Last week Littlewoods Ireland announced that they were expanding their partnership with the GAA and the Camogie Association for a further three years.
When they came on board as the third sponsor of the All Ireland Hurling Championship and as principal backer of the Littlewoods Ireland National Camogie League they brought a fresh perspective to Gaelic Games sponsorship with catwalks and fashion to the fore in ways that had not previously been seen.
“It was quirky and unexpected when we came on board,” said Littlewoods Ireland Sponsorship Manager Pippa Doyle speaking exclusively to Sport for Business.
“We were coming in as underdogs but we had done plenty of preparatory research and we knew that if we played to our strengths that we could do a great job for Gaelic games and match our own objective to enhance how we were seen as a highly trusted brand.”
“We had rebranded from what was the Kays catalogue through to the Littlewoods Ireland online brand and in 2016 we launched V by Very.”
“The purpose of the sponsorship was to give the brand a bit of heart, something for people to cling to and give recognition to the fact that we were fully invested in Ireland.”
“We knew from our own data that our existing customer base mapped really well with the areas where hurling was strongest so we had confidence that what we had planned would resonate well.”
“That said it was terrifying to get going and to get involved with such respected national institutions.”
“In the first year, we were really learning the ropes, figuring out the best ways in which our own strengths in online marketing could complement and enhance the tournaments.”
In 2018 we were able to rev things up. Our ambassadors were great in gaining credibility for us, and using the banner of #StyleOfPlay helped to get the message across that we were a leading fashion supplier and that fashion was a big part of how players and supporters saw themselves.”
“Content was the big driver for us in terms of attaching to each of the three tournaments, including the National Go Games.”
“We ran a national competition to ‘win’ a specially painted Hurling Wall which got us into the club ecosystem and people really took to our video, social and online content.”
“Giving players a safe space where they could talk about their own style was something that had never really been done in the GAA and there was a real appetite for it.”
“We were able to test our assumptions internally by explaining what we were doing and explaining the reach of the GAA community to our colleagues in the UK but once they got it we knew that we were on the right track.”
“In year two 2018 we saw a massive spike in recognition. Our own internal metrics were showing the partnership to be a big driver of affinity and sales. In terms of awareness, the #StyleOfPlay campaign climbed 48 per cent and we were really finding our feet.”
“We are a small team but we had great relationships with our agencies and with the GAA and Camogie teams. That is always a critical part of making a partnership work and 2019 saw it get even better.”
“We wanted to help Camogie get the game out to a wider audience and backed the streaming of matches through the Littlewoods Ireland National League.”
“Our target was to get to 100,000 live streams and we blew that away hitting 140,000 by the end of the campaign.”
“We ran our first TV ads, using the credibility we had built through the sponsorship and the numbers kept on rising through this year.”
“It really does feel as though we are only just at the start of what we can do and it is very exciting now to be planning and getting ready for the next phase.”
Read More: Littlewoods Extends for Three More Years
Image credit: Ramsey Cardy, Sportsfile