Car? stable includes the long established magazine,  the award-winning website whatcar.com, What Car? TV, What Car? Mobile and What Car? Video – available online or as a video podcast.

Latest National Readership survey results indicate that 797,000 people read What Car? magazine every month. Two million unique consumers consult the What Car? website every month.

Haymarket Magazines is the United Kingdom’s largest independently owned publishing company with a portfolio of more than 150 titles, ranging from specialist consumer magazines to business titles and customer publications, published via wholly owned subsidiaries, joint ventures and under licence worldwide.

ABOUT The Thule Brand

The Thule brand was established in Sweden in 1942. Thule is a premium brand used globally for a wide assortment of products with a focus on solving the problem of how to bring equipment with you when using a car (roof racks, bike and water sport carriers, roof boxes). There are also other product areas such as accessories for recreational vehicles, trailers for active life (horses, boats, etc), snow chains and luggage.

Thule is the largest brand in the Thule Group. With its origins in Sweden, Thule is now a truly global brand.

In 1942, Thule was founded by the Thulin family, when Erik Thulin, a true lover of the outdoors, put the Thule name on a Pike Trap that he designed and began selling to the fisherman of Scandinavia. It wasn’t long before he added other practical things to his company’s portfolio. Business boomed, gaining profitably year after year.

By the 1960s, the company began to concentrate its business on car-related product

The Thulin family sold Thule to the publicly listed company Eldon in 1979. It continued to grow both organically and through acquisitions (trailers and rooftop box manufacturing), and Thule has been in growth mode ever since. New markets have been opened, product categories have been launched and several companies have joined.s, and before long the first roof rack was born. New product categories were added in the 1970s and new markets were opened worldwide (e.g. US, Japan).

In 2004, the Thule Group acquired Italian snow chain manufacturer König. An ensuing close collaboration resulted in a series of Thule branded snow chains for passenger cars. A year later, in 2005, RV Accessories company Omnistor was added to the Thule Group portfolio and integrated with Thule. By acquiring towing systems company Brink in 2006, Thule Group added yet another product range to its portfolio. This integration has resulted in a series of towbars and bike carrier solutions. Since 2007, Case Logic has been part of Thule Group. As a consequence of the collaboration between Thule and business area Carry Solutions, a range of Thule branded luggage, bags and cases was launched in 2010.