Sky ramps up partnerships as consumers look for long-term value

Sky is highlighting its long-term value proposition to consumers with a partnership with Vue, as retention and the cost of living continue to bite.

A mocked up billboard with the Sky and Vue Cinemas partnership dealSky is placing long-term value at the heart of its marketing strategy, by partnering up with potential competition to retain customers.

Sky is set to launch an above the line (ATL) campaign highlighting its partnership with Vue International this week. The ads, featuring Idris Elba, alert Sky customers to the fact they can redeem two free tickets to Vue cinemas each month.

Sky’s managing director for content products Carli Kerr says the partnership – and Sky’s other marketing plans – are designed to highlight the value that consumers are increasingly looking for from their subscriptions and services. In the face of inflation and the cost of living crisis, she says it is vital that brands cater to their customers in the long haul, not just for acquisition.

The campaign was soft-launched on 2 October, with comms to existing subscribers. As chief consumer officer for Sky UK and ROI Sophia Ahmad explains to Marketing Week, it is in service of gradually ramping up the long-term value offered to customers. “In a time when value is more important to households than ever, Sky Cinema’s exclusive partnership with Vue will give film fans the chance to enjoy the experience of monthly trips to the cinema at no extra cost”.

The ATL campaign is an action-packed romp starring Idris Elba who alongside a sidekick races through the streets on armchairs to reach a Vue cinema, through street races and explosions. It follows the cinematic approach to ATL that Sky is pursuing, with its previous sports-focused campaign having set the trend.

Idris Elba rides an armchair over an explosion in the ad from Sky and VueAhmad says the campaign is designed to speak to both new and existing subscribers. “Giving all of our customers great value is hugely important to us, whether they are a new customer or an existing customer. We want everyone to know that Sky Cinema now offers even more value, with two free Vue tickets a month.”

On the face of it the partnership with another entertainment brand, with whom Sky nominally competes for consumer spend and attention, seems counterintuitive.

We feel that partnerships like this will drive a much more authentic and longer-term value add for our customer.

Carli Kerr, Sky

But Kerr argues there is no competition, rather a mutually beneficial arrangement. She says Sky “[doesn’t] see [Vue] as a competitor”, but rather a complementary partner in the movie ecosystem.

To that end, there will be no data-sharing between the partners beyond Vue providing confirmation of which Sky customers took up the deal, with Kerr confirming no “backwards” sharing of data with Vue.

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Kerr explains: “Promotional offers will still play a part in some marketing campaigns. But as we’ve added Paramount Plus, and now we’re adding value with this subscription… we feel that partnerships like this will drive a much more authentic and longer-term value add for our customer. So that’s what we’ve been focusing on for the last couple of years.”

Sky – and Netflix – are currently also partnered with Waitrose on an in-store marketing campaign. That partnership, too, seeks to highlight the benefits of a Sky subscription and will be promoted through digital out-of-home advertising in stores and via a regular feature in the supermarket’s own magazine, Waitrose Weekend.

The partnership between Sky and Vue is currently set to last for 12 months, though Kerr says they are “really confident about it”.