Media: Double Standards - Sponsorship still needs the great ideas to thrive

Two sponsorship experts on how the official efforts for the Rugby World Cup have so far proved to be disappointing, and where sponsorship can go next.

TIM BRADY, MANAGING PARTNER, NEWCAST

- Which areas of sponsorship are growing most quickly?

All areas of sponsorship are showing healthy growth as clients increasingly look to less conventional ways to engage their target audience. Certainly TV sponsorship has enjoyed two very healthy years across all broadcasters, with some approaching a fully sold position.

- Which brands have done clever things around the Rugby World Cup?

O2 Scrum in the Park is an excellent example of taking a core sponsorship, in its case the England Rugby Team, and activating it in a way that really adds something tangible and gives the fan an additional experience. O2, of course, is not a World Cup sponsor, but its team sponsorship enables an association through activation such as this. I have doubts about the value of sharing the broadcast coverage sponsorship. The original ITV strategy of having one exclusive sponsor delivered extraordinary results, and I will be interested to see how much EDF and Peugeot gain from their current dual position.

- What have been the most impressive innovations in sponsorship during the past year?

In TV terms, the introduction of interactive bumpers has been the most valued recent addition to the broadcasters repertoire. To go back a little bit further, I think ITV's introduction of longer break bumpers has been really appreciated by agencies and resulted in stronger credits.

- How robust is sponsorship measurement now?

Awareness and image movements tend to have been the measurements taken so far. There certainly is a considerable amount of this kind of research in existence and an overview of this from one of the larger broadcasters would be much appreciated by agencies. This could give us some indications of what works and what does not and I think we are still lacking real proof of the benefit of long-term sponsorships versus shorter runs.

- What's your favourite piece of work from recent months?

Over the past two years, I think Toyota Aygo's sponsorship of the T4 strand has been outstanding. It is so important to deliver TV sponsorship well, and the on-air credits created by CHI & Partners are a perfect fit with both the range of programmes in T4 and displaying the irreverent personality of Aygo.

- Is it still all about sports and broadcast sponsorship, or are there new avenues you are exploring?

The future of this sector will be to look at this in a broader way and combine a number of different activities to make the sponsorship really work and provide value to the client. It will be about identifying a core platform and then examining every way that the association can be developed in a way that the client gets maximum ROI.

- How much do you worry about creeping ad legislation making an impact on sponsorship revenues?

What sponsorship can't do is get around such restraints, and nor should it if the legislation is meaningful. So if this spreads, it could impact. But as Formula One has found, there are other ways to raise revenue apart from tobacco, so I am not deeply concerned.

- If you owned your own brand and could sponsor one event or programme in the world, what would you choose?

I'd love to have more sponsorship at Wimbledon, which is such a high-quality event with considerable TV coverage. I've always believed the Artois tennis tournament to be one of the best examples of a complete sponsorship.

DAVID PETERS - HEAD OF SPONSORSHIP, CARAT

- Which areas of sponsorship are growing most quickly?

The whole sponsorship market is really buoyant with double-digit growth for the past couple of years across the event and media sponsorship sectors. The two key drivers of this growth are clients' desire to find new ways to engage with their consumer, something sponsorship does very well, and London winning the 2012 Olympics, which has got sponsorship talked about in the boardrooms of client companies.

- Which brands have done clever things around the Rugby World Cup?

I've been disappointed by what the official sponsors have done to activate their sponsorships, but there's been some great work from other brands such as O2, the England team sponsor, with its "Scrum in the Park" experiential activity and rugby-focused advertising. Guinness is also doing a great ambush job with the "seconds from greatness" rugby TV spots it is running in the ITV coverage, trading on its strong rugby credentials.

- What have been the most impressive innovations in sponsorship during the past year?

I applaud what Emap is doing with the relaunch of Heat Radio as a commercial radio station that will be funded exclusively from sponsorship, promotions and advertiser- funded programming. This could be the model for many more media launches.

- How robust is sponsorship measurement now?

I think it's pretty well researched as most clients do some form of evaluation that goes beyond the outputs of media exposure and evaluates the outcomes of the sponsorship versus its objectives. However, my major criticism would be the fact that it's still, too often, measured in isolation rather than holistically with the brand's other communications.

- What's your favourite piece of work from recent months?

I admire the work Nationwide has done in football with its ground-breaking "Sponsored by You" campaign, which is built around customer empowerment, sharing the benefits of its sponsorship of the football home nations with their customers.

- Is it still all about sports and broadcast sponsorship, or are there new avenues you are exploring?

This year we've worked on Evian's sponsorship of the Kylie exhibition at the V&A, experiential campaigns for Birds Eye, British Gas and Indesit, Gordon Ramsay's endorsement deal of Gordon's Gin and the Department for Transport's "Don't Drug Drive" sponsorship of the car-parks at V and Glastonbury, now in its fifth year. The new avenues are largely centred on digital content.

- How much do you worry about creeping ad legislation making an impact on sponsorship revenues?

Whether you're a broadcaster or a Formula One team, sponsorship is vital funding. For brands, it's an increasingly important platform. Most brands take a responsible attitude to the sort of the content they sponsor and as long as that continues the industry has a good chance of avoiding Draconian legislation.

- If you owned your own brand and could sponsor one event or programme in the world, what would you choose?

The brand would be Aston Martin and the event I would sponsor would be the Ryder Cup, amplified with a broadcast sponsorship on Sky Sports.