Saturday 17 March 2018

AdLib: It's a summer of hot sports sponsorships

Media & Marketing with Michael Cullen

Mayo footballer Cillian O'Connor
Mayo footballer Cillian O'Connor
Consultant Fiona Scott

With the Euros kicking off tomorrow and summer festivals in full flow, sponsorship deals are not breaking for summer.

Eir has signed up as GAA partner until 2020 in "a major deal" for both parties. The sponsorship is supported by an ad campaign pointing to how technology helps the sport. DDFH&B's 'New Play, Same Passion' features Mayo's Cillian O'Connor and Kerry's Fionn Fitzgerald. The campaign has TV stings for live games, social media and content activation, including match previews and analysis.

The IRFU's new four-year shirt deal with Vodafone is valued at €15m, which Livewire's Jamie Macken says makes it one of the biggest of its kind in Ireland. The sponsorship coincides with Ireland's tour to South Africa and sees the British telco replace Hutchison Whampoa's Three Ireland.

Accountant PwC has renewed its IRFU deal for Ireland's under-20, under-19 and under-18 teams.

Electric Ireland hopes to spark Team Ireland to greatness at the Olympics with press, radio, out of home and digital ads highlighting the "innate mental strength" needed to be an elite athlete. Flogas signed up Olympic boxers Michael Conlan and Paddy Barnes as brand ambassadors. MCE Insurance has become title sponsor of the Ulster Grand Prix for the next three years. While motorsport is a minority interest in Ireland, the event is seen as the world's fastest road race. Its passionate fan base makes it a good fit for the motorbike insurer.

DID Electrical signed up as the FAI's official electrical supplier for the Euros in France. The brand will deliver games and entertainment equipment for Ireland at the squad's base in Versailles. Research by Livewire shows that 15pc of fans who will watch most of the games expect to spend more on TV and audio equipment.

Livewire also reports that the Cork senior ladies football team has a €60k kit deal which has the squad wearing jerseys made by Armagh-based McKeever Sports. Bank of Ireland has agreed to back the National Digital Research Centre (NDRC) June and December investor days and their Female Founders Programme. NDRC is an early stage investor in startups.

* Radio advertising in Ireland is for the most part poor. Most radio ads are at best mediocre, lacking in originality and punch. But award-winning copywriter and former agency creative director Eoghan Nolan hopes to restore some wow! to the airwaves. He's organising one-day classes for brand owners on the art of creating radio ads which connect with consumers.

The founder of Brand Artillery and Think & Son has launched Studiocraft for Advertisers. Nolan aims is to provide insight into how a radio ad comes about, from brief and concept to script, casting, direction and final sound. The two-part summer classes are limited to nine sign ups at a time and include a working visit to Mutiny Studios.

* Gill Madden has been appointed head of brand marketing at FleishmanHillard (FH). Madden has worked with the US-owned PR agency for over 18 years, having joined from Edelman in 1998. She was appointed a director in 2009. A marketing graduate of Portobello College, she led the campaign for the Procter & Gamble (P&G) Paralympics Golden Moment of the London 2012 Games, which won Ireland's first and only Cannes Lion for PR work. FH's worldwide president and ceo is Irishman John Saunders and the Dublin office is run by Rhona Blake. Clients include ABP Foods, Boots, Newstalk/98FM, William Fry, Grant Thornton and Mondelez International, owner of Cadbury's chocolate.

Gill Madden, brand marketing head at FH
Gill Madden, brand marketing head at FH

* Anyone and everyone has until June 28 to vote for the 20 finalists in this year's Nissan Generation Next brand ambassadors. The competition seeks out Ireland's new generation of rising talent in business, sport, music, fashion and social enterprise.

Over 1,000 achievers from all walks of life have applied and will now face off in the public ballot. The seven finalists with most votes in the online poll will each receive the keys to a new taxed and insured Nissan to drive for a year as brand ambassadors. The full list of this year's finalists along with online voting is available at

* Recent moves in adland include Boys and Girls co-founder Fiona Scott working as a consultant at Initiative. A dab hand at media, Scott headed up buying and planning at McConnells' MCM Communications for several years. Initiative's director of agency operations Audrey O'Connor and IPG Mediabrands' head of planning Mark O'Flaherty are to leave the agency. Elsewhere, Adrian Fitzsimon has joined Havas Worldwide Dublin as creative director. He was art director at Chemistry for the past 12 years.

Michael Cullen is editor of

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