Tag Archive | "Sponsorship"

Sponsorship & Social Media [event]

Next week sees the 5th instalment of the Digital Sport London series.  These events are used to not only network with fellow professionals, and these is plenty of time to do so, but also take a look at a different topic that affects the work in which we do.

This month we take a look at a sector of the commercial side of sport that has been affected more than most, sponsorship.  It’s an area I know well from my time working as Sponsorship Manager at Glamorgan Cricket Club and have kept an interest in ever since.

At this event we’ll be not only chatting about how affected the sector has been but also get an insight into a couple of tech companies who are offering solutions to the issues thrown up.

To help guide us through this maze, we have some great people from different agencies on board.  They are;

Each speaker will bring a different perspective to the evening.  They all work with clients, and in terms of IMG some of their own properties too, and help them make the most of the opportunities that social networks have opened up.  If you have any questions you’d like to hear asked to the panel then you can use the hashtag #DSLondon or add it into the comments below.

The two tech companies we shall be hearing from are already making waves.  Storystream is a content curation and publishing platform that gives brands all the tools needed to create audience driven, real time stories.  They’ve already worked with Porsche, Goodwood Festival of Speed and Getty Images, and were recently highlighted by The Guardian as one of Brighton’s leading tech start-ups.

The second is Grabyo. They allow you to share real-time video across social networks, websites and mobile apps with ad-server integration and sponsorship opportunities.  They came to prominence with their work with SkySports during the summer transfer window, allowing the broadcaster to share video of the show on Twitter.  They now work with Channel 5, CBS, Mindshare and thinkbox and recently appointed former Sky exec Gareth Capon as their CEO.

It promises to be another great evening of learning, debate and networking.  There are still spaces and the event will take place from 6pm on Tuesday 25th Feb at Grand Union Farringdon.


Posted in Events, Social Media, SportComments (1)

Video – A Missed Opportunity For F1 Sponsors [Infographic]

Video marketing is one of my newest passions, having spent a good amount of time looking at the nuances of it both at We Are Social and particularly now at Copa90. Now with the start of the new F1 season with us, a new report [infographic] has come out revealing huge areas of opportunities for brands.

Formula 1 is the biggest global sporting series in the world yet its brand partners are struggling to amplify the value of their sponsorship rights through branded video content.

As the new season gets underway, over 200 sponsors have again committed to the adrenalin-fuelled sport.  Yet Blended Republic, a new branded content consultancy with specialist F1 experience has revealed huge gaps in marketing potential after reviewing all video content created by each of the 221 listed F1 sponsors during the 2012 season.

The report: “Content Marketing in F1: From Exposure to Engagement” highlights that:

  • Only 24% of sponsors create video content around their sponsorship
  • Most video content fails to gain a significant audience with 66% of those videos achieving less than 1,000 video views on You Tube.
  • Despite a quoted global TV audience of around ½ billion across 185 countries, less than 10% of F1 sponsors create content for use by F1 broadcasters.

Chris Sice, Managing Director of Blended Republic says:

“Formula 1 delivers unrivalled global exposure but most sponsors are struggling to create video content that connects with F1 fans.  The rise of social media and the popularity of F1 on TV present a huge opportunity for sponsors. Audiences crave content about F1 that fuels their passion for the sport.  As the news season dawns, there is enormous scope for those sponsors that can create video so compelling broadcasters will air it and fans share it on social media.”

The report highlights some of the best recent examples of branded videos created by F1 sponsors, summarises the potential benefits and provides a checklist of how F1 sponsors can develop effective branded content.

The key findings from the report can be viewed as an infographic below or check it out at http://www.blendedrepublic.co.uk/insight/f1-content-strategy-report.  

What do you think, are brands missing a trick here?


Posted in Brands, F1, SportComments (0)

New Matchday app from O2 brings England rugby fans even closer to Twickenham

O2, sponsor of the RFU and England Rugby this week announced the launch of O2 Matchday, a new free app featuring Ref!Link that brings all the thrills and spills of England rugby action live from Twickenham, directly to fans’ phones across the UK.

Exclusive technology developed by O2 delivers a live feed from the referee’s microphone, providing a unique insight into international rugby. Fans get to know the most important man on the field, hearing each and every judgement call as it is made, while the match is being played.

Launched in the thick of the 2013 RBS 6 Nations, O2 Matchday with Ref!Link  is available for England v France on Saturday 23rd February, and when England play Italy at Twickenham on Sunday 10th March.

O2 Matchday can also be used by rugby fans before each Test weekend to get a match preview, find out how the teams line up head to head, which players to watch out for, and to get more information on the man officiating.  Swot up on the referee before he’s even blown the first whistle, and then using Ref!Link hear every decision he makes.

Live text commentary is streamed in from Twickenham, providing an insightful and alternative view of the game from our man at the match, with a social feed that tracks what the rugby commentators have to say about the match in progress.

The app also holds a mirror up to one of the most difficult man management jobs in the world. Hearing a rugby referee at work will reveal the skills and tactics involved in co-ordinating the fairest and most entertaining game of rugby.

International referee Nigel Owens said: “O2 Matchday is a further example of the transparency that rugby champions, but it is also a brilliant way to show the skills involved in being a great facilitator. I’m excited that the challenges of getting the best out of 30 men will now be available to a bigger audience.”

Mark Stevenson, Head of Priority and Sponsorship at O2 comments: “O2 Matchday allows you about as close to the England rugby action as it’s possible to get. Any closer and you’d be on the pitch. We’ve developed the technology using fan feedback and it will continue to evolve throughout the RBS 6 Nations as rugby lovers put it through its paces. O2 has a strong heritage supporting England and the Ref!Link feature means those fans who can’t journey to Twickenham still get the amazing live stadium experience.”

Jonathan Downey, Ref!Link Director comments: “We’re delighted to be working with O2 to bring Ref!Link to those fans not fortunate enough to be at England games at Twickenham. O2 Matchday allows them to experience what thousands do inside the stadium, a live feed from the ref during the game. Delivering this service with O2 to smartphones is a logical next step and we’re really excited about the development.”

O2 Matchday is available now as a free download at >> http://o2lin.kr/o2matchday

The app is currently available on any iOS mobile handset in the UK, with Android version coming very soon. Wi Fi is recommended. Data usage will be charged at the standard rate according to customers’ data agreement or package. The Ref!Link feature will not work within Twickenham Stadium itself.

Fans attending the match at Twickenham can continue to get closer to the action on pitch by purchasing a Ref!Link from a Ref!Link kiosk at the ground.

O2 Matchday app 1

O2 Matchday app 2

O2 Matchday app 3

Posted in Rugby, TechComments (0)

Changing The Way We Watch Rugby – And Use Facebook

Watching rugby these days, sports fans are likely to have more than just the remote in one hand and a cold beverage in the other. Making a regular appearance at match time are digital devices – laptops, smartphones, tablets…

This growing trend for “dual-screening” or “second-screening” has inspired adidas to build a cutting-edge Facebook site called adidas Game Day, where All Blacks fans can gather together virtually while they’re watching the match (or if they can’t get to a telly). It ran for the first time last Saturday night during the Bledisloe Cup test.

In the UK, new research by the Internet Advertising Bureau and ESPN has found that more than half (54 per cent) of football fans used a second digital device while watching this year’s UEFA Euro tournament matches on TV*. They were Tweeting, posting on Facebook, placing online bets, following live commentaries and blogs, tracking stats on smart phone apps, emailing fellow fans…

adidas Game Day will provide serious All Blacks fans with an outlet for their dual-screening urges, on a Facebook app like no other,” says adidas Marketing Manager Nadia Scott. “It harnesses the power and reach of Facebook but it doesn’t look like your usual Facebook app. It’s really a conventional website within the Facebook framework, that capitalises on the site’s latest layout capabilities.”

adidas has developed the pioneering site in conjunction with Facebook. It has far more functionality than the standard Facebook pages for businesses, and a unique design custom-created for adidas. adidas Game Day has been developed by boutique Auckland web development company Tailor.

It will be the first home on the web in the world for rugby fans that will offer them the combination of:

• live commentary, including the views of All Blacks greats and other experts;
• a chance to discuss the game as it unfolds through live chat;
• up-to-the-minute game stats, equivalent to those provided to match commentators;
• All Blacks team profiles;
• player line ups for both the All Blacks and their competition, for each fixture;
• online voting on contentious decisions;
• a vote for the man of the match; and
• a link to buy official supporters gear.

The initial line-up of guest commentators is injured All Black Ali Williams, former All Black Andrew Blowers and rugby-mad broadcaster Nathan Rarere.

adidas Game Day is an awesome place to get into the action,” says Ali Williams.

“If there’s one thing Kiwi rugby fans love, it’s having a good argument about an All Blacks game. It’s going to be a great new way to talk rugby, and I’m looking forward to hanging out there in the next few weeks. If I can’t get to the match, this will be the next best thing.” The app, at www.facebook.com/adidasrugby, will also be a hub for All Blacks fans between games, where they can dissect match stats, view fixtures and results, follow links to buy official All Blacks gear, and read and discuss match previews and news from the All Blacks.

In the launch phase, adidas Game Day will only work on computers and tablets viewed through the internet browser. More exciting pioneering functionality will be rolled out in future seasons, including a smartphone app. Details of these advances will be released closer to the time.

* Local stats for dual-screening aren’t available, but sports and entertainment consultancy Gemba New Zealand notes that during last year’s Rugby World Cup internet consumption of rugby union by New Zealanders increased almost four-fold.

Below are some screenshots from the app:


(Disclaimer: adidas Rugby is a client in my day job)

Posted in SportComments (0)

The Socialympics

Iain Taker is an associate lawyer at Kemp Little LLP (iain.taker@kemplittle.com), specialising in commercial contracts, social media and sports law, and is a registered lawyer under the FA Football Agency Regulations. You can follow him on twitter @iaintaker or on LinkedIn


The laws implemented for the London Olympic Games are the most stringent ever introduced by a host country and involve some concepts never previously covered by Olympic legislation.  This article will briefly look at the new legislation that has been enacted, what an infringing act consists of, the defences and exemptions , penalties and gives some suggestions as to what a brand (a non-official sponsor) should do.

July and August this year will see the 30th modern Olympic games in London but interestingly it will be the first time social media will truly be used to embrace the event.  Four years ago in Beijing there was had no official integration with social media platforms a simply amazing thought. At that time the respective user figures for Facebook and Twitter was 100m and 6m. Since then those figures have skyrocketed to 845m and 140m respectively.  One effect of the increased social media awareness is the implementation, and effect, of new legislation that surround and protect the London Olympics.

The commentary below looks at the situation from the perspective of a brand who has no official affiliation with the event.



Direct engagement and dialogue between brands and customers is one of the beauties of social media, which blurs the ‘us’ and ‘them’ distinction. It is this blurring that makes application of the new legislation so difficult. The key pieces of relevant (specific) legislation are:

(1) the ‘Olympic Association Right’ (OAR) and ‘Paralympic Association Right’ (PAR); and
(2) the ‘London Olympic Association Right’ (LOAR).

The OAR was introduced by the Olympic Symbol etc. Protection Act 1995 as amended in 2006 (one amendment was the introduction of PAR). OAR/PAR confer exclusive rights in relation to use of the Olympic Symbol, the Olympic motto and the protected words (for a full list see the LOCOG brand guidance), where such are used without the necessary consent. LOAR was also introduced in the 2006 amendments and grants exclusive rights in relation to any representation, which is likely to suggest to the public that there is an association between the person, goods or services and the Olympic Games in London. It has intentionally been drafted to be vague, broad and far-reaching in order to cover any use which might create an association with the London Olympics. The right has the potential to be most far-reaching and subjective intellectual property right within the UK.

As with all pieces of new legislation there has, and continues to be, significant challenges of interpretation and questions.  Some of the questions are answered by LOCOG’s guidance for brands and advertisers, however the new rules relating to social media are somewhat of a challenge to fully understand.  The result is that there are a number of brands, moderators and digital marketing agencies who are still seeking guidance as to what they are entitled to do and say just weeks before the event commences.



None of the rights will be infringed unless there is use, in the course of trade, in relation to goods or services, where the infringer does not have the Olympics authorities’ consent.  One unusual aspect is that where the brand owner/marketing agency is accused of breaching the OAR/PAR the burden of proof is reversed.  In effect the brand is deemed guilty unless they are able to prove that they are innocent (the opposite is true for any LOAR infringement).  Additional restrictions imposed on brands include prohibitions on using Olympics tickets as part of a competition and holding conferences or seminars on the topic of the Olympics.

When establishing whether an infringement of LOAR has occurred a court may take account of whether the “listed expressions” (see below) have been used.  While the listed expressions are a helpful guide it is not the not thing that a court will look at.  However, when two words from List A are used together or one from List A with one from List B they will be a heavier weighting towards an assumption that an association has been created and thus the brand will have infringed LOAR.

List A words: Games, Two thousand and twelve, 2012 and Twenty twelve.

List B words: Gold, Silver, Bronze, London, Medals, Sponsor and Summer.


Olympic symbols and words can be used where there is an exemption or defence. The two most relevant defences/exemptions to the legislation are where the content is:

1. A statement which “accords with honest practices” – as no association will be created.  LOCOG clarified that key factors will include:

a. is the statement true and accurate?;

b. is there any suggestion or implication of a connection with the Olympics?;

c. is there any unfairness to the interests of the Olympic authorities and sponsors?; and

d. is the context of use relevant?

2. Part of publishing or broadcasting of a report or information about the Olympics. Where there is a genuine journalist report the use will be exempt.  It is important to note that while brands cannot use this exemption to sponsor a news broadcast or conferences, “marketing collateral” (such as corporate newsletters) are exempt.  Whether a brand can report on events via social media channels unhappily remains a grey area.


An important aspect of the preventative nature of the new legislation is the penalties (in addition to adverse publicity) that can be applied for infringements.

Civil penalties

Infringement of OAR/PAR and/or LOAR can result in civil penalties.  The penalties that can incurred include damages, an account of profits, injunctions, order for delivery-up of offending assets, erasure of offending signs and/or disposal.

Criminal penalties

In addition to the civil penalties infringements of OAR/PAR can also result in criminal sanctions.  An example of an infringement which can attract criminal sanctions is if a brand has a view to gain for itself or another, or with an intent to cause loss to another (e.g. an official sponsor) and without the necessary consent applies a controlled representation to goods or packaging. On summary conviction the maximum fine is £20,000 and conviction on indictment the fine is unlimited.

What should a brand do?

It is therefore advisable to only provide social media content that is giving relevant, accurate and factual information.  All pictures, video and audio content should be moderated prior to use to ensure that no association will be conferred by its use.  Additionally brands should update their moderation guidelines to cater for the OAR/PAR and LOAR.

Where a brand is re-tweeting user generated content they must consider the consequences as if the content was initiated by the brand themselves.  Therefore brands should not encourage Olympic themed content from users or pass on specific expressions of support or excitement that refer to the games or individuals within the games. In short wherever there is a risk of an association (or use of symbols or words) with the Olympics brands must be very careful prior to using such content.

Under LOAR a brand cannot be “associated with” the London Olympics, an association is defined as suggesting any kind of contractual or commercial relationship, and kind of corporate connection or provision of financial or other support (such as sponsorship or free services).  Where a brand has any uncertainty over content both generated on their behalf and by users the content should be deleted to avoid any potential further infringement/damage being caused.

LOAR was created in part due to previous ‘creative’ methods of brands in the past to circumvent previous legislation.  Opposed to focussing on set instances that are covered LOAR seeks to focus on the overall impact of an activity.  Therefore brands should look not only to the letter of the new legislation but also to the spirit.  Ambush marketing has been a significant issue in previous Olympic games and the authorities hope that the introduction of the LOAR will prevent it occurring in London.


OAR/PAR and LOAR offer the Olympic authorities more broad and significant rights than ever before in the fight to avoid ambush marketing.  It is however, likely to be a consequence that the first ‘Social Olympics’ will see a number of brands test the boundaries of these pieces of legislation as they seek to engage with their customers.

It is uncertain the extent to which LOCOG will (and will be able to) enforce these powers where a brand is ‘innocently infringing’ with many commentators believing that the powers are predominately there to prevent severe examples of activities that would constitute intentional infringement under the new legislation e.g. Nike during the Atlanta Olympics in 1996.  Professor Simon Chadwick has said that LOCOG will be using specialist intelligence/policing squads in conjunction with agreements with social media sites such as Twitter to police the new legislation.  Whether this will be sufficient or even over-kill awaits to be seen.

The effective result of the introduction of the legislation is a situation where many brands are still having difficulty in establishing exact guidelines as what they are permitted to do without infringing. Helpful guidance can however be found at The Guardian and the Committee of Advertising Practice.

Posted in SportComments (0)

#RonaldoLIVE – fans get chance to challenge Real Madrid star

Last year Castrol EDGE presented Ronaldo Tested to the Limit, an award-winning documentary that showed the Portugal and Real Madrid forward showcase his strengths in a series of captivating challenges in the most scientific examination of a player ever undertaken.  #RonaldoLIVE will showcase the star player’s legendary skills, strength and agility.

Now, to celebrate the release of the documentary for free on iTunes, Castrol EDGE and Ronaldo are counting down to one more epic challenge, and this time – in a ground-breaking twist – Ronaldo’s fans will get to test his skill for themselves live on Facebook.

Fans are being asked to take part in the challenge – #RonaldoLIVE – by signing up on facebook.com/castrolfootball to be in with a chance of going head to head with Ronaldo on Thursday 17th May.

#RonaldoLIVE will be the world’s first interactive football challenge streamed live through Facebook from a state-of-the-art testing facility in Madrid. In the test, inspired by Ronaldo and Castrol EDGE’s Twitter followers, Ronaldo will face a barrage of footballs fired at him from chutes suspended above and he will have to receive, control and shoot each ball into one of four goals that surround him before the next ball is released.

Of the first 100,000 fans that connect to the #RonaldoLIVE Facebook app to watch live, fans will be selected at random to take part in the action, by selecting Ronaldo’s target and choosing the goals that he must shoot into.

Will Ronaldo have the lightning quick reaction speed, shooting accuracy and strength under pressure to control and successfully strike each ball? Or will his fans’ selections prove too much of a test?

All the action will be streamed live on both Castrol EDGE and Ronaldo’s Facebook pages (facebook.com/castrolfootball & facebook.com/Cristiano) on Thursday 17th May.  For fans that miss out on the live action, a mini-film will be released on Wednesday 23rd on youtube.com/castroledge and castroledge.com/ronaldo

Be interesting to see how many fans tune in and how exciting the action will be.  It’s an interesting follow up event by the guys at M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment.


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Valencia promote Twitter account on their shirts

You may have seen me tweet about this last night and it is something that is really interesting and will set many minds ticking at different sports organisations.

I have been talking about the need to integrate and promote Twitter, Facebook and YouTube accounts in my work for a while now.  It is easy to set up a presence in social media but it is harder to promote outside of this space and gain buy-in from other parts of the organisation.

This I hope will set a precedent for other teams in how they can use their assets, things that they already own and can use, to help raise awareness of for example their Twitter account.

The reason that Valencia chose this moment to do it was more out of a need to do something on the shirt.  The club has a temporary absence of a paying sponsor for their shirt so one of their bright marketing guys managed to persuade the powers-that-be that this was a great idea.

It will certainly get the attention of bloggers like myself and am sure will get a little mainstream attention as well.  There is a thing about being the first to do something and the PR that this will naturally attract.

Wonder if we see this on other kits and items for teams and athletes in the coming months?  I hope so.

Posted in SportComments (0)

Indesit to Launch Football Social Media Campaign

Indesit has appointed We Are Social to manage its global social media activity for its sponsorship of four European teams, including Arsenal and AC Milan.

The white goods brand, which also has partnerships with Paris Saint-Germain and FC Shakhtar Donetsk, has launched Football.Indesit.com to be the community hub for its activity.

Indesit aims to be seen as a more genuine football sponsor with the tag for the campaign being ’Genuine Football Fan’.

As part of the appointment We Are Social will be working with Indesit to create and share football content with fans both on the site and via social networks. The site will also be used to aggregate news and comments from footballers and fans with the aim of encouraging more conversation about the sport.

The campaign will be global, but there will be a particular focus for Europe and the countries that the four teams are from. Acivity is localised for those markets.

Gabriele Cucinella, managing partner at We Are Social Italy, said, “We will also use Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. Facebook will be a very important channel for conversation, allowing us to extend the conversation from the most passionate fans to a larger proportion of the target audience. Twitter will be essential in allowing us to have direct conversations with fans, especially on match days.”

Source: NMA.co.uk


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Vauxhall Football – The Big Pitch & Retro Restyle Facebook Apps

npower aren’t the only ones ramping up their football sponsorship efforts this week.  The recent sponsor of all the home countries, Vauxhall, has started to make a push using its Facebook page.

The Facebook page has only been active for about a month now (first post on 12th July) and they have been pretty quiet with pushing it up to now.  The 4,000+ fans can look forward to news from all the national teams of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland….thats a lot of content!

Vauxhalls new campaign has been in two parts.  Firstly there is app called ‘Retro Restyle’ in which it allows you to add your face into various 70’s and 80’s iconic looks, if you can call the perm and tash an iconic style!  

I did have one problem when having a play with this as it requires the newest version of Flash Player and if you are on a work PC where you cannot make downloads like this it is a bit of an issue. 

The second part of the campaign was ‘The Big Pitch’ competition.  They asked fans to tell the guys at Vauxhall why they deserve to win the big prize.  The big prize is a two day ultimate ‘Wembley Experience’ – to train and play a game on the hallowed turf and also get tickets for an England match.

There are a number of ‘pitches’ by fans for why they should go on the page from over the last 3 weeks, you have a read of them here.

Richard Hennis, relationship marketing manager at Vauxhall’s parent company, General Motors, told new media age: “We want to engage with fans to show that Vauxhall knows what it means to be a national sports fan and that we understand football.”

(Just to add, another glitch I found was that when you try to go ‘back’ to the Vauxhall Football page (rather than click on the link and open another window) it automatically puts you back into the app.)

With this competition now closed and the winner being announced tomorrow one can only assume the tickets will be for next week’s England v Holland game.  Has this been a successful launch of the new page?  Well with 4,00 new fans in just under a month it has not done too badly and now has an audience before the start of the football season.  We shall wait to see what they do next with the final qualifiers coming up soon and the the Euro’s.

Social Media is going to play a big part in the upcoming football season and with the European Championship and Olympics around the corner we’re going to see many more companies coming out with digital campaigns to activate their sponsorships.


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One Year To Go: Fill the London 2012 Stadium with Tweets!

After my rather lengthy last post here is something a bit more bitesized and with plenty of pictures!  Everyone involved has been releasing their celebration activations around fact that we have only 1 year until the start of London 2012 Games.

Samsung have gone with a YouTube homepage takeover to promote their torch relay, whilst adidas went with a video showing Phillips Idowu, Snoop Dogg and Warren G taking on GB Basketball at 3×3 in London(!) and BA unveiled a ‘One Year To Go’ painted on the underside of one of their planes.

London 2012 itself has come up with a really nice digital creative that will extend past this one day of partying.  Here they have taken to the country v country competition side of sport and used tweets as a way of measuring who is the winner…pretty simple.

You select the country you want to support and tweet a message that then goes towards the grand total for your chosen nationality.  You can then see this as an image of the stadium with the % of each country being shown within it.

So far Brazil is in the lead with 23% of the tweets with the UK running them close in 2nd place with 20% (USA are way behind with only 11%).  It is a really nice way of generating awareness with the #1yeartogo hashtag on all these tweets and a fun engaging way of getting people involved.  With the counter showing 40,000 tweets so far it is proving to be a great success.

Not only is this an great activation..there is more.  If you go to the Global view then you can submit videos and/or images in support of your country.  Adding even more to the depth of the engagement the website is offering.  Its a really good and fun way of celebrating a big day for the UK sport and getting people around the world involved.

Now for the pictures….

Read the full story

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