The YouGov Take: event sponsorship

Fools’ gold or golden opportunity?

Is committing to a multi-million pound, high profile sports sponsorship deal in the middle of a recession an act of bravado, or one of well-placed confidence? BMW was the last official sponsor to sign up for the London 2012 Olympics, 1,000 days before the event in November 2009. The opening of the Games is now less than 500 days away and the latest figures from YouGov’s BrandIndex, which tracks consumer perception of brands, suggest that BMW’s move could be paying off.

Looking at perception of the brand amongst followers and participants of sport aged 35 to 49, there is a significant improvement in BMW’s scores from the date of signing up as a sponsor to today. Naturally, this is a campaign driven with care.

The German car giant declares a close strategic fit with Olympic values and it has consistently integrated its sponsorship with its wider marketing activity. However, looking at BrandIndex figures for other top sponsors and intelligent marketers, such as Cadbury and Adidas, cores
amongst the sporting audience have slipped back since the 1,000 day countdown mark; showing that the sponsorship association alone is no
guarantee of success for a brand.

“Dig where the gold is…unless you just need some exercise.”

John M. Capozzi

Why Climb the Corporate Ladder

When You Can Take the Elevator?

As ever, the question of causality is a complex one; not least for such big brands with a diverse range of marketing activity. Which begs the ageold question of whether the true value of sponsorship to a brand can be easily monitored?

Research has consistently shown that even though consumers may link brands to events this does not necessarily enhance the standing of the
brand in their eyes. The questions that must be answered are: What discrete impact does the sponsored event have on the brand? And how do consumers perceive the link between the sponsor and the sponsored event?

We are looking to address these questions through SportsIndex, a new tool developed in partnership with SMG Insight to track sporting events
as brands, evaluating each event’s impact on its sponsors and their brands. When you are able to understand the event as a brand and then
relate its ups and downs to the sponsoring brands, the links become more apparent.

Meanwhile, BMW is confidently motoring ahead, still going for gold. As well as being a main supporter of the Munich bid for the 2018 games,
BMW has expressed an interest in upping its long-term involvement in the Olympics to become a global supporter. We will be tracking this
space with interest.

Tim Britton
Chief Executive, UK


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