Need to know

  • According to a 2019 Kantar study into consumer attitudes to advertising, 89% of UK audiences and 79% of French audiences either dislike or are indifferent towards advertising
  • In the absence of equivalent research, similar assumptions can be made around consumer attitudes to sponsorship
  • The start of summer 2019 will see many exclusive sporting events, such as the UEFA Champions League Final and ICC World Cup. These comprise a high-profile roster of sponsors that hold their involvement in these properties in very high esteem
  • However, the role sponsors play in the fan experience is overestimated: unless sponsors play a useful role in the fan experience – such as a beer, soft drink or snacks brand – it is difficult for fans to understand why a sponsor is there
  • Sponsors will always struggle to be heard in a noisy environment of many players: a survey by Kantar from the 2017/18 Champions League season revealed that of all the social media conversation around the tournament (6.4 billion “interactions”), sponsors contributed to just 1% of the overall chatter
  • Sponsorship’s role in the marketing mix is the same as other forms of communication – they are all drivers of mental availability. Immersing your brand in emotionally charged environments, such as a sporting event, can drive mental availability, but few have cracked a total measurement solution from awareness down to conversion
  • Understanding the sporting and fan environment will help sponsors plan in a way that is realistic relative to aims and objectives
  • Get under the skin of what fans want to see and hear. Focus on what the fan likes in terms of tone and manner and be distinct. Where possible, use plenty of media budget and assume others will do the same (things rarely go viral organically) and hope for a bit of good fortune
  • For longer-running sporting events, such as UEFA, the key to sponsorship activation is timing – how to maintain presence and rhythm as a sponsor without exhausting your budget and your resources too early
  • Cricket is akin to religion in India and provides one of the best platforms to crack into a market comprising 1.3 billion people. Brands, such as Nissan, Emirates, MRF and Oppo (a sponsor of the Indian national team) have committed to multi-year global deals because of the opportunity to build business in the market.