Posts Tagged ‘sponsorship’

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?

Videos we shared in September and October

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

Red Bull Stratus

We had to start this post with the spectacular Red Bull Stratos project and the video that shows Felix Baumgartner becoming the first man to break the sound barrier. In September, millions of spectators watched his extraordinary feat as he plummeted 24 miles to Earth from the edge of space.

The Live Tile Experiment

To promote the launch of Windows 8, Microsoft surprised people in Oslo, Norway by demonstrating the innovative preview functionality of Live Tiles. The video features a specially designed Windows 8 music tile, placed in front of a building which housed a loud party. When curious passersby stepped on the tile, a false wall came down revealing Datarock, a popular Norwegian band and dancers who spilled out on to the street.

Unlock the 007 in you

Another great example of surprising members of the public. Coke Zero challenged people to unlock the 007 in them to be in with a chance of winning tickets to the new James Bond film Skyfall. Participants had 70 seconds to make their way to the platform and dodge several interruptions en route before catching their breath in time to sing the James Bond theme tune.

An unexpected safety briefing

Following on from their popular Rugby World Cup themed safety video, Air New Zealand have released a new Hobbit inspired safety video featuring cameo appearances from hobbits with hairy feet, Gollum and even Sir Peter Jackson. It’s a refreshing take on traditional airline demonstrations and we doubt there are many people not paying attention when this plays on flights at the moment.

It doesn’t count if …

Summing up the countless ways that we justify cheeky treats, our favourite part of this video from KFC is the woman in full gym gear saying ‘It doesn’t count if you’re going to the gym, been to the gym or are just in gym gear’. The video is narrated by comedian Jenny Bede and viewers are encouraged to add their own ‘it doesn’t count if’ suggestions through Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Bodyform responds

Inspired by a Facebook rant by Richard Niell accusing Bodyform of misleading him for years about women’s periods. Bodyform released this hilarious video addressed to Richard featuring a fictional CEO Caroline Williams who delivers the sobering message that there’s no such thing as a happy period and that some people simply can’t handle the truth but now, thanks to Richard the world has been exposed to the truth.

IKEA Floating Night Market

To mark their new season’s range, IKEA invited guests to experience a floating night market with a scenic boat trip on Regent’s Canal in North Market and fourteen floating market punts displaying colourful IKEA products.

So real it’s scary

LG installed a grid of its new IPS monitors in the floor of a lift creating the illusion that the floor was collapsing beneath the feet of people using a lift. The lights turn off unexpectedly, followed by a screeching metal noise and then the floor appears to give way, revealing what looks like the lift shaft beneath their feet.

Paddy Power Twitter to the skies

Paddy Power enlisted stunt pilots to sky write fans’ tweets in support of Team Europe at this year’s Ryder Cup tournament. Using groundbreaking technology, the company sky wrote a selection of tweets across the Illinois skies with each character measuring 200 feet taller than the Shard skyscraper in London.

Jimmy Kimmel’s ‘I told my kid I ate all their Halloween candy’

And now for something completely different, the look of horror on the faces of these children is priceless as their parents trick them into thinking their Halloween treats are gone.  The children’s reactions range from despair to violent tantrum to heartwarming generosity as one little girl suggests they share her candy next year.

Videos we’re watching this month

Friday, August 20th, 2010

Roger Federer trick shot

Roger Federer is the face of Gillette’s sensitive skin campaign and this video is a behind the scenes clip from an ad which features Federer knocking a bottle off a crew member’s head with a serve. There is lots of debate online as to the authenticity of this trick shot but real or not we think it’s worth one or several views.


Radio lab and NPR present words

Radiolab have tried to imagine a world without words and this video was designed to accompany Radiolab’s Words episode. The film is beautifully made and a stunning depiction of the creative concept.

Man walks across America

Conscious Minds, the film makers, came up with the idea and pitched it to Levi’s to get a sponsor to help fund the project. The sponsorship included money for petrol, food, production resources and of course jeans for the whole crew (Levi 501s). The team used a combination of stop-motion and time-lapse video and made a Google map with photos pinned at points of interest. Another YouTube video also described their experiences travelling across the country and explains the visual effects in the video.

Electric Picnic teaser

Electric Picnic is fast approaching and to whet our appetites the lovely Electric Picnic crew have produced this video.

Pug sings Batman

This is not big or clever but it is very funny! If you have ever wondered what a pug would sound like singing the Batman theme tune, then wonder no more because you can just click on the video below.

Double Rainbow

This video has inspired hundreds of parodies on YouTube and it’s easy to see why when you watch the original video. We’re not sure but we think the camera man in this clip likes rainbows, watch and see if you agree with us.

Canal+ French football ad

We’ve been a little football crazy here for the past month so, this French ad made us laugh.

Cadbury Spots v Stripes

We are delighted to be working on the Cadbury Spots v Stripes campaign. Watch the new Cadbury advert here and visit to get involved in the big game and register as a Spot or a Stripe. Ready, steady, Go!

Starbucks case study

You may have heard that Starbucks was the first consumer brand to reach 10 million fans on Facebook. So, we were interested to view this video of the keynote presentation by Alexandra Wheeler (Digital Director of Starbucks) who opened the Social Media Influence 2010 conference in London.

3 agrees primary sponsorship of the Irish national football team and all international squads

Friday, August 6th, 2010

3, Ireland’s largest high speed network, and the Football Association of Ireland announced a sponsorship agreement, worth €7.5 million over four years, which sees 3 become the primary sponsor of the Irish national football team and all international squads. Launching on August 11th this sponsorship sees 3, not only supporting the national team, but also working with football at grassroots level involving clubs and leagues up and down the country. The agreement coincides with 3’s major push into the pre-paid market.

This much-coveted sponsorship affords 3 premium branding rights to include training and playing gear and kit, ticket branding and high visibility pitch-side branding at the magnificent Aviva Stadium. Eager fans keen to get hold of the new shirt with the 3 logo will be able to do so from the Autumn onwards. 3 customers will also be given privileged access to tickets and other exciting initiatives, details of which will be announced at a later date.

With over 450,000 participants, football is the largest sport in the country and last year, 10 of the top 20 most watched sports events in Ireland were football events (9 of which were Senior Irish International matches). In addition, the 2.2 million peak audience which watched the France v Republic of Ireland match in November 2009 was the largest RTE audience for any sporting event since 1995.

Robert Finnegan, CEO, 3 commenting on the announcement said: “We are delighted to announce this major sponsorship, and see this as a strong strategic fit for our business to drive awareness of our brand amongst supporters of the number one sport in the country. Football fans will be at the heart of 3’s sponsorship strategy and we plan to launch a range of exciting, new initiatives, including priority ticket bookings for 3 customers.”

Robert continued: “This announcement officially confirms 3 as Irish football’s biggest fan and the number one network for all supporters. We hope football fans will not only cheer on our boys in green but will support their new sponsor by switching to 3. Giovanni Trapattoni’s mobile phone bills will never have been so low, with 3 he’ll be paying local Irish rates even when he’s in Italy!”

John Delaney, Chief Executive, FAI, added: “3 is a new and dynamic brand in Ireland and their determination and drive will bring fresh energy and focus to the partnership. The agreement comes at a very significant time for Irish football and I look forward to seeing both sides enjoying success on and off the pitch.”

“This is significant sponsorship which is structured to reach out as never before to engage with grassroots football and all the strands of the game that we represent. It is a significant investment in the future of Irish football, particularly in light of the current economic climate.”

“We have worked hard with Robert Finnegan and his team from 3 over recent months I thank them for their vision, determination and professionalism. By coming on board at such an exciting time for Irish football, we look forward to a very beneficial partnership.”

Giovanni Trapattoni, Senior Irish International Manager, commented: “I look forward to 3’s support for Irish football. We have talked about their plans, and I think this partnership will be good for the game at all levels, while helping the FAI to develop and grow the sport. 3 is a major international brand and we’re delighted to have them on side.”

In the last twenty four years this primary sponsorship position has only changed hands twice which is testament to the value and effectiveness of the sponsorship. The new partnership comes at an extremely exciting time for Irish football, coinciding with the move to a new world-class home in the Aviva Stadium and the continued progress of the Senior International Team under Giovanni Trapattoni and Marco Tardelli, keeping Irish football at the forefront of the Irish sporting agenda and providing 3 consistent opportunities to connect with stakeholders, players and fans. 3 expects to develop a range of marketing activities to leverage the sponsorship, benefiting both the FAI at all levels and fans alike.

3’s sponsorship of the Irish national football team and all international squads follows a number of other high profile sports sponsorships.  For more information see or

Heineken Italy Scherzo Auditorium stunt

Monday, June 28th, 2010

The winners of the Cannes Lion awards have been announced, including one of our favourite marketing stunts from last year. Heineken Italy won a Gold promo Lion, Gold PR Lion, a Silver Direct Lion and a Bronze Direct Lion for their Scherzo Auditorium stunt. The stunt involved 50 university professors, 100 girlfriends, bosses and journalists who persuaded 1,136 students, boyfriends, employees and colleagues to attend a classical music concert on the same night as the Champions League soccer match between Real Madrid and AC Milan. Fifteen minutes into the concert, as the football fans became more anxious about missing the match, Heineken broadcast a message on the screen above the performing string quartet which read “Hard to say no to your boss, isn’t it? To your girlfriend? And to the match? How could you even have thought of missing the big match? Are you still with us? Real Madrid and AC Milan are now on the pitch. Let’s enjoy the match together. Heineken. Made to entertain”.

How best to use social media to drive engagement with your sponsorship

Friday, June 11th, 2010

A key challenge when developing a successful sponsorship platform is identifying means in which to firstly develop the sponsorship community, and secondly to engage with this community.

The online environment provides many tools in which this community development and engagement can be successfully activated. Social media tools such as Facebook pages and Twitter channels have become increasingly popular for sponsors as a means of getting their association and/or message(s) out to target audiences.

Using these online and specifically social media tools is however simply the first step in successful engagement with a sponsorship community. What good is having a couple of hundred Facebook Fans if they don’t actually engage? When there, have they really engaged with the sponsorship? (more…)

How to ensure credibility as a sponsor through building lasting partnerships and delivering added value

Friday, June 11th, 2010

Cadbury GAA U21 Football Championship

One of the most important elements to consider when approaching a sponsorship campaign is to ensure that the programme you put in place reaches as far as possible into the roots of the partner organisation. Only by building these strong links will your brand achieve credibility within the partner organisations wider community and ultimately your target market. Over the last six years we’ve worked extremely hard at building lasting relationships with GAA stakeholders across the country, from county supporters clubs, county PRO’s, county secretaries, Third Level development officers and their students, to GAA management in Croke Park. Our goal with Cadbury is to become a living and vibrant part of the Under 21 Championship, an organisation that is looked upon as an equal partner rather than as a sponsor and one that continues to deliver added value to the GAA community. Building these relationships takes time, understanding and commitment, and only through this can you begin to implement the type of programme which will resonate with the grass roots. (more…)

2010 Cadbury GAA U21 Football Championship Highlights

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

Another terrific championship saw Cadbury invest even more in enhancing supporters experiences around the championship including the launch of a new in-store promotion, the introduction of free Cadbury GAA Busses to and from matches, and the Cadbury GAA Experiential Kicking Unit which traveled around colleges and matches from February 2010.This extra activity together with a very exciting championship saw attendances grow substantially with 9,000 people witnessing Dublin’s narrow victory over Donegal in All Ireland Final in Breffni Park.