Sunday 18 February 2018

AdLib: O'Donovans show pulling power

Media & Marketing with Michael Cullen

The popular Rio heroes the O’Donovan brothers starred in Bord Bia’s egg campaign, and, below, former Doyenne winner Google country manager Cera Healy
The popular Rio heroes the O’Donovan brothers starred in Bord Bia’s egg campaign, and, below, former Doyenne winner Google country manager Cera Healy

Michael Cullen

Given all that happened in 2016, RTE's 'Reeling Back the Years' may need a whole series to cover last year's major events. On the sports front, the O'Donovan brothers endeared themselves to the nation with their Olympic exploits and post-race interviews. Winners of Ireland's first-ever Olympic rowing medal, Paul and Gary O'Donovan were soon signed up by Bord Bia.

The PSG Sport & Sponsorship Index (PSSI) 2016, a 1,000-person nationally representative survey, rated the Skibbereen duo as Ireland's third-most admired sports stars. Their "steak 'n' spuds" and "pull like a dog" quotes were the most memorable sporting comments of the year. The O'Donovans fronted Bord Bia's "Eggs - Fuel for a Busy Life" campaign. All going to plan, there's other major commercial deals awaiting them in the run-up to Tokyo 2020.

Scott Graham, PSG Sponsorship account manager, has a take on this year's sports trends. Football's global governing body, Fifa, wants to use digital replacement technology (DRT) for next year's World Cup in Russia. But it's a race against time and the idea may have to be kicked out until Qatar 2022 to ensure its smooth integration.

DRT allows sponsors' logos and graphics to be represented "virtually" on LED advertising boards on broadcast feeds worldwide. The technology would let Fifa generate additional revenues across five regions - North America, South America, Europe, Middle East and Africa, and Asia, with different logos served to viewers in each region.

Jaguar uses big data to excite the fans at Wimbledon. The car brand hands out smart wristbands to track emotions, using biometric data to show heart rate, body temperature, crowd density, noise and energy levels. The data is used to create over 600 pieces of real-time mobile and social content. The result? Sixty-five million impressions. #FeelWimbledon was the most used hashtag of all the tournament sponsors and perceptions of Jaguar as a go-ahead brand increased by 20pc. Graham expects big data to be even bigger news in 2017.

While Snapchat is mostly associated with teenagers sharing photos with their peers, the app has potential for sponsors. Wimbledon's 148-year-old All England Club jumped on the Snapchat bandwagon by signing a three-year deal for live behind-the-scenes stories posted from the men's and women's finals. Over 18 million viewers tune into the BBC's coverage. Snapchatting allows Wimbledon organisers engage with a new, younger audience.

Proving the success of sponsorship and making sure brand owners get "bang for their buck" remains a hurdle in sport, although evaluation techniques have become more sophisticated. With budgets under close scrutiny, it pays to invest in key performance indicator (KPI) measurements, allowing marketers to get a firm take on returns.

PSG puts sport sponsorship spend in Ireland last year at about €186m. In 2017, the figure could reach €190m, with 71pc of sponsorship managers upping spend. Driving brand awareness is the prime reason for choosing sponsorship, followed by a need to increase customer loyalty, staff engagement, reputation enhancement and a shift in consumer sentiment.


* Hats off to the Irish Cancer Society for its "I Want To Get Cancer" campaign created by Chemistry. While the ads have unfortunately caused distress to some cancer sufferers and survivors, who see them as insensitive, the shock tactic raises awareness of a disease that one in two people in Ireland are likely to experience by 2020. The woman saying "I want to get cancer... before it gets you" and the man claiming "I want to get cancer... and wring its bloody neck" hit home.

There's little point in being all nicey-nicey with cancer, it's a scourge crying out for answers through research to help the 40,000 people diagnosed each year. Since the campaign started, the Irish Cancer Society has reported a 280pc increase in online visits to "Reduce Your Risk" and calls to the Cancer Nurseline doubled.


* The Institute of Advertising Practitioners in Ireland (IAPI), has put a call out for this year's Doyenne award. The competition recognises outstanding talent shown by women in ad agencies, media and PR. IAPI's ceo Tania Banotti wants people across the industry to come forward or nominate a colleague.

The award salutes women who show leadership and who champion collaboration, creative teamwork and best practice. A second accolade, the rising star award, is aimed at women on the way up who make things happen and go the extra mile. The awards are intended to try and correct the gender imbalance in industry management. Last year's winner was Google's country manager Cera Healy. Entries must be in by February 7.


* Gremlins got the better of me last week with a reference to TV3's new series of 'The Restaurant'. Gas Networks Ireland replaces Aldi, not Lidl, as this year's new sponsor. My apologies for confusing the two.

Michael Cullen is editor of;

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