London Twenty What? Brands opt for sponsorship flings as opposed to the ball and chain
28th July, 2014
Whatever happened to legacy? During the 2012 London Olympics we could scarcely move for the word, and in regards to sponsorship there is very little evidence of it. Since 2012 there have been four major global sporting events and yet still very few campaigns follow on after the life of an event. And why not?
As Lucien Boyer explains, the buzz of an event doesn’t last forever and as such brands should look to the long term if they want their partnership to provide an effective return, rather than being accused of ‘cashing in’. Sponsorship should be seen as a marriage between the event, marketing, and its values and vision. A long-term partnership sets a clear direction for a company’s future marketing, allowing the brand to develop a strong message and engage with the target audience consistently over time.
The London Olympics and subsequent 5 years offered a plethora of global athletic events all located within the UK; first London 2012, now the Glasgow 2014 Games, and soon to follow the London 2017 World Athletic Championships (not to mention GB competing at Rio 2016). If a brand had wanted to align themselves with the values of athletics and use global sport as a means to engage the audience (UK or abroad) there might rarely have been a better opportunity.
Sainsbury’s serves as a prime example in delivering sponsorship this way. Having sponsored the 2012 Paralympic games to great effect (as the only ‘big four’ supermarket to make gains in market share during this period posting a 5.6% increase YOY), Sainsbury’s didn’t stop there. They finalised an agreement to partner with the British Paralympic Association for the next four years and also to sponsor the British Athletics Major Event series, including the Anniversary Games and British Grand Prix in August. In addition to this they launched a one million pound scheme to provide coaching and facilities to help disabled children lead more active lives providing an ROI that “will not just be measured in pure marketing terms”.
So having returned this week from a jaunt north of the boarder to indulge in the Commonwealth Games, I couldn’t help but hear that word again on everyone’s lips. One of Glasgow’s major sponsors SSE is looking to change this. As an Official Partner to the games, SSE used an onsite Twitter leader board to engage on Twitter and experientially at the Green Zone. Furthermore, they had a number of brand ambassadors from the home counties, provided long term naming rights for the SSE Hydro (hosting the netball and gymnastics), and are looking to continue the long term effects by increasing the funding for the SSE Next Generation programme giving support to aspiring athletes in the UK. Only time will tell with how much vigour brands will continue to engage now the curtain has closed on Glasgow. Who knows, come Rio 2016 perhaps the word ‘legado’ will never even be uttered.