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, 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.

How O2 Creates Priority Through Sponsorship 6th September, 2011

Telefonica Europe Plc also known as O2 is a European broadband and telecommunications company who maintain the customer messages of ‘priority’ and being ‘better connected’. In addition to the marketing campaigns run, these messages are further reinforced through their sponsorship activation.

As part of the naming rights sponsorship of The O2 Arena in London (formerly known Millennium Dome) since 2007, O2 customers are able to receive Priority Tickets for concerts and exhibitions up to 48 hours before they are released on general sale along with other better experience at the venue. Similar benefits are expected to be provided across the nation within their O2 Academy venues (O2 Sponsorship, 2011).

Another example of ‘priority’ can be demonstrated with Arsenal Football Club. As a sponsor since 2002, O2 offers free shirts, £40 vouchers and other benefits in exchange for signing with O2 home and mobile broadband. O2 also allow fans to meet and watch Arsenal away games at Emirates Stadium called Live Away Screening where O2 customers have priority seating, access to VIP rooms, and the opportunity to win competitions, meet the coaching staff, meet players or attend training.

As sponsors of The England Rugby Team since 1995, O2 customers also receive priority packages at Twickenham in the form of free pie, pint, program and chance to meet England players.  Further rugby sponsorship includes Scrum on the Beach for the younger demographic and engages the local community.


Shadi Halliwell, Head of UK Brand Communications at O2 said:

We are always looking at innovative ways in which we can engage customers with Priority Tickets and make sure they hear about pre-sales for their favorite events.

Priority is a strong message with O2 and they ensure it isn’t just whitewash.  Sponsoring the right properties enables them to expand their brand and engage their target audience creating a truly better connected network.


Herbalife Promotes Their Products Through Football 27th July, 2011

Herbalife, a global nutrition company, became the main title sponsor of a second time running international football tournament Herbalife World Football Challenge, the goal of which is to promote football (soccer) in Northern America.

Football’s popularity is steadily growing in the US, especially after the FIFA World Cup and Champions League final last year.  The Champions League final was viewed by 4.2 million people on Fox and Fox Deportes, nearly twice the 2.2 million who watched last year’s tournament final (Market Watch, 2011).

As Rob Levy senior vice president of sales and marketing at Herbalife explained “The biggest teams in the world are coming to play across the U.S., and the games will be on ESPN and Univision”.

The football tournament kicked off on 13th July 2011 at the Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, US.  A total of 12 teams are taking part, including European football giants Manchester United (England), Manchester City (England), Real Madrid (Spain), FC Barcelona (Spain) and FC Juventus (Italy); Los Angeles Galaxy, New England Revolution, Philadelphia Union and Chicago Fire from Major League Soccer (MLS); Canadian Vancouver Whitecaps and Mexican clubs Chivas de Guadalajara and Club America.  The football games are scheduled to take place in various locations across the United States and Canada in order to maximise exposure.

Michael O. Johnson, chairman and chief executive of Herbalife, added: “The Herbalife World Football Challenge is a great opportunity to expand our commitment to a healthy active life through sports and is an ideal backdrop to launch our new line of sports products” (MLS Press Box, 2011).  As a title sponsor and “Official Nutrition Company” of the event, Herbalife will provide all participating teams with their new line of new nutrition sports products, Herbalife24.  The deal also includes access into teams’ locker rooms and demonstration with the teams’ doctors and nutritionists.  The Herbalife 24 is a customizable seven-product line that everybody can determine day-to-day needs based on activity levels and training demands (Herbalife 24, 2011).

Herbalife did a great job in introducing and promoting their new products at the right time and in the right place through a successful tournament that attracted significant spectators and media broadcast.The tournament and sponsorship illustrates how a successful partnership can benefit all parties involved.

1. The tournament will increase awareness of European football on the American continent where American football, baseball, basketball, and ice hockey still dominate.

2. The title sponsor Herbalife will achieve activation, publicity and promotion of their products in the future due to mutual cooperation and partnership with each of the teams. Furthermore, the fact that this tournament is international will help Herbalife’s expansion globally.

3. And finally the European teams will benefit from expanding their brands overseas and increasing their fan base in the new potential market of 358 million American and Canadian sports fans.  Herbalife Football Challenge is a great example where everybody benefits from the event including organizers, sponsors, teams, players, spectators and media.

What Car? Announce Hankook as Associate Sponsor for Motoring Oscars 25th July, 2011

Hankook one of the world’s largest and fastest growing tyre manufacturers is to become an Associate Sponsor of the 2012 Motoring Oscars, the What Car? Car of The Year Awards. Hankook are also to sponsor the Ultra Low Carbon Award Category.

What Car? publishing director Andrew Golby said: “We’re delighted to welcome Hankook as a partner of the What Car? Awards. Like us, they recognise the increasing importance of low-carbon vehicles, and our readers feel the same way. Car buyers are placing an increasing priority upon energy-efficient technologies, and look to What Car? for guidance. The ultra-low-carbon category is an accolade that every manufacturer will be keen to win, and we look forward to announcing the result of our judging next January.”

Tony Lee, Managing Director Hankook UK said. “Hankook are pleased to become Associate Sponsor of the What Car? 2012 awards, and to also sponsor the Ultra-Low-Carbon category which is very much in line with the launch of our new Kinergy Eco tyre range. Looking after the environment and reducing our CO2 footprint are becoming an increasing concern for today’s consumer.

“The Kinergy Eco tyre combines the very latest materials, like silica nanoparticles, which are not commonplace in this segment, and cutting-edge compound technologies.  This has allowed Hankook to reduce the rolling resistance of the Kinergy Eco by 12 percent.  The energy savings is reflected in lower fuel consumption, thereby contributing to an improved overall CO2 footprint.”

The benefits of the sponsorship agreement includes the alignment with the most authoritative and trusted brand in motoring, brand positioning and awareness to an audience of key influencers and decision makers from the motoring industry.

The What Car? Car of the Year Awards are acknowledged by many as the UK Motoring Oscars.  It is the automotive industry’s best known and most influential awards ceremony and the event is coveted by car makers both in the UK and overseas.  The What Car? awards issue is a key influencer for consumers in their car buying decision making process and is the brands best selling issue and driver of website traffic.

The event is to be held at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane in London on the 11th January with top class entertainment yet to be announced.  Previous headline acts have included Jonathan Ross, Jimmy Carr, Al Murray and Jo Brand.



What Car?, the UK’s biggest car-buying brand, has two magazines, a market-leading website and several established brand extensions. Its flagship magazine has helped Britain’s car buyers make purchasing decisions for more than 30 years, and its tests are widely regarded as the most trusted source of new-car advice.

Latest National Readership survey results indicate that 797,000 people read What Car? magazine every month (NRS Jan-Jun 2010). is the UK’s leading car-buying website, offering trusted reviews and data on every new car. A winner of numerous awards and accolades, is recognised as one of the UK’s leading consumer websites for car purchases and attracts over 2 million visits per month.

What Car? is owned by Haymarket Media Group – 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.


Hankook is one of the world’s largest and fastest growing tyre manufacturers for innovative, high-quality and high-performance radial tyres for passenger cars, light trucks, SUVs, RVs, trucks, and buses as well as motorsports (circuit racing/rallies).  Hankook sells its products in more than 180 countries with production facilities in Asia and Europe currently producing over 86 million tyres annually.

Hankook Tyres were first introduced into the UK in the early 1980s and since then the company has progressively built a level of brand awareness and reputation for quality equalling that of many longer established brands.  The extensive range of tyres are available through a network of quality retailers in support of which Hankook is committed to on-going development and further strategic expansion.

The company invests five percent of its revenues in Research and Development every year.  Their five Research and Development centres in Korea, Germany, USA, China and Japan develop the very latest in market-specific, customised and innovative technologies.  They greatly contribute in providing optimal tyre solutions designed to meet the regional requirements and demands of their customers.

Internationally leading car manufacturers such as Audi, BMW, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Ford, Hyundai, Kia, Opel, and Volkswagen rely on tyres made by Hankook for their original equipment.

Hankook are also involved with several internationally renowned motorsport events including the international touring car series DTM with Audi and Mercedes-Benz and the Le Mans 24 Hour Race with Ferrari.

The company invests some five percent of its revenues in Research and Development every year.  Such research has led to the introduction of the Kinergy Eco line of tyres which combines state-of-the-art tyre technology in the areas of safety, handling, and comfort with the environmental consciousness that is becoming an increasingly important criterion for today’s vehicles.

The Kinergy Eco tyre combines the very latest materials, like silica nanoparticles, which are not commonplace in this segment, and cutting-edge compound technologies.  This has allowed Hankook to reduce the rolling resistance of the Kinergy Eco by 12 percent.  The energy savings is reflected in lower fuel consumption, thereby contributing to an improved overall CO2 footprint.

NHL 2011 Stanley Cup Final Aftermath 4th July, 2011

Blaring of the final horn in the seventh, deciding game of the NHL 2011 Stanley Cup final divided Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins into losers and winners.  Boston Bruins became the Stanley Cup Champions again after long 39 years, what a reason for celebration!

The team celebrated excitedly on ice wearing merchandise already boasting the new Stanley Cup Champions’ logo provided by Reebok Hockey, the main NHL licensee.  The marketing partner Anheuser Busch brewery too made a special Bud Light beer edition with “Boston Bruins the Stanley Cup Champions” logo for the players to toast their victory – promoting sales and thus generating revenue for the NHL as a whole through shared revenues.

The main celebration was scheduled for the streets of Boston, where the team could celebrate together with their fans.  The city parade called the Rolling Rally involved eighteen duck boats carrying cheering players who presented the Stanley Cup to over a million of supporters.

The show also attracted a strong media interest, being broadcasted on both local and national TV networks, thus creating a great opportunity for other marketing partners, in addition to the official NHL partners, including TD Bank and Marriott hotel of Boston Bruins, to activate their sponsorship.  A visible affiliation with the event improved the public awareness of the marketing partners ultimately aiming to alter consumer behaviour.  Owing to the popularity of ice hockey, although still trailing behind NFL, MLB and NBA, large followings of fans, both local and importantly non local fans, were targeted, further improving the economic impact of the event in Boston.

The above is a prime example of the close association of the NHL and its sponsors, which, in the last six years, lead to a much needed, progressive increase in the NHL’s revenue.  This is following a lockout in the 2004-05 season when the NHL was suspended due to the rapid increase in players’ salaries, with only 7 teams of 32 in profit.  A salary cup was introduced then as a precaution calculated as a proportion of the previous season’s revenue.  As the NHL has just announced an increase in the salary cup for the coming season from $59.4 to 64 million, this indicates a good working sponsor partnership as well as efficient budgeting.  The NHL has definitely turned a corner and I look forward to more exciting games to come.

Slingshot Sponsorship agency shortlisted for the highly respected Corporate Engagement Awards 2011 26th May, 2011

Slingshot Sponsorship has been shortlisted for 4 categories at the Corporate Engagement Awards.

London-based sponsorship agency Slingshot has been shortlisted by judges for four categories at the Corporate Engagement Awards for their innovative approach with the Equifax and the Direct Marketing Association UK sponsorship campaign.  Categories shortlisted include Best Communication of Corporate Sponsorship Activity, Best Execution of Sponsorship Activity, Best Brand Awareness, and Best Collaborative Approach.

Four nominations in such highly competitive categories, alongside industry heavyweights including The Royal Bank of Scotland with The Prince’s Trust, BT, Jaguar, the Young Vic with Markit, The Big Issue Foundation and Turner Broadcasting is sound acknowledgement of Slingshot’s growing market position in the sponsorship industry.

The Slingshot Sponsorship agency delivers and develops long-term brand strategies that engage targeted audiences through sponsorship rights.  Integrated and tailored in each approach, Slingshot diversifies across a range of industries with clients based in publishing, events, trade associations, and charities.

Jackie Fast, Managing Director of Slingshot Sponsorship, is thrilled to be shortlisted.  “It is such an achievement to be nominated for four categories alongside some very high profile campaigns.  Since launching the agency in 2010, nomination of our work is real recognition of the growing strength of our agency and underlines the measurable positive impact that our work and insight had on both the sponsor’s and the rights owner’s businesses.”

The strict criteria set out for the Corporate Engagement Awards indicated that only the strongest candidates within the industry would be shortlisted for the award. Slingshot’s successful nominations illustrate its capabilities in creating successful partnerships that generate ROI through sponsorship.

The winners of the Corporate Engagement Awards will be announced at the awards ceremony in London on 19 July 2011.

Building Brand Awareness Through Sponsorship: Equifax & DMA Case Study 16th May, 2011

We recently put together our case study page on our website, but while we are collating all of our case study material, we thought we share the Equifax one on our blog!

For more case studies, be sure to check out the page here.

Sponsorship Objective

Equifax wanted to target prime users and suppliers of data, where data was the most important factor in the success of the business. The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) was approached as having a highly niche audience of senior marketing professionals.  Further research showed that 69% of DMA members quoted data as core to their business (see below).

Importance of data within DMA membership

0 = Not important 10= Data is the most important part of my business

Sponsorship Programmes Initiated

  • Data events/conferences
  • Youth marketing initiatives including Young Spark and Young Direct Marketing Awards
  • Online display throughout DMA website
  • Industry leading research
  • DMA Awards
  • BSi Standard DataSeal


  • Overall brand awareness amongst DMA members increased 29% in 2 years
  • 72% of DMA members are now aware of Equifax
  • DMA members who have never heard of Equifax decreased by 19% in 2 years

Our Overall DMA Sponsorship had impressive results. It was crucial that we saw a genuine return on our investment in this activity and a 29% increase in brand awareness certainly met that objective. By aligning ourselves with the DMA we also put Equifax in a credible ‘thought leadership’ position on the key issue of marketing data which, undoubtedly, will reap rewards for us going forward.

Chris Sherlock, Head of Equifax Marketing Service, Equifax

For more information:

Is Barcelona Football Club Selling Out? 1st March, 2011

In a season where we have seen Torres leave Liverpool for Chelsea (not before he had ‘You’ll never walk alone’ tattooed on his arm) and Rooney demand a transfer only to reconsider once he had an upgrade, football fans would be forgiven in thinking that the game had finally lost its soul.

With all the cash being pumped into the Premier League and numerous new owners buying their way into the hype, as a fan you can’t help but feel less engaged with the game.

Barcelona Football Club is a great example of the shift in football sponsorship funding.  For years, Catalan purists raved about 111 years without a sponsor.   The positioning showcased their love of the game and created fan loyalty to their brand.  This year, they provided the main shirt sponsorship spot to UNICEF – providing this charity a fantastic opportunity to drive awareness and raise much needed funds to the cause.  Through this sponsorship, Barcelona was able to create an emotional response from their fans by supporting UNICEF in this way – further increasing their fan loyalty.  It also provided a stepping stone for the club into brand sponsorship ensuring that they didn’t isolate their die hard supporters.

The introduction of UNICEF’s sponsorship has helped pave the way for the Qatar Foundation to come on board as an official sponsor through a 5 year deal for a total cost of £125 million. The non-profit foundation funded by the Al-Thani family, has splashed out on one of the most lucrative sponsorship opportunities available.  This raised further issues with the winning bid for the 2022 World Cup with many of the rival bids believing the deal was in place before, as the Barcelona team had such an influential part to play in their selection.  

Speculation indeed, but whatever the answer this is certainly one of the most far reaching and eye catching sponsorship deals this year. Manchester United’s sponsorship deal worth £80 million over 4 years with AON in 2009 now seems like a distant memory.

Charity Sponsorship: Top 5 Reasons Why Companies Get Involved 24th February, 2011

With the current economic downturn and the critical financial issues of the market, it is vital that companies find new ways to differentiate themselves against their competitors and increase brand awareness amongst their target audience.  There are a number of ways to do this, but one of the best ways to increase brand awareness is through sponsorship – specifically sponsorship in relation to charitable work and activities.

Brands have been involved with charities as part of their corporate social responsibility positioning for decades.  However, a recent occurrence that is increasing is linking brand support of charities through marketing campaigns and sponsorship activation.  Associating charitable support through sponsorship rights is an effective way to create an emotive response alongside the goodwill already built through their sponsorship activation.

But what are the reasons that drive a company to sponsor a charity? Although there are many reasons, here are our top 5:

1.  Increasing brand loyalty: sponsoring a charity is a business deal rather than a charitable donation. Companies choose to sponsor a charity in order to align their PR activity with a cause-related issue that enables them to build or increase their reputation amongst their target market.

2.  Brand differentiation: sponsoring a charity has the potential to differentiate their brand against other competitors who don’t support charities.

3.  Awareness and visibility: as charities typically rely on volunteers to run their business and have small marketing budgets, social media plays a vital role in their marketing strategy.  Brands who are involved with charitable work can typically work with the charities to utilise these social networks in order to promote their association providing a greater reach into a different audience.

4.  Highlighting corporate social responsibility: supporting a charity enhances a company’s credibility in a way that can spread a positive attitude amongst their audience and help them reach a new market.

5.  Client entertainment:  this can form a key part of a brands strategy, especially in regards to cultural or athletic events in which brands can activate their experiential marketing campaigns and/or meet with key individuals.