‘Experiential’ Category

Sponsoring sport’s a risky business but GAA might be the exception

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015


Ballygowan & Energise Sport Unveiled as New Official Hydration Partners of Dublin GAA

 Soccer’s in the spotlight again, but for all the wrong reasons.  As FIFA descends into corruption chaos, the aftershocks to the sport’s sponsors are catastrophic.  Soccer’s goodwill and the halo effect that attracted the brands to FIFA in the first instance is depleting rapidly as the news story takes hold.

Sponsoring sport always carries a risk, but usually when individual stars are involved – hence many brands’ preference for sporting categories rather than heroes.  Thorough risk assessment pre-signing is not just prudent it’s also pragmatic, allowing concerns and caveats to be aired at the outset.

Few sports are beyond reproach, especially as sport has now been elevated to the heady heights of God-like achievement and aspiration.  To many, clubs are like a religion to be followed and adored with passion, which is why certain clubs and sports attract such willing investors, but at what price and at what risk?

The GAA may just be the exception, as a brand and a sport that is reasonably removed from adverse publicity.  I’m not suggesting it’s squeaky clean in publicity terms, but it courts less chaos than other sporting factions.   There is still all the zeal, the pious fervour and the commitment that brands want to emulate, but with more opportunities – from local, to families, to national events – and less exposure.

And, with the smell of freshly cut grass in the air, summer is when GAA really comes into its own as the memory of the National Leagues fade into obscurity and Championship fever kicks in.

According to the Onside Industry Survey 2015, GAA is seen to offer the best ‘va


lue for money’ in terms of Irish sponsorships and this is the case for many reasons – not least of all is the relevance of GAA at local community and county level.  It could be argued that the ordinary ‘man on the street’ identifies with GAA stars more so than other sports stars, for an array of reasons, including the likelihood of seeing these players active in their local communities (not just on the telly!), recognising the level of dedication and commitment that’s required of amateur players, and an appreciation of the skill level of a truly unique sport.

Sponsorship is more than just a logo on a county jersey.  Sponsors demand more and the Championship delivers: providing players and management for media events, engaging with the sponsor’s own business and CSR initiatives; and offering exclusive competition prizes, can all be effective methods of maximising the value and impact of such a sponsorship asset. Experiential activity too has proven itself as a way of extracting additional value, using the available properties to leverage the brand in the eyes of existing and potential customers.

The digital space and access to social media channels adds a further important platform to sponsors. Building up digital content is an extremely effective method of engaging fans and reinforcing the association between brand and sponsor.

It’s important to consider some simple guidelines from the outset to maximise GAA sponsorships.  These include:

–          Undertaking a pre-sponsorship appraisal to ensure the sponsorship fits as part of an overall strategy and assess potential risks involved

–          Establishing a good relationship with all relevant stakeholders

–          Ensuring goals and objectives are outlined and agreed at the outset of the partnership

–          Creating an activity road map for the season

–          Focusing on digital elements to maximise social media and online channels

The arrests of senior FIFA officials has rocked the sporting world. Not only does this news obviously impact on the organisation itself, it will also have shocked existing sponsors to their core.

The GAA, whilst not beyond reproach is arguably in a safer position and less likely to bring your brand into disrepute than other sports which exist on a global scale yet having a risk assessment completed will make things a lot easier if crisis strikes.

The rallying cry from inter-county managers and coaches alike is Championship-focused encouragement. Tough winter training regimes and physical League encounters will have honed the players’ fitness levels but it’s the coming months that will define the teams and the GAA public can’t wait!  Shouldn’t your brand be part of the excitement?

Is your brand festival ready?

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015


While we can’t bank on the sun to make an appearance during the Irish summer, we certainly can count on having our pick of festivals to keep us entertained over the summer months.  From the foodie heaven that is Taste of Dublin, to the hipster mecca of Marley Park for Longitude, to the family fun on offer at the colourful Laya City Spectacular, there’s surely something for everyone.

Practically every town and village puts on a summer fest to bring the punters out in their droves.  If your taste is more niche in nature, we have the annual Twin Fest in August, the Matchmaker festival in Lisdoonvarna and a new one to us – pig racing at the Seabreeze Festival in Arklow. Festivals and events have always been a platform favoured by marketers and brand owners as a route to engage with a mass audience in a deep and engaging way.  Where the crowds go, brands follow.

Festival and event sponsorship can be a match made in brand heaven when the audience fit is right and the execution is impactful.

Whether you’re a brand owner looking for creative ways to amplify an existing festival or event sponsorship, or you’re on the hunt for a new sponsorship property that offers the perfect fit, here are a few pointers to make the most of it.   How to check is your brand festival ready:

  • Is it the fit right for your brand…. Really?
  • Is the target audience your bullseye?
  • Do you share brand values?
  • Have you allocated enough budget to amplify the sponsorship?  So many brands max their budget on sponsorship fees but there’s no point having a great partnership if no one hears about it!
  • Are you in it for the long haul?  The best brand event, festival and sporting partnerships have been in place for many years.  Robinsons have clocked up 80 years with Wimbledon and have just signed up for another five years.
  • What does success look like?  How will you evaluate the brand partnership in terms of reach and impact on brand equity?
  • Have you developed a bespoke PR plan to amplify your sponsorship amongst influencers and taste makers?
  • Lastly, be patient.  If you have your eye on headline sponsorship of a festival that’s already snapped up, be patient.  In the world of blue chip brands, global changes can mean local sponsorships come and go.

The beauty of festival and event sponsorship is that brands can get involved at many levels.  Some brands dip their toe in the water of experiential marketing by having a brand activation at a large scale event.  A creative and nimble execution can work beautifully and deliver real bang for buck.  For brands lucky enough to hold headline sponsorship of a top festival or event, keeping it fresh can be a year round job for an entire team but worth the investment due to the impact on brand equity.

With TedFest making waves in London from humble beginnings on Craggy Island ten years ago, who’s for the Mrs Brown Festival 2016 in Finglas?  

MCsquared are brand communications experts in sponsorship negotiation and amplification.  Most recently we have worked on Calors sponsorship of Macra na Feirma’s ‘Know Your Neighbour’ campaign, Ballygowan’s partnership as the official hydration partner of Dublin GAA, Kellogg’s’ sponsorship of Dublin Zoo and the inaugural Fruit Shoot Mini Mudder event at Tough Mudder 2015. 

Welcome to Joyville!

Friday, September 14th, 2012


Kraft Foods launches new communications platform for the Cadbury brand

This September sees the Irish launch of the new Cadbury global brand platform called Joyville. Positioned as a mythical place that lives in the imagination of chocolate lovers around the world, Joyville is a magical place where Cadbury Chocolate is made. A place where workers whistle to chocolate, milk is stored in hillsides and chocolate is transported in purple pipes and delivered by purple vehicles of all shapes and sizes.

The Irish launch campaign for Joyville will run for seven weeks and will be the largest campaign for Cadbury Dairy Milk in 2012. The campaign will be supported by a €1.5 million integrated marketing campaign including TV, outdoor, cinema, radio, in-store, PR, experiential and digital channels with Kraft Foods working with Irish agency partners Publicis QMP, PHD Ireland and MCsquared.

TV, outdoor, cinema and radio adverts will introduce Irish chocolate lovers to this magical world of delicious Cadbury Dairy Milk, its workers and the secret ingredient (joy) which gives the chocolate its unique taste.
Joyville is also being brought to life across Ireland in September and October with a fleet of Joyville vehicles and ‘Joyvillians’ travelling around the country surprising members of the public and spreading some Cadbury joy with delicious Cadbury Dairy Milk.

The online extension of the campaign continues the story of Joyville with a partnership with XBOX Ireland and for the first time an XBOX enabled unit will be travelling to retailers in Ireland. This means shoppers will be able to jump into Joyville and get a magical glimpse into the world where Cadbury Dairy Milk is made.

Commenting about the launch Eoghan Crawford, Senior Brand Manager Kraft Foods Ireland said “As Ireland’s favourite confectionery brand*, Cadbury Dairy Milk has been bringing joy to Irish chocolate lovers since 1933. This innovative and most importantly, fun campaign will both create and celebrate moments of joy that make people smile.

Consumers will be able to interact and engage with the campaign across a number of surprising media touch-points, including a strong digital partnership with XBOX Ireland which will bring gaming into POS for the first time with an XBOX enabled unit travelling to retailers across the country. Joyville will give the Cadbury brand a magical platform to communicate to our consumers, create magical displays in-store and launch innovative and imaginative new products.”

For further information about the campaign visit www.facebook.com/CadburyIreland

*(Source: ACNielsen YTD M/E June 2012)

Creme Egg to use Social Media to Release its Goo

Friday, March 9th, 2012

This Creme Egg Season, Cadbury Creme Egg is enlisting the support of the Irish public to show their support for “Runny Egg”, the more online support that is received the more excited our Creme Egg will become, culminating in a daily egg-splosion of Goo broadcast live through a designated Facebook App.

In an innovative through the line execution Creme Egg will be encouraging people to tweet #tweet2goo or enter via the designated App on the Cadbury Ireland Facebook page. Our giant “Runny Egg” will travel to different locations each day to garner public support before egg-sploding live on and off air. All those who tweet and enter via Facebook will be automatically entered into a draw to win Olympic tickets. The locations Creme Egg will visit this weekend are:

  • Pavillion Swords, Friday from 1pm
  • Lansdowne Road, Saturday from 1pm
  • Croke Park Area, Sunday from 12noon

The “When Will it Goo” activity forms part of a €700,000 Cadbury Creme Egg campaign that stretches the entire season (January to April). Thus far the campaign has seen the launch of exciting new TV creative, outdoor, POS, retailer specific consumer promotions, online engagement and more.



Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

In promotion of Cinemax’s first original series, “Strike Back”, BLT, PHD, Cinemax, and OMA collaborated to concept, design, and install this interactive storefront display at 225 w 34th Street in Manhattan. The ‘SuperWall’ is a massive interactive digital billboard spanning 18 x 46 inch touch screen LCDs.

Via Digital Buzz



Cinemax Strike Back – Superwall Interactive Installation – NYC from Jamil Thompson on Vimeo.

Dollar Drink Days Experiential

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

McDonald’s Canada and Cossette in Vancouver created an experiential summer party to mark the launch of their Dollar Drink Days campaign. Our favourite part was this 7 foot tall ice sculpture, which contained over 4,000 $1 coins frozen inside in the shape of the iconic golden arches. Passers by were encouraged to chip away at the ice to collect the coins inside. Looks like fun!