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Sponsorship – Past Its ‘Sell By’ Date?

In the good old days last century, global sponsorship was the preserve of a select number of companies.  Only a handful of sponsorship properties could be considered to have global reach (The Olympic Games, FIFA World Cup, Formula One Racing).  A similarly small number of brands were big enough to pay the premium for gaining mass market brand exposure at a fraction of the cost of a global advertising campaign.

But technology has changed all that.  Exponential growth in computing power, the internet and mobile has created a new environment.  Brands are now able to reach customers with individual conversations pretty much anywhere in the world.

So why is it that brands continue to invest sometimes seemingly ridiculous sums in sponsorship platforms?  The Rugby World Cup is currently enjoying the patronage of Mastercard, Heineken and DHL, amongst others, even though it is being hosted in a time zone that makes for late nights or early starts for the majority of rugby playing nations. 

Next summer sees the ultimate sponsorfest in London with the Olympic and Paralympic Games  coming to town.  The London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) recently announced it had achieved revenues of over £700m ( that’s over 1 billion US Dollars) from its domestic sponsor programme. At a quoted £40-80 million for a Tier 1 sponsor, and something in the region of £15-25m for a Tier 2, which must then be at least doubled cover sponsorship activation, what is motivating brands to make these sorts of investments when more direct, cheaper conversations are possible?

The answer lies in objectives.  Read More »

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Cisco London 2012 Sponsorship – More Than Choirboy Hair

There was a period in our house when Roger Black could do no wrong.  The young, tall, handsome runner with the choirboy hairstyle from Portsmouth had won medals at both the 1992 and 1996 Olympics and in my wife and her friend’s eyes had an effect akin to that which Achilles must have had on all the Greek women while they waited to hear of his success at Troy. So it was with some curiosity that I met Roger for the first time in his capacity as one of our London 2012 Olympic Ambassadors. Would he still have the athlete’s demeanour, a taught spring ready to tear out of the starting blocks or pounce on an  unsuspecting Trojan? Would the choirboy hair deny his 45 years?

I joined the Cisco UK & Ireland team fairly late into our London 2012 journey in August 2011 following four years in Cisco’s Services business in California and Europe.  I had been lucky enough in my earlier career while working for a consumer brand to sponsor the British Bobsleigh team across a period of two winter Olympics, culminating in a medal at Nagano. I knew the excitement that comes from involvement in world-class sport and while I had not been involved in the early decisions around Cisco’s sponsorship, I was very much looking forward to being involved in probably the only Olympics and Paralympics that will take place during my lifetime in Britain.

For Cisco, London 2012 is all about leveraging network technology to create a better Britain, a brilliant future as we see it. London 2012 is the starting gun for us, not the finishing tape as so many other sponsors see it. The legacy is what it’s all about, not just 5 weeks of incredible sporting challenge. So when we look at our 2012 marketing strategy, we always keep the end goal in mind. It is a tall order; we want to focus on the future beyond 2012 and at the same time benefit from the excitement and opportunity before and during the Games.

So how have we approached our marketing strategy for London 2012?

Read More »

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