Friday, October 28, 2016
by Nathan Munro

Sport and advertising go hand-in-hand

Global sporting events

It’s been a very sporty summer here at Denfield; we cheered on England (or Wales if your name’s Michael Hillard) during the Euros, albeit only for a short while until we were knocked out to Iceland, and then witnessed Team GB win a record number of medals at the Rio Olympics. The total haul in the end was 67 medals, two more than we won in London 2012!

While we have all enjoyed watching these sporting events on the TV and had our fingers crossed for the office sweepstakes, it’s been a busy year at the agency with the accounts, creative and digital teams all coming together to produce some really exciting marketing campaigns that sprung off the back of these events.

Over the past year, we’ve produced eShots, press adverts, POS, social posts, website content and digital banners for many different sporting occasions including the Rugby Six Nations, Wimbledon, Euro 2016, Rio Olympics, the Ryder Cup and many more.

Hyundai-Kia was the official sponsor for Euro 2016, and one of our clients at Denfield represents the Hyundai brand at dealership level. We managed the supporting brand activities at local level for our automotive-based client and have been referencing the sponsorship on all marketing activities from press ads right through to radio campaigns to increase exposure, including artwork shown below:

Grassroots advertising

While big sporting events are a great way to communicate to large audiences on a global scale, there are other affiliations within sport that work at a much more micro-targeted level and don’t require huge marketing budgets.

Many of our clients sponsor lower league football, rugby and hockey clubs and use this affiliation to communicate with local supporters through pitch side advertising, match day programmes, digital screens and other channels.

Outside of the stadiums, we even have clients that partner with local gyms such as David Lloyd, and we work with them to raise their profile and target specific offers to its members.

For as long as I can remember, sport and advertising have gone hand-in-hand. It’s a fruitful relationship that is a great revenue stream for companies and provides marketers with a channel to prospect customers and a chance to increase brand awareness.

The pulling power of the big boys

Sport sponsorships have been around for decades and nowadays, every billboard or television advert seems to be endorsed by a sporting athlete. For large brands such as Nike and Adidas, they are the real champions with a portfolio of superstars from every sport and various countries representing them on a global stage.

These athletes and sports clubs act as brand ambassadors and can heavily influence consumer buying habits. If we look at a few different sports, we can see companies spending huge amounts in sponsorship deals to compete for the signatures of top athletes and have their name affiliated with different sports:

  • Rory McIlroy golf club sponsorship (insert picture) – Nike (£150 million)
  • Lionel Messi boot sponsorship – (£140 million)
  • UFC sponsorship – Reebok (£70 million)
  • Chelsea FC kit sponsorship – Nike (£60 million)

As a form of emotive advertising, sport brands know that sponsorships can appeal to fans around the world who support particular athletes or teams affiliated with their brand. Brands compete for big names to represent them as brand ambassadors and promote their products, which is why these athletes can attract such large sponsorship packages, with affiliations costing in excess of £150 million.

Each year, decisions such as which football boots to purchase or what branded clothing I decide to buy are almost subliminally dictated and changed based on the affiliations that these brands have with my sporting heroes and the adverts I see on Sky Sports.

Throughout my life I have regularly been swayed and influenced by sports advertising, so I know it works - and it’s one of the main reasons that I decided to pursue a career in marketing. Here at Denfield, I get to work on lots of exciting marketing campaigns during sporting events where I can really get creative. What event will be next in the sporting calendar? We’ll have to wait and see.