Npower ambushes rivals with stadium sponsorship

Utility brand npower is gearing up to take on its rivals yet again this week, with a stealth campaign that aims to piggyback rivals’ sponsorship deals.

Npower has signed a year-long affinity partnership with Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium in a bid to ambush sports sponsorship deals already secured by Eon and EDF Energy.

The deal will see npower become the official energy supplier of both the Millennium and Wembley stadiums. The move means that npower will “power” the FA Cup final, as it will be held at one of the two stadiums.

Rival energy company Eon, owner of Powergen, is the official sponsor of the FA Cup, while EDF sponsors the Rugby World Cup. Next year’s Rugby World Cup, although based in France, will hold several matches at the Millennium stadium.

Npower says that with the opening date of Wembley in doubt, it made sense to step in and strike the affinity deal with the Millennium Stadium. Kevin Peake, npower brand marketing chief, says the deal adds to existing sponsorships and tie-ups such as its sponsorship of the Ashes.

He adds: “We will be running a series of local and national press ads, a regional insert campaign and there will be a radio campaign on TalkSport.”

Peake suggests that Eon, whose branding has similarities with npower’s, has failed to fully exploit its association with FA Cup. “We’ve been surprised at Eon’s slow start of its FA sponsorship.”

A spokesman for Eon dismisses the attempt to ambush its FA Cup deal. He adds: “Our sponsorship of the FA Cup is nationwide, featuring 686 clubs with fixtures at hundreds of grounds.”

EDF Energy refused to be drawn on the deal, but says that the deals are good for the brands and sports involved.

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