Why The O2 arena is letting Unilever clean its roof

In a “first of its kind” campaign, The O2 arena is letting Unilever’s CIF brand clean its roof as part of a strategy it hopes will usher in a new era of experiential branded activity at the venue.

AEG, which works on The O2 arena’s sponsorship deals, saw an opportunity to work with the cleaning brand after realising the venue’s roof hadn’t been cleaned since 2007.

CIF has sent seven professionals to completely clean the roof over a 12-week period, of which it is currently just over half-way through, with signage in The O2 arena promoting the campaign with the slogan: “While you raise the roof, we are cleaning it”.

The campaign, which has been regularly updated with diary videos through Twitter and Facebook, ties into CIF’s ‘Before & After Project’; a strategy where it cleans and renovates community venues.

And Gemma Cleland, Unilever’s executive director of homecare, says the campaign has exposed CIF to a new type of customer.

She told Marketing Week: “We’ve already had one million views of The O2 clean on our social channels and it is broadening our audience. We’ve promoted the big clean on our packs too, so we’d expect to see an uplift in sales as it’s created a real buzz for the brand.”

A new sponsorship direction for The O2

The O2 wants to move beyond live music and sport to work with more brands on experiential activity

Cleland says Unilever is interested in extending its partnership with The O2 to its other brands as well. “Being there can expose you to a completely different demographic,” she added.

“Before this CIF was maybe about targeting housewives or families, but we’ve been exposed to diverse consumers passing our cleaners by doing The O2 roof walks and millennials in the venue. We are in discussions with AEG and figuring out what other Unilever brands could work well for the O2.”

Nathan Kosky, VP of global partnerships at AEG, said he is currently speaking with other brands about doing similar experiential activations, including Barclays around its Life Skills Programme.

He believes The O2 isn’t making enough use of its space and hopes other brands will follow Unilever’s lead by creating campaigns with a social purpose within the space.

“When people come to The O2 they come here to enjoy themselves and are open to learn and see what brands do,” he explains. “There’s a great opportunity for brands to really resonate with a young audience that’s ready to lean in and learn more.

“The O2 arena isn’t just about coming to see Adele but about unconventional marketing too. Moving forward, this will be a big part of our sponsorship strategy.”

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