Judgement day for sponsorship entries

Rosemary Sarginson, chairman of the judges, and publishing director of Hollis.

If anyone still needs convincing that sponsorship really can work, can effect image change, does pay back and can be used as the linchpin of a marketing strategy, then the nominations and the winning campaigns of the Hollis Sponsorship Awards should make persuasive reading.

Avon Insurance, for example, wanted to motivate its network of brokers: the company experienced an 80 per cent increase in business as a direct result of its sponsorship of the Avon Insurance Combination. Morale among staff at the Nationwide Building Society was poor: its partnership with the Cancer Relief Macmillan Fund resulted in a significant increase in employee satisfaction levels.

The diversity of entry, from the biggest budget to the smallest in-kind support, is evidence of sponsorship’s adaptability and its effectiveness in talking to mass audiences and discrete target groups.

Competition was tough among the entries, and the quality good. There were, however, still too many cloudy objectives, post-campaign rationalisations, and too much emphasis placed on press cuttings achieved and media value, rather than analysis of how the sponsorship affected sales or on how the sponsorship affected consumer attitude towards the company or brand.

The Hollis Sponsorship Awards, which seek to reward campaigns that demonstrate well-defined objectives, fine creative work and good results (and most importantly results which match the original objectives), are run in association with the ESCA, the European Sponsorship Consultants Association. The Sponsorship of the Year Award, won by Van den Bergh brand Flora, is sponsored by sponsorship lawyers Townleys.

The five categories in the awards are: Corporate Sponsorship, Brand Sponsorship, First-time Sponsor, Continuity and Pan-European (the ESCA Pan-European Award).

Judges were Jonathan Nye, former head of sponsorship at Bass Brewers, and now handling Nike’s sponsorships in the UK; Rodger Broad, programme manager of sponsorship at BT; Adrian Hitchen of research agency Sri; Mike Bloxham of The Bloxham Group; Robin Ford of Dean Street Marketing; Karen Earl of Karen Earl Ltd; and Bob Peach, an independent consultant.”

Corporate Sponsorship


Project: The NatWest Trophy

Sponsor: NatWest UK

Agency: Orbit International

Cricket was chosen as the game which would appeal most to the bank’s target market, and the event chosen by NatWest delivered 12 weeks’ media exposure, with a final at Lord’s. The objective of the sponsorship programme was to reposition the bank as an approachable, contemporary business, while retaining the traditional, positive values of a major British financial institution. The promotional programme included perimeter and secondary signage in the cricket ground and corporate hospitality in the NatWest Pavilion. Promotions were offered in branches, through ATMs, credit cards, entry leaflets and database capture. Media promotions included title sponsorship of The Telegraph Fantasy Cricket.

Project: BT Swimathon

Sponsor: British Telecom

Agency: London Events Agency

The Swimathon is Europe’s largest participatory sporting event, combining a swimming challenge with charity fundraising. The event is held over one week in March when members of the public throughout the UK swim a timed distance to raise funds for charities. The highest-ever number of swimmers, 46,000, registered for the 1996 event and raised 1.39m – more than three times BT’s original investment. The sponsorship has also resulted in further development opportunities, such as the BT Blue Peter Swimathon, BT Athletics and the BT National Curriculum development scheme.


Project: Lloyds Bank Channel 4 Film Challenge

Sponsor: Lloyds Bank

Agency: Karen Earl Ltd

The Challenge encourages young people aged 11 to 25-years-old to submit short film scripts. Six winning scripts are then made into films and broadcast on Channel 4. The Challenge has been set up to establish a link between Lloyds Bank and young people and promote the bank as forward-thinking, and offering youth opportunities. Last year’s Challenge received 2,500 entries. When the films were broadcast, a cumulative audience of 8.7 million was achieved, with 27 per cent of 16 to 34-year-olds reached. The media coverage was evaluated to be in excess of 500,000.

Brand Sponsorship


Project: Euro 96

Sponsor: MasterCard International

Agency: Advantage International

Euro 96 represented MasterCard’s largest advertising initiative. All eight banks executed Euro 96 promotions including statement inserts, direct mail and cardholder sweepstakes. MasterCard placed 14 Welcome Centres in host cities to distribute free branded items and conducted business-building promotions both nationally and in the host cities. Unaided brand awareness in the UK increased overall by five per cent and, in the eight host cities, the increase grew by 11 per cent. The reach of the adult population in London was 85 per cent.

Project: Euro 96

Sponsor: Coca-Cola

Agency: Karen Earl Ltd

The advertising campaign aimed to show the company’s understanding of football fans and embrace their passion for the sport. A multi-million pound campaign used the “Eat, Sleep, Drink Coca Cola” executions and thousands of Coca-Cola/Umbro training tops were issued. Coca-Cola underwent a comprehensive city dressing programme in each of the eight host cities plus Wembley, and also sponsored the official Euro 96 CD. Coca-Cola was the highest recalled sponsor of Euro 96.


(Sponsored by Townleys Sponsorship Lawyers)

Project: Flora London Marathon

Sponsor: Flora (Van den Bergh Foods)

Agency: Van den Bergh Foods

The objective of this sponsorship programme was to achieve in the first year, a spontaneous awareness of Flora as sponsor of the Marathon, of greater than 25 per cent. A marketing spend of 6m was spent promoting the association, including TV commercials and on-air promotions on Capital Radio, and to door drop leaflet to 10 million homes. A 35 per cent spontaneous awareness level was achieved, along with an unfactored media value of more than 8.5m. The increased profile of the event resulted in the contracted BBC viewing figures increasing by 100 per cent to million.

First-Time Sponsor


Project: SRU Tennent’s Championship and Cup

Sponsor: Tennent Caledonian Breweries

Agency: The Sports Business

To maximise Tennent’s profile in the rugby community, the company targeted key influencers, such as rights bodies, clubs, players and referees. The “official brewer” status was leveraged to maximise media exposure and the SRU Tennent’s Cup Final was aggressively developed and marketed as a product created by Tennent’s. The aim was to build “emotional” relationships with the target audience – 20 to 45-year-old ABC1 males, by developing and adding value to the property of Scottish rugby and to build credibility for the Tennent’s ales portfolio. After only one season, Tennent’s say prompted awareness of the sponsorship reached almost 50 per cent among the target audience, with 42 per cent feeling that the event had improved as a result of Tennent’s involvement.


Project: Avon Insurance Combination

Sponsor: Avon Insurance

Agency: The Sponsorship Consultancy

The aim of the sponsorship programme was to build relationships with key brokers and to increase name awareness of Avon Insurance among consumers. The broker support activity included hospitality at first team matches of member clubs and local community awards in conjunction with key brokers. More than 80 per cent of Avon’s 150 key brokers have used the hospitality facilities and participated in the awards and local community programmes. The brokers involved with the sponsorship provided Avon with 6m worth of business, up 16 per cent on 1995. Avon says the sponsorship is responsible for earning them over 800,000 of additional income each year in return for minimal marketing investment.

Sponsorship Continuity


Project: T In The Park

Sponsor: Tennent Caledonian Breweries

Agency: KLP

To attract the 18 to 24-year-old sector, the sponsorship is aimed at delivering a more contemporary and relevant set of brand values through a multi-media communications programme. Key to the success of the marketing campaign is the fact that the Tennent’s Lager logo, a red T, is included in every piece of communication both at the music festival, and before and after. The 66,000 tickets sold out at last year’s festival, an increase of 6,000 on 1995. The object of the exercise is to play a key role in reversing the fortunes of Tennent’s Lager in the face of stiff competition, particularly from premium bottled lagers. Last year, for the first time in a decade, the brand showed year-on-year growth across the three key


Project: Coca-Cola Cup England

Sponsor: Coca-Cola

Agency: Karen Earl Ltd

According to Coca-Cola, the Cup provides the platform from which to demonstrate its complete involvement in the game. A combination of branding, PR, media, advertising and promotions were used throughout, culminating in the Final at Wembley. The objectives over the five years of the sponsorship have been to reach the brand’s target audience of 12 to 19-year-olds, as well as deliver key brand messages. Coca-Cola says attendance at the League Cup games have increased by 15 per cent when Coca-Cola became the sponsor, and has maintained a similar increase year-on-year.


Project: Nationwide Macmillan Campaign

Sponsor: Nationwide Building Society

Agency: Nationwide Building Society (Community Affairs Department)

Three national events were set up to provide continuity within and between each year of the cancer relief campaign. These events were supported by other activities, such as breast cancer activities. Macmillan fund lapel badges were re-launched to counteract fatigue and loss of interest. AGM voting was linked to donations, and cause-related marketing was undertaken. The target audience for the campaign were customers, employees and the media. Employee motivation and morale was an important objective, as well as raising a substantial sum for Macmillan. The campaign has raised 1.1m so far.

The ESCA Pan-European

Award Nominations


Project: 1996 Olympic Games

Sponsor: IBM EMEA

Agency: Advantage International

IBM created the EMEA Olympic Project Office to co-ordinate the sponsorship programme. The campaign ran in the 12 key European markets with TV as the prime media, giving exposure to 300 million people. EMEA press briefings resulted in articles reaching 135 million people.

Project: Water of Life

Sponsor: Guinness plc

Agency: Guinness

The Water of Life has developed as a brand in much the same way as one of the company’s drinks. Consistent design material is used worldwide and individual projects are selected on the basis that they not only make a tangible contribution to the community but will effectively communicate the project’s key message to the group’s target audience. The initiative is now funding 50 water-related projects in 25 countries across six continents.


Project: Teacher’s Jazz

Sponsor: Teacher’s Highland Cream/Allied Domecq Spirits & Wines

Agency: Scope Ketchum Sponsorship

Backdrops, logo boards and staff merchandise were used to brand these music venues. Bars were dressed with point-of-sale material in jazz venues across Europe and sole pouring rights were negotiated at most venues. The aim of the programme was to seek brand differentiation from the competition and establish international status for Teacher’s.

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