Onside Reveal Summer Winners

The Havelock Suite was packed yesterday morning as Onside Sponsorship and The Marketing Institute of Ireland hosted what has become an annual discussion around the most effective sponsorships of the summer.

Gaelic Games held off strong competition from the World Cups in Football and Women’s Hockey as well as a host of medal-winning performances from Irish sports stars to produce six of the top ten sponsorships as voted for by marketing professionals.

AIB topped the list in terms of best overall sports sponsorship for the third summer in a row, while Ladies Gaelic Football sponsors Lidl took second spot. Hurling sponsors Littlewoods and Bord Gáis Energy showed the best year on year improvement in how effectively they activated their GAA campaigns.  Both of them were in the second year of their respective partnerships with the All Ireland Hurling Championships and benefited from a strong summer in that code.

Supervalu and Centra also made the Top ten alongside Electric Ireland, Heineken, Three, Vodafone with the final one being the one that would have been least expected at the start of the summer Softco.

“The big winner in terms of scoring above expectations was the Irish Women’s Hockey team sponsor Softco, who were ranked third best sports sponsor overall this summer, said Onside Founder and CEO John Trainor.

Coca-Cola and Hyundai received strongest recognition for the effectiveness of their work on the FIFA World Cup Russia platform.

Vodafone topped the list of brands that were top performers in the non-sports sponsorship space thanks to their Vodafone Comedy Festival sponsorship campaign, followed by Electric Ireland’s tie-up with Electric Picnic.

“The research found that one in four Irish marketing professionals believe the effectiveness of sponsorship campaigns in Ireland progressed this summer, with 63% feeling the standard of sponsorship in the marketplace was similar to last year,” added Trainor.

“With macro trends such as a rapidly changing sports media landscape and a sea of content competing for cut-through coupled with a Rugby World Cup on the horizon in 2019, marketing teams will be challenged to up the level of effectiveness of their campaigns to stand-out more effectively in 2019.”

“One of the stand-out success stories of 2018 was illustrated  by Bank of Ireland’s Sponsorship Manager Gemma Bell and Kevin Quinn from Leinster Rugby who highlighted their putting purpose at the heart of their partnership and cutting through sponsorship fatigue.”

“It wasn’t always easy and when the Bank chose the Irish Heart Foundation as their nominated charity to put on the shirt it wasn’t easy as it wasn’t one of the two charities which the Leinster players had chosen,” said Quinn.

“It’s a partnership though and we worked our way through so that in the end everyone was a winner.”

Bell revealed that the Bank was reducing its number of sponsorship partnerships from over 160 to around 40 and focusing on stronger and more effective activation of the fewer number.

Marketing professionals voted The O’Donovan brothers as the No 1 most marketable Irish sports stars for 2019 following their medal success on the water this summer and Gary was in waspish form with host for the morning RTÉ’s Darragh Moloney.

They were followed closely by the Irish Women’s Hockey Team, Thomas Barr and Rugby World Cup 2019 hopeful Johnny Sexton.

Looking beyond traditional media, Pippa O’Connor, The 2 Johnnies, Vogue Williams and James Kavanagh were seen as the most marketable digital influencers by the marketing budget holders of 2019.

RTÉ Head of Sport Declan McBennett delivered a powerful keynote address on the changing nature of TV sport and the importance of reach over pure revenue which sporting rights holders have to face.  We will have a full report on what he said on Sport for Business tomorrow.


Image Credit: Naoise Culhane

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