In what was a busy sporting summer of Gaelic football, hurling, FIFA soccer, a Hockey World Cup as well as international rowing, AIB was nominated as the best overall sports sponsor for the third year in a row by members of the Marketing Institute as part of Onside’s “Who Won the Summer Season” survey of brands that excelled on the sponsorship stage during the summer months.
Lidl’s sponsorship of Ladies Gaelic Football saw take second spot in the sports category while SoftCo’s sponsorship of the Irish Women’s Hockey team which reached the final of the World Cup, took third position. Vodafone topped the list of brands that were top performers in the non-sports sponsorship space thanks to its Vodafone Comedy Festival sponsorship campaign while Electric Ireland’s tie-up with Electric Picnic came in third position.
Elsewhere, Coca-Cola and Hyundai received strongest recognition for the effectiveness of their work on the FIFA World Cup in Russia. Bord Gáis Energy, meanwhile, showed the best year-on-year improvement in how effectively it activated its GAA campaigns.
As part of the survey, marketing professionals voted The O’Donovan brothers as the No 1 most marketable Irish sports stars following their medal success on the water this summer, followed closely by the Irish Women’s Hockey Team, Thomas Barr and rugby player 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.
According to John Trainor, Founder and CEO of ONSIDE: “The big winner in terms of scoring above expectations was the Irish Women’s Hockey team sponsor Softco, who were ranked third best sport sponsor overall this summer by marketing professionals surveyed”.
According to Trainor: “Interestingly, the research found that 1 in 4 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 summer. 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”.
Pointing to one route to achieve stronger gains next year, Trainor noted: “One of the stand-out success stories of 2018 shared at the ONSIDE / MII event by Bank of Ireland’s Sponsorship Manager Gemma Bell and Kevin Quinn from Leinster Rugby highlighted a proven path to breaking through any sponsorship fatigue by putting purpose at the heart of their remarkable double trophy win in May.”