Monday 23 October 2017

Summit to talk about sponsorship's future

Simon Zebo, Paul O'Sullivan of Volkswagen and Tommy O'Donnell
Simon Zebo, Paul O'Sullivan of Volkswagen and Tommy O'Donnell
John Trainor of Onside Sponsorship
Alison Comyn

Sponsorship and its potential payback is a frequent talking point in adland these days. Ireland's biggest media agency group, Core Media, is about to launch a dedicated sponsorship unit called Livewire, the Government has postponed plans to ban drinks brands support for sport and the latest national sponsorship summit is lined up for later this month.

Core's Livewire will be in the business of developing strategies, rights negotiation and evaluation for brand owners and rights holders. UCD professor Tony Meenaghan has been hired as chairman to lend his extensive expertise in the sponsorship arena, while Starcom deputy managing director Jill Downey and former RTE producer and Thinkhouse executive Jamie Macken will run the show on a day-to-day basis.

While many figures are bandied about as to the value of Ireland's sponsorship market, John Trainor (inset) of Onside Sponsorship agency claims last year spend was up by 9pc to €136m. He predicts a 12pc hike for 2015, with a new high of €152m. Driving the increase will be the Rugby World Cup in England - for which TV3 has the TV rights - economic growth and an expected jump in sponsorship rights fees.

Government plans to ban or curb sponsorship of sports and arts events by drinks companies have been waived following intensive talks between Government departments, including the Department of An Taoiseach. Worries about a lack of replacement funds to support major sports and cultural events are said to have influenced the decision.

Spend from drinks companies on sports and arts sponsorships are worth about €25m each year. Health Minister Leo Varadkar says the focus will be on introducing legislation aimed at controlling alcohol minimum pricing, adequate calorie content labelling on products, structural placement of alcohol products in-store and new advertising regulations.

Ireland's fifth annual Sponsorship Summit takes place in Croke Park on February 26. About 300 delegates are expected to turn up to hear speakers from near and far discussing sports, arts and music sponsorships. Among the headline speakers is Patrick Nally, the man credited as the driving force behind the multi-tier sponsorship model created in the 1970s.

Dedra DeLilli, head of social media, marketing and corporate sponsorships at Nebraska-based online broker TD Ameritrade, will share insights from her work with London 2012, Sochi 2014 and the NFL. Richard Ayers, boss of Seven Leagues and former head of digital at Manchester City FC, will explain how marketers can up their digital media game and talk about his dealings with Uefa and Fifa.

* Evidence - should any be needed - that competition in Ireland's TV market is getting more intense, is indicated by UTV Ireland engaging in talks with PR agencies to handle their consumer needs. Up to now, former FleishmanHillard (FH) executive Neal Cummins has marshalled the new TV station's PR in his role as in-house communications manager, with some outside help from Roisin O'Hea.

The Belfast-owned company has asked WHPR, PSG, as well as Cummins's alma mater, FH, to present proposals. An invite to pitch was also extended to Kennedy PR, the agency run by Caroline Kennedy and with which UTV Ireland's head of channel, Mary Curtis, worked with while in charge of Saorview.

UTV Ireland, which has Alison Comyn at the helm as its news anchor, is also getting new shows added to its schedule.

As PR agencies are asked to pitch, the new channel has added ITV breakfast show Good Morning Britain, aka GMB, to its schedule with brief news updates from its Ireland Live team included in the show.

* Electric Ireland-ESB is reviewing its media buying, currently with MediaVest. The other agencies presenting for the utility's business are Carat and MediaCom. While refusing to confirm those on the agency pitch list, Electric Ireland's Lisa Browne said a decision will be made in April. Electric Ireland's creative agency is Cawley Nea\TBWA.

* Winter may well be with us, yet rivalry in Dublin's ice cream market continues to heat up. Children of all ages regularly form lengthy queues at Scrumdiddly's outlets in Dun Laoghaire and Donabate. Scrumdiddly's, which is due to open new outlets soon, has caught the public imagination and is prompting other ice cream parlour start-ups.

As one young customer was heard remark: "Every day is sundae". But rather than just copy Scrumdiddly's success, would-be ice cream makers might take a look at a chain in California with the same name as a famous Irish ad agency.

Established in Santa Barbara back in 1949, McConnell's offers a selection of 30 ice creams and 16 frozen yogurt flavours.

The choice ranges from salted caramel chocolate chip, to blueberry and cream and mango sorbet. McConnell's uses the tasty slogan 'You make us melt'.

* The IRFU has taken delivery of a fleet of 60 Volkswagen cars. The sponsorship has run for the past four years and allows VW IRFU accreditation, advertising at games and in match programmes and brand endorsements. At the handover were Paul O'Sullivan, head of marketing, Volkswagen Passenger Cars and Ireland players Tommy O'Donnell and, in the foreground, Simon Zebo.

Michael Cullen is editor of

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