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You heard it here first...


You heard it here first...

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You heard it here first...


You heard it here first...

Pearlfinders delivers first-hand insight on the thinking going on behind the scenes at brands at every stage of their sponsorship planning process - in real-time. The sports partnerships below have all been announced recently, but in each instance, we uncovered clues as to where the brands was heading much longer ago...

 

HSBC & BRITISH CYCLING 

As recently as November 2015, "The World's Local Bank" Head of Sponsorship Planning told us he needed to partner with sports that have a global appeal. But when we spoke in June this year his focus was shifting to restoring trust, particularly in an industry prone to more negative perceptions about the success and stability of firms. Post-Brexit we flagged the bank's announcement that they would be keeping their HQ in London a further clue that the bank might be looking to deepen it's relationship with UK sport, as it did last month via the partnership with British Cycling.

More on HSBC >>

 

Thomas Cook & West Ham

June 2015 saw the travel brand's Director of Football notify us of a “transitional period” in its approach to sport. Instead of major branding activity through sponsorship, it was now looking for partnerships that would directly contribute to revenue streams - targeting 30-40-year-old males specifically. In May this year, we tracked yet another decision-maker move, and the new Head of Sport told us he was actively seeking a “Match Breaks supplier” across clubs, teams and organisations to expand the brand. Last month, West Ham became exactly that.

More on Thomas Cook >> 

 

VIRGIN MEDIA & SOUTHAMPTON FC

Back in September 2014,  Virgin Media's Head of Advertising & Sponsorship told us exposure was a top priority in any sponsorship deal. However, a year later we revealed a major strategic shift, with focus no longer on mass exposure deals but 'collaborative partnerships' to build direct links between properties and the brand's key values. In June we advised that partnerships to help increase the brand's presence and authenticity would be welcomed... Fast forward to September, when the brand increased both presence and goodwill by capping tickets for away fans travelling to St. Mary's...

More on Virgin Media >>

Football Colour icon.png

You heard it here first...


You heard it here first...


iNFINITI & iNTER mILAN

In January last year, Nissan's UK Comms Manager was already hinting at changes in strategy, saying it was “debatable” whether it was getting the most out some of its F1 investments. While not always seen as a 'premium' sport - football was later uncovered by us to be of interest, due to its capacity for connecting with communities. Shortly after Infiniti's Red Bull partnership concluded, we advised to get in touch towards the latter stages of the year - around the time this particular deal was being reviewed.

More on Nissan >>

 

Gillette & Antoine Griezmann

More than two years ago, Gillette's Global Brand Manager for Sports Marketing highlighted football and F1 as key sports for sponsorship. When the Comms Manager told us it was streamlining its partnerships outside of football in 2015 - the sport seemed an obvious choice to align with it's chosen "manliness" messaging. May this year saw us report on the brand's wish to reach various domestic territories through partnerships that aligned with its young male target audience, as shown by it's current deal with Neymar. Euro 2016's Golden Boot recipient was a bankable option.

More on Procter & Gamble >>

 

Coca-cola & bundesliga teams

Some might argue the FMCG giant is blanket-investing across football, but its Senior Brand Manager told us last summer it would never invest in a property for the sake of just getting awareness. In June this year, we reported on a new five-year growth plan for the brand and shortly afterwards we reported it wanted to create "passion points" between the brand and its audience, aligning with the theme of happiness. A wide sponsorship portfolio across a whole football league is definitely one way to keep as many people as possible happy.

More on Coca-Cola >>

Cycling icon.png

You heard it here first...


You heard it here first...


BMW & andretti autosport

Back in March 2015, BMW's UK Comms Manager told us he wanted to educate the public on the brand's technical capabilities. Later that year, the brand's Sports & Marketing Partnerships Manager said it was increasingly targeting the more top-end, luxury market. In May, shortly after the brand decided not to renew it's contract with the RFU, we were explicitly told it was now open to exploring new partnerships in the luxury sector - the perfect time for new business teams to make an approach? Already the “Official Vehicle Partner” of the FIA Formula E, BMW's deal with Andretti Autosport deepens its association with a sport that's both techy and appealing to HNWIs.

More on BMW >>

 

WICKES & ENGLISH FOOTBALL LEAGUE

When news of this deal broke, it echoed much of the insights we'd uncovered from speaking to Wickes over the past 18 months. When we spoke to the brand's National Advertising and Sponsorship Manager in 2015, she revealed that its main goal was media sponsorship, with football a particular interest. Earlier this year, the brand told us it was going through a review of strategy to increase engagement  with its male-dominated audience. Individual team sponsorship was thought of as too regional, as they wanted national level exposure - precisely the kind of exposure the EFL is able to deliver...

More on Wickes >>

 

VITA COCO & BRITISH MILITARY FITNESS

We've covered Vita Coco since it's infancy within the UK market. It's always been conscious that health and well-being should play an integral part of any marketing, and has invested heavily in sport and experiential since day one. Back in 2013, the UK Brand Manager noted told us it wanted to associate purely with "natural" sports and outdoor activities.  In 2015 we tracked a new focus on properties that extended outside of London and the South East. Based on our recent insight that it was looking to broaden its appeal beyond trendy yoga enthusiasts, British Military Fitness seems like a pretty good fit.

More on Vita Coco >>

 

DHL & FAI

Back in 2013, DHL's Global Sponsorship Manager spoke at length to us about the brand's "evolving" sponsorship strategy. It was essential for them to be recognised as a partner, in contrast to a sponsor and they would furthermore no longer be swayed by media value in terms of partnerships, but on the impact a partnership will have on consumers and employees. In June this year, we picked up its intention to invest more in football, making the FAI a logical addition to its portfolio, but could there be more football partnerships to come? We suspect so... 

More on DHL >>