The Power of Sport for Allianz

Allianz 2013In June 2012, Sport for Business carried this interview with Damien O’Neill on the importance of sport as part of the company’s sponsorship mix and on the commitment to Paralympics. It is fitting given this week’s extension of that support to Rio 2016, to look back on what makes sport work for a major company like Allianz.

“There is no finer way than sport to build a community”

Those words from Damien O’Neill, Marketing Director of Allianz go right to the heart of why a sponsor would look to sport in general. In the case of Allianz they have found that their association with Paralympics Ireland has in some cases magnified the power of sport by as much as ten-fold. In this interview with Sport for Business O’Neill explores the reasons why Allianz is involved with sport in general and Paralympic sport in particular.

[ismember]“Our involvement with Paralympics Ireland goes very deep and for many different reasons.”

“To sit for a while with a Paralympic athlete like Mark Rohan or Orla Barry simply cannot fail to lift and inspire you. I have no hesitation in saying that Mark is the most ‘can-do’ person I have ever had the pleasure to meet. There is a grace an a quality to his whole persona and his outlook on life which is an absolute clear fit with the presentation of Allianz to our customer base.”

“Insurance is all about helping people to put their lives back together after sometimes terrible things going wrong. You could search for a long time and never find a role model that people can use to gain perspective on what has happened and how they can move on.”

“Paralympic athletes do that.”

“We are involved across many sports and on an international scale and the Allianz National Leagues, our association with Golf, our long commitment to Cumman na mBunscoil, all present us with a different kind of magic to bring to the brand.”

“Sport gives us a touch point in every community in the country.”

“While we were filming the advertisement with Mark it was notable the beeps of the horn, the raised hand in greeting of everyone he met.”

“He is someone of whom the whole of his local community is immensely proud. Come August and the Paralympic 2012 games, we believe that pride will extend to every home in Ireland.”

“When we first became involved in 2006, there was a question posed as to whether this was an example of corporate social responsibility. My simple and unequivocal answer was no. This is a sporting sponsorship. Mark, Orla and the rest of the elite athletes who represent us as a nation on a world stage have every bit of the resolve, determination and guts that are an essential component of any sporting success. The shame was that they had never had the recognition.”

“On our first engagement, Liam Harbison (CEO Paralympics Ireland) showed us a one minute clip of sporting achievement and celebration.”

“It was electric. The kind of footage that you will never forget, the kind of footage that sometimes only sport can provide. It was though the only footage which there was of our Paralympic stars.”

“Parity of access and parity of esteem are two core principles at Allianz. There was clearly a lack of parity here and we set out to change that.”

“We have a great relationship with Setanta Ireland through the stations coverage of the Allianz Leagues and Formula One and we set the wheels in motion to see whether they could obtain rights to the London Games from the European Broadcasting Union.”

“That has resulted in up to ten hours a day of live coverage from London throughout the Games this August and September. It will be broadcast free to air and Allianz being associated with action that will move the whole country is something that we see as very important.”

“It will enable the communities that support and encourage our athletes to perform to see the result of their efforts.”

“The GAA is promoting the importance of ‘being there’ in sport. The broadcasting of the games now, and hopefully again in 2016 and beyond gives supporters of Paralympic Sport, and that should be all of us, the opportunity to ‘be there’ in as close a way as will ever be possible for most.”

“Allianz’ global support of Paralympic sport will also have direct benefit for Irish athletes.”

“We are major advertisers in the world’s biggest airports and Orla Barry will shortly feature in a global campaign that will be seen by millions of passengers.”

“Paralympic Athletes, as much as anyone, deserve parity of esteem. That is what we hope to be able to give them.”

“We are deeply committed to sport nationally and internationally. Over 50% of our marketing budget goes on sponsorship, the bulk of that on sport. There is no finer way to build a community. It is difficult to find anything that comes close to the level of positive energy it generates.”[/ismember]

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