Kicking goals with sponsorship

Sponsorship has become an essential tool for marketers looking to engage with consumers. With the AFL season fast approaching, ADRIAN FERNANDES shows how Volkswagen and HCF used eye-catching print ads to maximise sponsorship awareness of the Sydney Swans and differentiate both brands from competitors.

CB_HCF_VW_DIGITALKey Take Outs

  • Brands that sponsor sport can use print newspapers to grow awareness of their partnerships.
  • Leveraging sponsorship within creative can present brand messaging in a different way increase stand-out versus competitors.

Introduction

Sport sponsorship is big business with brands spending more than $775million sponsoring Australian sport last year1.

Brands are investing heavily in sports sponsorship to stand out from a crowded market by leveraging the strong engagement Australians have with their favourite teams. Financial services is the most prolific sector to sponsor sport (13.4%) followed by automotive (13.2%).

A solid sponsorship program should include advertising to maximise awareness and this week’s ADvance shows how successfully print ads raised awareness of health insurer HCF and car maker Volkswagen’s sponsorship of The Sydney Swans AFL team with stand-out creative.

Ad Executions

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Volkswagen produced this subtle execution prior to the Swans semi-final against the Kangaroos. It   featured a Volkswagen parked outside the Sydney Cricket Ground, the club’s home ground.

HCF used an action shot of the Swans celebrating with a stand-out headline “Don’t Hold Back”. It was published following their win against the Kangaroos in the semis.

Both ads are simple in message, wishing the team luck and highlighting HCF and Volkswagen’s support of The Swans.

Brand Perception

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The HCF and Volkswagen ads scored above the newspaper ad average in terms of differentiating themselves from their category competitors, lifting stand-out for each brand.

One in three respondents said the Volkswagen execution made the brand seem different from other category brands.

 “It’s not just another car ad with a picture of someone pretty driving a car at night!”

Producing print creative that stands out in the auto category is difficult, as seen in this ADvance study of ads for Mercedes-Benz and Lexus.

By using their sponsorship, Volkswagen have found a way to produce a brand ad that’s substantially different from other category ads in the eyes of respondents, driving stand out.

Some 31 percent made similar observations of the HCF ad.

“It’s good to see a different type of insurance ad not full of small print”

Strategic RoleMap

Six strategic advertising roles of newspapers have been validated both qualitatively and quantitatively by The Newspaper Works, resulting in the creation of RoleMap. For more information on this map, click here.

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Both ads scored exceptionally well in driving brand affinity. Promoting relationships with one of Sydney’s favourite sports teams at grand final time helped drive positivity towards HCF and Volkswagen.

Some 28 percent of respondents said the HCF ad gave them a good feeling about the brand.

“I am proud of HCF for supporting our one and only AFL team”

One in four (24%) said the same of Volkswagen.

The Volkswagen execution scored significantly well in encouraging reappraisal of the brand. One in four (24%) respondents said the ad made them think differently about the brand.

“Reinforces a link between a quality brand with a successful team.  It’s more about quality and brand awareness than the car itself.  Great imagery makes for a memorable ad.”

“I feel great about Volkswagen now that I know they are a Sydney Swans sponsor.”

ActionMap

Newspapers are recognised as an effective medium for delivering a Call to Action. ActionMap, another proprietary newspaper metric, expands on this strategic role to provide an understanding of the types of action a newspaper ad inspires. For more information on ActionMap, click here.

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Both executions performed in line with newspaper ad norms in terms of driving action, a strong performance for brand ads.

The ads successfully encouraged memorability, with 13% of respondents saying they would remember HCF and Volkswagen’s sponsorship of the Swans.

Some 12 percent said they would go online to look up more information after seeing the ads.

Creative Diagnostics

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In terms of creativity, both ads were on par with the newspaper average.

The HCF execution scored better than the Volkswagen creative. Respondents appreciated the action shot of Swans players celebrating with 40 percent said it was a great image. Some 30 percent said the ad was eye-catching, a strong score for a quarter-page ad.

“I thought it was a great ad! Clever and catchy. Up to date and aiming at people who follow sport. It would catch my eye more than other ads even though I’m not into sport.”

“It’s clever with a good turn of phrase. I really like that photo.”

One in three (32%) respondents said the Volkswagen ad had a great image, with one in four saying it is an eye-catching execution. Others felt the ad was too subtle and made it difficult to see what was being advertised.

“It’s a nice picture, but I don’t really get what the message meant.”

Summaries

Volkswagen

Volkswagen’s execution encouraged respondents to reappraise the brand in a positive light. Sydney-siders were surprised and delighted that an international car brand supports a local sports team. The creative was eye-catching but too subtle for some non-sports fans who didn’t understand some references.

HCF

HCF’s ad was eye-catching, appealing to non-sports fans as well as die hard supporters. The headline and subsequent tagline appealed to many respondents who thought them catchy and appropriate. The ad was noticeably different to traditional insurance print ads.

Quote-Unquote

Volkswagen

“It’s not the type of car ad you normally see which is good. It’s good to see a German brand like Volkswagen supporting a local team, I didn’t know they sponsored the Swans and I’m a fan!”

“Reinforces a link between a quality brand with a successful team.  It’s more about quality and brand awareness than the car itself.  Great imagery makes for a memorable ad.”

“It’s a nice picture, but I don’t really get what the message meant. It may grab a car enthusiast’s attention but would only grab mine for a second or so.”

HCF

“A great ad! Clever and catchy. Up to date and aiming at people who follow sport. It would catch my eye more than other ads even though I’m not into sport.”

“I am proud of HCF for supporting our one and only AFL team.”

“It’s good to see a different type of insurance ad not full of small print.”

Footer

Research conducted online by Ipsos Media CT. Fieldwork conducted October 2014. Sample aged 18+, based in Sydney, separate samples tested for each ad: n = 102 for Volkswagen ad, n = 102 for HCF. Significance tests conducted at 90% confidence level. Full details of methodology, Role Map and Action Map available on www.newsmediaworks.com.au

Source

  1. https://www.marketingmag.com.au/news-c/good-sports-sponsorships-industry-trends-best-practice-and-risk-management/

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