World Rally enthusiasts start specialist sponsorship agency

A new sponsorship agency dedicated to the increasingly popular motor sport of rallying has been launched to capitalise on its growth.

The agency, called Rally Brand Champions, has signed up the 1997 British Rally Champion Mark Higgins and will handle all global branding opportunities connected with Higgins’ participation in the 2003 World Rally Championship (WRC).

Based in Yorkshire, the agency was founded by Penny Mallory, the presenter of Channel 4’s Driven, and Dermot Hanafin, an amateur rally driver who runs his own insurance brokerage.

The WRC has been enjoying an increased profile since motor-sports supremo David Richards bought the rights from Bernie Ecclestone.

The coverage on Channel 4, using futuristic technology and revamped branding – including the television presentation created by integrated agency 23red – appears to have worked. Channel 4 says that the number of people in the UK watching the first seven events in the 2002 season increased from 8.9 million to 27.8 million compared with the BBC’s coverage of the previous season.

Last month, 23red created a consumer marketing promotion for the championship and Channel 4 via a Web, TV and press campaign.

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