‘Sponsorship’ 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. 

2014 Kellogg’s GAA Cul Camps launched

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

Launch of the Kellogg’s GAA Cúl Camps 2014

Gaelic Games a way of life for most, with 73% of Irish families devoting more than 10 hours per month to GAA sports

Gaelic games continue to enjoy huge popularity in Ireland with 73% of families devoting more than 10 hours per month to GAA sports, according to a survey* commissioned by Kellogg’s to celebrate the launch of the 2014 Kellogg’s GAA Cúl Camps.

The importance of Gaelic games among Irish families is reaffirmed by the fact that 23% of parents surveyed say that they have been involved in GAA ‘all my life’, with 24% actively participating in Gaelic games for more than ten years. When the same question was asked to a selection of GAA members and supporters with families**, 68% of these highly engaged supporters said that they have been involved in GAA all their lives. A massive 81% of the same group of respondents also said that the GAA is ‘very important’ to their family.

It is clear that GAA plays a central role in the heart of Irish communities* , with 91% agreeing that the GAA contributes to a sense of community for many. 88% of those surveyed also agreed that volunteers are the backbone of GAA clubs around the country. This belief is further backed up by the fact that 22% of Irish parents offer 10 hours or more per month volunteering their time at their local GAA club.

Speaking at the launch of the 2014 Kellogg’s GAA Cúl Camps, GAA President, Liam O’Neill said: “The Kellogg’s GAA Cúl Camps have always been an important part of community life in Ireland, teaching children important skills, encouraging friendships and improving physical wellbeing. With over 82,000 children attending the camps in 2013, we are delighted to know that the Kellogg’s GAA Cúl Camps continue to be as popular as ever amongst families in Ireland.”

Speaking at the launch, Kellogg’s Managing Director, Jim McNeill said: “At Kellogg’s we are committed to partnerships which support communities, enhance skills and deliver value for money for hard pressed consumers. We are delighted that our support of the GAA Cúl Camps has encouraged greater participation and we are committed to continuing this support in 2014, so that more Irish families can enjoy the Kellogg’s GAA Cúl Camp experience.”

Each child booked in to a Kellogg’s GAA Cúl Camp in 2014 will receive a free GAA kit and back pack in county colours. Parents can log on to www.gaa.ie/kelloggsculcamps to book their child’s place now.

Speaking at the launch, Kellogg’s GAA Cúl Camps Champion, Rory O’Carroll added: “I am delighted to get involved with the Cúl Camps programme again this year. I have mentored and coached at camps in my own club, Kilmacud Crokes, and I have seen how children’s skills can dramatically improve with expert coaching delivered in a safe and fun atmosphere.”

Kellogg’s GAA Cúl Camps provide boys and girls – between the ages of 6 and 13 – with an action-packed and fun-filled week of activity which revolves around maximising enjoyment and learning the skills of Gaelic Games. The camps are structured so that a different aspect of the game is worked on each day and children can put into practice what they have learned.  Over one thousand camps will take place in communities all over Ireland during July and August with 2,100 voluntary coaches giving over 30,000 hours of coaching to young children.

* Survey of 530 Irish parents with children aged 6-13 years, carried out by Empathy Research, April 2014.

** Survey of approx. 100 GAA parents, with children, carried out by GAA, April 2014.


ŠKODA Ireland launches the inaugural ŠKODA Cycle Series 2014 in association with Independent News & Media

Thursday, May 8th, 2014


Cycling is one of the fastest growing leisure activities in Ireland with a growing number of men and women donning the infamous skin tight apparel and taking to the roads of Ireland on carbon fibre and aluminium road bikes for health, fitness and leisure purposes more so than competition and racing.

Compared to continental Europe, specialised events to cater for the leisure cyclist in Ireland are few and far between.  With its long standing heritage in cycling, ŠKODA has recognised this and today unveiled the “ŠKODA Cycle Series” in association with Independent News & Media which is a series of seven cycling events which will appeal to all grades of cyclist. The series will kick off in April 2014 and run until August offering two course distances ranging from 50-80km to suit the novice or family cyclists, and 100-160km challenges for more seasoned cyclists.

The series of events is designed to help leisure cyclists improve over the series and all cyclists will be chip-timed so they can record their progress. Starting in Sligo on April 5th and finishing in Dundalk on August 31st the series will also include events in Wicklow, Kerry, Wexford, Westport and Cork (see full list of events).

Commenting, Raymond Leddy, Head of Marketing & Product, ŠKODA Ireland said “We are delighted to be hosting this series of events with routes selected to showcase breathtaking scenery across the country. ŠKODA has a strong relationship with cycling both internationally – as an official partner of the Tour de France for over a decade – and here in Ireland as the sponsor of the Ring of Kerry Cycle and the Tour de Conamara to name but a few. We have seen firsthand the growth in popularity of cycling with many saying it’s the “new golf” so we are really excited to be able to offer cycling enthusiasts a new and unparalleled programme of events. We look forward to cyclists from all around the country joining us for what promises to be an excellent experience.”

Commenting, John Feerick, Managing Director INM Regionals-West said  ‘INM Regional’s is delighted to have partnered with Skoda Ireland in organising this cycle series,  we know from research that there has been a huge interest in cycling in Ireland on back of the cycle-to-work schemes and also the success of Irish cycling most notably Dan Martin’s recent success.  INM Regional’s is best placed to promote ‘Pedal Power’ with this countrywide initiative given the strategic locations of our regional titles.

For further information about the series or to find your closest event visit www.fitmagazine.ie.

List of events:

  • Sligo – 5th April Sligo Champions Sportive (50km & 100km)
  • Wicklow – 12th April – Tour of Wicklow (68km & 116km)
  • Kerry – 31st May – Tour of Kerry – TKAS (136km)
  • Wexford – 29th June – Dragon Sportive (75km & 135km)
  • Westport – 19th July – Westportif (80km & 160km)
  • Cork – 26th July – IRD Duhallow Sportive (50km & 100km)
  • Dundalk – 31st August – Cuchulainn Challenge (70km & 120km)

ŠKODA extends sponsorship and unveils 2014 Tipperary GAA strip

Friday, December 6th, 2013

ŠKODA Ireland Unveils the new Tipperary GAA Strip for 2014

Thursday, 5th December 2013 – ŠKODA Ireland today unveiled the new 2014 Tipperary GAA strip at Croke Park and announced that it will be extending its sponsorship by another year with over €800,000 invested in the Premier County since the start of the sponsorship.

Tipperary Senior hurling stars Brendan Maher, Noel McGrath and Kieran Bergin along with Tipperary Senior Football Captain Paddy Codd were on hand to showcase the new strip and discuss ambitions for the 2014 championship season.

The full sponsorship of Tipperary GAA covers both the hurling and football codes and includes all grades from minor to senior inter-county teams over the next year. As part of the extended sponsorship agreement, the new look Tipperary jersey for the 2014 season was unveiled displaying the ŠKODA brand name and an 1884 motif in honour of the foundation of the GAA in Thurles on November 1st 1884.

The Tipperary County Board have also announced the launch of the new look Tipperary GAA website www.tipperary.gaa.ie Among the highlights of the new website are a greater emphasis on easy access to information, more advertising space for sponsors, an expanded online shop to purchase Tipperary GAA products including the new jersey and much improved results and fixtures information.

Commenting on the sponsorship agreement, Sean Nugent, Tipperary County Board Chairman said “Tipperary County Board is delighted to announce that ŠKODA is extending its sponsorship agreement. The first three years of the sponsorship saw ŠKODA bring a real commitment to grass roots supporters and we’re looking forward to seeing both sides enjoying success in the 2014 championship season.”

Ray Leddy, ŠKODA added “Since we came on board as partners of the Premier County in 2011, we have evolved the sponsorship to involve our network of dealers across the country to support GAA at a local level as well as county level.  The ethos of the GAA is an excellent fit for our business and allows us to drive awareness of the ŠKODA brand amongst GAA supporters. The Tipperary sponsorship has been an integral part of our marketing efforts which has seen ŠKODA increase market share from 5.2% back in 2011 to record share of 6.7% as it is today.   We are delighted to work with Tipperary GAA for another year and look forward to driving towards success in 2014.”

ŠKODA has used the Tipperary GAA partnership as a platform for developing a programme of local dealer sponsorships with grass roots GAA clubs including Tipperary dealer Ryan Motor Power who sponsor the Tipperary Camogie; Waterford dealer Martin Barrett who sponsor De La Salle GAA Club, Waterford; Sligo dealer Burns Car Sales who sponsor St. Johns GAA Club, Sligo; Kerry dealer Liam Lynch Car Sales who sponsor IT Tralee; Wicklow dealer Sinnott SKODA who sponsor Rathnew GAA Club and Bandon dealer Finbarr Galvin Ltd who sponsor Bandon GAA Club.

The 2014 Tipperary GAA jersey is available for a RRP of €60 and it is available for sale in the Tipperary GAA shop in Thurles, online with Tipp GAA and O’Neill’s and in other retail outlets in Tipperary and nationwide.

 ŠKODA Ireland Unveils the new Tipperary GAA Strip for 2014

BelVita fuels UTV Radio’s morning

Sunday, October 6th, 2013
Strawberry Alarm Clock presenters Mark Noble and  JimJim Nugent pictured with Jonathan Ryan, belVita brand manager.

Strawberry Alarm Clock presenters Mark Noble and JimJim Nugent pictured with Jonathan Ryan, belVita brand manager.

Package to include sponsorship of FM104’s Strawberry Alarm Clock 

Mondelez Ireland has today announced a €600,000 breakfast partnership with UTV Radio for biscuit brand belVita which includes sponsorship of FM104’s Strawberry Alarm Clock breakfast show.

The 12 month partnership will promote belVita’s range of breakfast biscuits during FM104’s Strawberry Alarm Clock through a mix of on-air features and sponsorship credits. The partnership will also include a series of time check ads across the UTV Radio network and product sampling with the station’s on-street team.

The Strawberry Alarm Clock, hosted by JimJim and Mark Noble, is FM104’s flagship show attracting 102,000 listeners from 6am-10am weekdays. To mark the launch of the partnership, belVita will be giving FM104 listeners the chance to win a trip to the idyllic shores of Hawaii for an incredible 10 night stay with €3,000 spending money. The winner and a friend will be rising early with energy to catch waves all morning with private surf lessons under the expert guidance of an instructor.

Jonathan Ryan, Brand Manager for belVita commented “Many people love starting their day with Strawberry Alarm Clock so it’s a great fit for belVita.”

Dave Kelly, Programme Director FM104 commented “The FM104 Strawberry Alarm Clock is a mixture of comedy fun and energy, which is the perfect fit for belVita Breakfast Biscuits. We are looking forward to having them on board and are excited for even more creative, energetic comedy and fun over the next 12 months.”

belVita biscuits, specially designed for breakfast, are rich in cereals, a source of fibre and contain a selection of vitamins and minerals. Sscientifically proven to slowly release energy over 4 hours*, since launching in 2010, belVita is now found in one in four households in Ireland**.


* Proven in six clinical studies when eaten as part of a balanced breakfast i.e. with an apple and a latte

**Source Kantar World Panel 52 w/e Dec 2012

belVita Strawberry Alarm Clock