Esprit Sponsorship was this week appointed sponsorship agent for London Underground (LU).
“We’re looking at anything from name association to full sponsorship of the entire LU system,” says Esprit account director Marcus Wight.
However, care will need to be taken to avoid unnecessary duplication with the activities of LTA Advertising, which handles advertising sales for LU he adds. “The main problem will be to distinguish what is advertising and what is sponsorship.”
LTA was bought last year by US group Transport Displays Inc (TDI). TDI has already discussed the possibility of wrapping trains with its logos with advertisers.
“Part of it will undoubtedly come down to what the sponsorship is,” agrees LTA managing director Jeremy Male. But he stresses that Esprit will work more on longer-term projects.
The appointment of Esprit is the latest move by LU to boost income from sources other than fares.
“London Underground can offer marketers unrivalled access to a prosperous group of ABC1 London commuters, as well as overseas tourists,” says LU director of development David Bailey.
In the past, LU has attracted sponsorship in special circumstances, such as for New Year’s Eve travel. It once secured Harrods as sponsor for Knightsbridge tube station. However, until now, sponsorship has never formed a part of its strategic plans.