Magazine article Marketing

Agency of the Year: Sponsorship Agency of the Year - M&C Saatchi Sponsorship

Magazine article Marketing

Agency of the Year: Sponsorship Agency of the Year - M&C Saatchi Sponsorship

Article excerpt

From a near standing start M&C Saatchi Sponsorship has outpaced competitors with a series of high-profile wins, writes Drew Barrand.

To start the year as an outsider with one client of note and end it as a major player with several high-profile clients earns M&C Saatchi Sponsorship Marketing's Sponsorship Agency of the Year title. Few sponsorship agencies can claim to deliver on the promise of integration, but M&C can. Its success in pitching, winning and implementing contracts - fending off stiff competition - is based on communicating the sponsorship at every level of consumer contact.

M&C's biggest win of the year has been telecoms brand Orange and its football content strategy. Deals have been signed with six Premiership clubs, including Chelsea and Liverpool, with M&C managing the negotiation and exploitation of the rights.

The three-year contracts are based on a revenue-share basis, with the clubs receiving a commission payment for content and services, while the operator is handed numerous branding opportunities within the clubs' stadia, fanzines and web sites.

These exclusive deals will be used to drive the Orange World brand and build on consumer understanding of the operator's services. The success has so impressed Orange that it handed the agency incremental business for its sponsorship of the BAFTAs.

Football was also a key ingredient in M&C's success with Coca-Cola. The soft-drinks giant hired the agency at the beginning of the season to work on its newly signed title sponsorship of the Football League. Briefed to work on the ground to establish Coke as a refreshing and credible sponsor, the agency created a series of initiatives that maximised the brand association.

As well as persuading Coke to host its first high-profile launch event in more than 12 years, M&C convinced it to change its red background to the colours of the clubs of the Football League in a series of poster and press ads. Coke had never tampered with its universally recognised logo, so scepticism could be expected. However, the launch event brought Coke nearly pounds 350,000 worth of media coverage, with the strategy producing a return on investment of 25:1.

The agency continued to exploit its sports credentials and won major work on TaylorMade's 25th anniversary promotions, Travelex's cricket involvement and Powerade's athlete endorsement programme. …

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