Slingshot Sponsorship wins SME News’ most innovative sponsorship agency award for 2018. 27th November, 2018

Slingshot Sponsorship wins SME News’ most innovative sponsorship agency award for 2018.

 

London, UK, 27/11/18 – Slingshot Sponsorship, a strategic sponsorship agency, has today been named 2018’s most innovative sponsorship agency by SME News as part of their Business Elite Programme.

SME News (a brand of AI Global Media) is a quarterly publication which draws on a UK wide network of industry insiders to provide CEO’s, leaders and decision makers with cutting edge features, the latest news and industry deals.

The awards programme, strives to showcase the talent, hard work and commitment of SME firms from a vast array of industries across the UK. Its Business Elite program is formulated on the back of months of qualitative and quantitative research to ensure that its awards are a true representation of the very best that the SME environment has to offer. This tried and tested method ensures that each and every award is given on a strictly a merit basis,

Kieran Morris, Director of Slingshot Sponsorship stated: “We are extremely proud to win this award from SME News. We have had a great year creating and evaluating sponsorship opportunities for our clients including Extreme Tech Challenge, London New Year’s Day Parade, NOW TV and Southbank Wintertime Festival. Winning this award has topped a great year and we can’t wait to see what 2019 brings!”

To see the full list of winners, click here.

About Slingshot Sponsorship

Slingshot Sponsorship is an innovative strategic sponsorship agency based in Central London with offices around the world.  Slingshot works across all industry sectors to help organisations identify, create and optimise assets so they become engaging marketing opportunities for brands to partner with.  Clients include diverse verticals such as publishing, events, music artist rights, award programmes, music festivals, business conferences, sports teams and charities – all with a desire of pushing the boundaries in traditional sponsorship.

For comments and information, please contact:

Kieran Morris, Director, Slingshot Sponsorship

Telephone: +44 (0)7527 784019

Email: kieran@slingshotsponsorship.com


“Enter At Your Own Peril” : Sponsor Association With Controversial Brand Ambassadors 23rd September, 2013

 

“The role of a brand ambassador – the brand ambassador is a marketing model that employs trusted, credible personalities to promote and give greater visibility to its brand products

It seems, historically, that sport and scandal have gone hand-in-hand. Over the past five years there have been multiple athletes in the upper echelons of their respected fields that have been subject to a public fall from grace. For the sponsor, the usual protocol will be to run for the hills, and withdraw any association with the respected star. However, there are some exceptions, and brands do, in some cases, stick by or re-invest in their asset – but under what circumstance and why?

Level Of Association

If the player is either an integral part of the sponsors make up, or headline star, then it makes the job of getting rid of them, and keeping to your marketing strategy a lot harder. Woods, of course, has been embezzled with the swoosh his entire career, this can also be said of Wayne Rooney. However Ryan Giggs has not been so fortunate, despite being held up as headline moral ambassador for his maturity, the star ended up being shunned by a number of his sponsors for a comparable offense to that of Rooney or Woods.

Bankability

The commercial revenue generated by any ambassador is integral to their credentials, and can play a significant role in the decision making process. In Woods and Rooney’s case, both EA games and Nike had complete product ranges centered on them, and commercially had too much to lose.

Sponsor’s market place

Accenture was Woods’s big loss in the aftermath of the scandal around his affair. The firm could not justify sporting a star whilst marketing themselves as a trusted Business Consultancy. Brands have ambassadors for a multitude of reasons, but they must be able to link their common values and business goals. In contrast, Alex Rodriguez, was still used by Guitar Hero in their adverts even after he admitted to taking banned substances. The business case for this was that Guitar Hero’s product was not affiliated with his sporting attributes, but his public personality.

The Offense

The line with which most brands have consistently taken when suspending contracts, has been when the ambassador’s actions directly affect the relationship they have with the respected brand’s promotional attributes. In the case of Drugs there has been a 100% termination rate in sport. However, in the case of Kate Moss and the fashion industry, the offence was taken very differently. Although she did lose substantial contracts, Moss managed to retain seven, and go on to re-build her career, something which has never been seen on such a scale in sport.

There is no doubt that trust in ambassadors has publically waned, as such, there has been a shift in how brands market their ambassadors. Recent campaigns by brands such as Nike illustrate that the focus is now upon empowering the consumer, rather than showboating the skills of an untouchable star. Even in fashion, couture designers are collaborating with high street fashion chains to bring their products to a consumer level. This shift undoubtedly showcases ambassadors but does much to bring the star or garment to the consumers level, retaining brand loyalty, which is essential in a very fickle market place.

It’s the end product that matters

As the quote above states, ambassadors uphold the values of the product they promote, and being the lucrative tool which they are, brands will do anything to protect them. However no one is bigger than the brand and on a case-by-case basis, the outcome of each offense is dictated by the relationship between the star and the value of the product they endorse.


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.

The Art of Brand Storytelling 26th February, 2013

In a recent article, Rebecca Walton, the newly appointed head of brand for UNICEF expressed the need for the charity to develop a central brand narrative.  The reasoning behind such a claim is in sight of two main aims – firstly, to better integrate its marketing and secondly, to boost its appeal to supporters within the UK.

Reading the article triggered an initial thought in my mind, which traced back to a piece I read at the end of last year in Direct Marketing News – which stated 2012 to be ‘the year of the story.’  Indeed, 2012 exemplified the notion that brands and charities alike have to utilise upon their brand narrative, and storytelling in order to deliver their message and increase their level of engagement with the consumer.  In an age where anything is available at the touch of a button – the importance of delivering the right message or story is critical.

Of course, the relationship between the brand and the art of storytelling has been around for years – you only have to look at some of worlds most loved brands and you will know and understand their brand story, take for example, Ben & Jerry’s.  Yet what distinguishes these brands from most others is that their narrative truly engages with the consumer.  Not only do Ben & Jerry’s promote their own story, it seeks to integrate the consumer’s story within it, see for example, their ‘Capture Euphoria’ campaign which encouraged Ben & Jerry’s fans to upload photos of themselves in situations where they felt Euphoric onto Instagram.

Unlike Ben & Jerry’s, UNICEF believes that it has not created enough of a brand narrative through which to engage with the public.  However, Watson expresses, ‘UNICEF is very trusted, it’s very rational and intelligent’ yet she feels that as a charity, it is sometimes overlooked.  UNICEF’s decision to develop its brand narrative highlights so significantly that yes, content is key, but what has developed to become equally as important is how the brand story and its content is delivered.  Walton explains that the internal shift within UNICEF is designed to make its communications and brand marketing ‘more strategic, more integrated and more effective.’  As witnessed throughout the industry, brand narrative can be used as a powerful marketing tool, but if they are not communicated in the right way, the connection between charity/brand and consumer can be tainted and sometimes even disengaged.

What is most fascinating about brand storytelling and engagement is the avenues that can be explored through the development of technology.  Technological innovations in relation to communication channels have seen the development of Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram to become part of the overall brand narrative.  Such communication tools allow the consumer to engage with the brand whenever and wherever they so wish.  Encouraging the consumer to immerse and engage themselves with the brand’s story – in the hope that the targeted audience will have a life-long affinity to the brand which in UNICEF’s case, should lead to support and donations.

As another element to UNICEF’s new brand strategy, the charity has decided to focus on partnerships and public engagement.  The charity wishes to build on its existing partnerships with the International Cricket Council and will seek to explore additional avenues into sports.  What is becoming ever more apparent is the use of partnerships as a means to target the audiences charities/brands wish to engage with.  Partnerships allow charities/brands to engage in activities which in many cases lead to progress and an expansion of the overall brand narrative.

If we relate back to UNICEF’s two main aims to develop their brand narrative: to integrate its marketing and boost its appeal to UK supporters.  What we are able to learn from this decision is the importance of not only the brand story itself, but the means through which it is communicated.  Technological advancement and the inter-connectivity that has escalated from it, alongside strategic partnerships can help develop and expand a brand’s story into avenues towards audiences that previously may never have been reached.

Red Bull Challenges F1's Sponsorship Stallion 5th December, 2012

In the last couple of weeks, the Red Bull Racing and Sebastian Vettel vs. Ferrari and Fernando Alonso rivalry has dominated sporting headlines. In the end it was yet again the former who took both the Constructers’ and the Drivers’ World Championship titles in the thrilling Formula 1 season finale in Brazil. This nail-biting end to the season has prompted a closer look at the team’s and driver’s success off the track and their contention for the commercial crown.

The Constructers’ (Sponsorship) Championship:

Despite prize money being in the millions, sponsorship is by far the key source of revenue for both teams and their drivers which begs the question: who is leading the commercial championship?

According to Forbes’ latest list of the ‘Formula One’s Most Valuable Teams’ Ferrari’s total revenue is estimated to be around £240m with £190m being generated from sponsorship alone. Nearly £155m is generated via three major deals with Shell, Santander and title sponsorship partner Marlboro. These three deals are worth more than any other team’s total sponsorship revenue.

But what about Red Bull Racing? Out of all teams on the grid, they are surprisingly down in fourth in the overall revenue standings at £100m in 2011. 60% of this revenue comes from Red Bull’s success on the track earning them more prize money than any other team in the championship however the contribution from sponsors falls significantly shorter than Ferrari, coming to £38m positioning the team in the middle of the sponsorship field. The main reason for this is that the brand does not seek sponsors for most of their advertising space as this is generally used for self-promotion. As opposed to Ferrari (whose title sponsor is Marlboro at £100m) and other leading teams like McLaren Mercedes (Vodafone, £47m) and Mercedes AMG F1 (Petronas, £35m), Red Bull is sacrificing a significant amount of commercial opportunity in this area. However, this may all be about to change with the constructors’ champions securing their first title sponsorship deal with Nissan’s luxury arm, Infiniti.

When reviewing the revenue potential of both teams, Ferrari should still be out of reach in the short-term with regards to team value however with Red Bull being the fastest growing team in the paddock, the commercial gap is certainly narrowing.

The Drivers’ (Sponsorship) Championship:

Are Vettel and Alonso also competing for a sponsorship title? In his latest blog post, Mark Mylam asked whether sports men and women as brand ambassadors were really worth the money from a sponsor’s perspective as there is always a risk associated with their image deteriorating and affecting the image of the endorsed brand. An almost risk-free sportsman for instance could be Sebastian Vettel. The driver is unarguably one of the most charismatic Formula 1 drivers, as demonstrated at last year’s Autosport Awards and although his interview at the podium ceremony of Abu Dhabi included some strong words, nothing seems to be able to tarnish his image. This is why Sebastian Vettel, who manages his endorsement deals himself, enjoys lucrative sponsorship deals with Casio and Procter & Gamble’s Head & Shoulders worth around £2m in total, according to a study carried out by Sport + Markt.

Fernando Alonso, on the other hand, seems to have a completely different persona. One could perceive him as being rather introverted although he is not one to shy away from commercial opportunities with earnings upwards of £6m through his deals with Santander, Tag-Heuer and Puma in 2011. This positions Alonso at the top of the sponsorship leaderboard with Michael Schumacher way behind at £3.5m and Lewis Hamilton (£2.5m) ahead of both Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button, both at £2m. Marcel Cordes, Executive Director at Sport + Markt, points out that it is unlikely that Vettel will be able to close this gap as “he (Vettel) is already very strongly associated with the Red Bull brand”. Also, Sebastian Vettel is not interested in signing sponsorship deals just for the sake of securing a higher income. He’s already stated in the media: “It is not a goal for me to earn more money. For me, it is important that the brand is ideally suited to me”.

Compared to other sports stars like Roger Federer or Kobe Bryant, sponsorship earnings of Formula 1 drivers are minimal because in most cases, the teams control almost all of their driver’s sponsorship rights.

It is interesting to see that championship wins have by no means been reflective of either team’s or drivers’ respective commercial successes but will this continue into 2013? With the pressure mounting on Sebastian Vettel, could we see Ferrari’s sponsorship stallion overtake the Red Bull both on the track as well as off or will the power of the ‘Vettrick’ prove too much to contend with? Let us know your thoughts!

Is Innovation No Longer Innovative? 28th November, 2012

In a recent article, Proctor & Gamble stated that they wish to triple their rate of innovation.  Such a drive towards innovation is motivated by the belief that it will ‘lead to significant share increases, category growth and competitive advantage.’  The term innovation is now used more than ever, with many companies citing ‘innovation’ as a main focus point for profit and growth.  Indeed, the current economic climate has left brands, rights-holders and agencies to re-assess their strategies, with many recognising the need to deliver creative strategies and activations that stand out, or are considered ‘innovative.’

The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) surveyed more than 1,200 UK marketers, 40% of which expect their organisations to embrace more risk and ambition over the next 12 months. This is also emphasised through P&G who, along with the company’s strive towards innovation, has stated that they will cut back on traditional marketing campaigns and focus time and money on high impact based strategies.  In light of P & G’s strategic developments, and the current influx of the term ‘innovation,’ I want to gain a better understanding of what innovation really is.

I want to understand what makes something truly innovative against a strategy or activation that is high in impact or creative.  (I do this in the hope to find a new term that has similar connotations, but is tailored to Slingshot’s own values.)

The problem with defining Innovation

One of the main difficulties when discussing innovation in relation to brands and agencies is finding a consistent definition as innovation varies when discussed between individuals, agencies and industries alike.  Innovation comes from the Latin term innovatus meaning ‘renewal or change.’  As a term, however, innovation has developed to offer a wide range of values brands and agencies want to be associated with.  Innovation implies an amalgamation of creativity, risk taking, the breaking of boundaries.  It refers to changing how an industry works, how an agency works, how individuals conduct their lives or changes what they perceive as normality; innovation implies creativity in an otherwise saturated market.

Whatever the definition, what is most important is that in many cases, agencies and brands that claim to innovate are not innovating and this is diluting the value of the term itself.  A while ago, Synergy asked individuals to vote on their no. 1 sporting innovation of all time.  In the running was the signing of IMG between McCormack and Palmer, with the birth of modern sport marketing.  The overall winner was the signing of Michael Jordan to Nike and the subsequent creation of the Air Jordan.

What is it that makes these examples so special? Well, IMG created one of the largest and lucrative industries in the world; and the launch of the Air Jordan marked the beginning of sports stars as worldwide brand ambassadors, and also defined the way that Nike brand today.  If we go back to the original Latin translation, these examples are true innovations as they both changed the industry.  Of course these examples are on a very large scale, and it can be stated that true innovations such as these occur very rarely, but I believe that the term innovation should be saved for instances that truly change the way people look and think about brands/agencies/industries.

What is important to recognise is that with the advancement of technology, there are so many avenues for brands and agencies to explore new ways to engage with the consumer.  If you look at Outlook Festival’s want for 3D visual artists, architects and designers to get involved to create unique stage experiences for festival goers.  Indeed, human experience is of the utmost importance when assessing sponsorship activations; and new technologies are taking human experiences to a new level.  There is no doubt that over the next decade at least, the industry will be looking for creative and exciting activations; it will be looking for ‘innovation.’  I believe that there are so many regions to explore, and all of the connotations associated with innovation are positive, we just need to find a new word.

EPL, Bendtner & Nalbandian: How Branding IS Still Relevant, No Matter What The Cost 2nd August, 2012

I wrote a blog a few months ago called ‘Sponsorship – More Than Just Branding’.  Whilst it’s palpable that sponsorship has evolved into far more than straightforward logo placement, it’s important not to forget that branding – be it via naming rights, advertising hoardings or shirt sponsorships – is still relevant within our industry and most importantly, still deemed hugely valuable in the eyes of sponsors.

On Monday, General Motors signed a colossal £175 million deal with Manchester United that will see the Chevrolet logo replace Aon on the front of the club’s shirt for the next seven years.  Chevrolet will be provided with numerous additional benefits from their shirt sponsorship (via advertising, hospitality etc.) but primarily their logo position on United’s shirts will promote brand perception of ‘success, speed and superiority’.  Further it will automatically garner favour with United’s 659 million followers worldwide, as General Motor’s VP for N. America states: ‘this is about connecting the brand with Manchester United and its passionate supporters around the world.’

And it’s not just the Premier League’s most famous teams that are seeing such significant returns on shirt sponsorships, with the likes of Sunderland attracting substantial investment from their lucrative partnership with Invest in Africa. Recent figures reveal a 25% increase in English Premier League shirt sponsorship to £147 million, dampening fears that the EPL as a brand would suffer as the British economy entered its second dip in four years.

Now, while these shirt sponsorships represent the more expensive side of branding within sponsorship, a couple of incidents a month or so ago, illustrate that (clever/accidental) logo placement can still generate positive brand perception and awareness on a budget.

Firstly, David Nalb(r)andian  took out a knee-height Nike hoarding, along with an umpires shin, after failing to return a base-line shot from Marin Cilic.  This was followed shortly by the boxer-gate affair surrounding Nicklas Bendtner’s Paddy Power lined briefs, which he revealed after scoring his second goal in Denmark’s 3-2 defeat to Portugal.

Both men were disciplined accordingly – Nalbandian receiving disqualification from Queens and Bendtner receiving a hefty fine – and received their fair share of press attention.  Granted the Nike hoarding board was not the focal point of such attention over Nalbandian’s kick-out, but it was in Bendtner’s case, and Paddy Power got a huge amount of publicity and engagement out of it.

Their Facebook page was awash with comments from users acclaiming their ‘genius’ marketing strategy and the story was covered byevery major broadsheet.  While I don’t conform to the consensus that a distinctly average footballer wearing a green pair of briefsconstitutes exceptional intellectual aptitude, it was rather clever.

For just £80,000 (the price of Bendtner’s fine, which Paddy Power agreed to pay) the Irish bookmakers got nationwide exposure and saw thousands of additional online users flock to see what other mischief Paddy Power have been up to.

Obviously Bendtner’s boxers can’t be compared with Chevrolet’s United sponsorship in terms of worldwide reach, but you’d be hard pushed to say that it’s not better value!

Olympic Sponsorship: Remember the Positives 30th July, 2012

Whilst awareness of Olympic-association is of course growing for official sponsors of the Games, the recent controversy surrounding LOCOG’s increasingly stringent sponsorship policies and the subsequent public outrage is resulting in certain sponsorships becoming dangerously close to having an adverse effect on certain brands – quite a significant problem after investing hundreds of millions with the aim of using the platform to enhance brand perceptions.

Although some sponsors may have demanded a little too much exclusivity i.e. Visa and McDonalds, the latest issues have taken complaints to a new level. The first concerns Coca-Cola and Lord Coe’s comment stating that attendees ‘probably wouldn’t be walking in (to the Olympic Village) with a Pepsi T-shirt’ which is, of course, ridiculous. Despite the off-chance of hundreds of fans herding into the Village wearing Pepsi-branded clothing, this would have miniscule, if any, effect on either brands’ perception or the Olympic campaigns, activations and initiatives executed by Coca-Cola. The second issue is the numerous events proving to be half empty due to ticket allocations not being utilised – this resulting in understandable public outrage however the blame spreads across multiple parties including National Olympic Committees, the IOC and the media in addition to sponsors.

With a negative cloud beginning to descend over the concept of sponsorship in general, I wanted to add to the refreshing comments of Evening Standard Editor, Sarah Sands’ recent article shedding some light on why ‘sponsors are the good guys not the villains’.

On the whole, sponsors are providing vital products and services to the Olympics whilst simultaneously raising awareness of the event in all corners of the world. Acer, the official computing equipment partner of the Games, has been responsible for the installation of an enormous technology infrastructure – no small feat and a significant cost saved for LOCOG. Likewise for GE who have contributed heavily towards key infrastructures across transportation, energy, lighting and medical equipment. Coca-Cola, despite the controversy over branding and health, have invested millions in grass roots sports and vow that 75% of their products consumed at the Games will be sugar-free. With significant value being added by all Olympic partners, the positives of sponsorship significantly outweigh the negatives. (Of course, there is also the added benefit that they provide hundreds of millions of pounds in revenue and in turn lower the cost of the Games to the tax-payer.)

It is important to remember that the art of successful sponsorship is creating a relationship that simultaneously benefits the sponsor, the audience and the rights holder with it ultimately being the responsibility of the latter i.e. LOCOG to get as close to this harmonious balance as possible.

The Olympic Committee is evidently yet to find this balance with certain partners but when weighing up the pros and cons, sponsors cannot be viewed as the bad guys. After all, despite recently sympathising with protesters, Jacques Rogge hits the nail on the head when stating that “Quite simply, staging the Olympic Games would not be possible without our partners.”