L-R: Rory Best, Gemma Bell (Bank of Ireland), John Trainor (ONSIDE)
In what was a busy sporting summer of FIFA soccer, hockey world cups and an historic haul of Irish athletes achieving podium success, 6 of the Top 10 stand-out sponsors of Summer 2018 revealed by sponsorship consultants ONSIDE and the MII at a major business of sponsorship conference this week were GAA sponsors.
The end of summer ONSIDE survey of the Marketing Institute of Ireland’s professional marketing community has revealed that GAA sponsors AIB, has topped the list in terms of best overall sports sponsorship for the third summer in a row, while Ladies Gaelic Football sponsors Lidl took second spot. Hurling sponsors Littlewoods and Bord Gáis Energy showed best year on year improvement in how effectively they activated their GAA campaigns.
According to John Trainor, Founder and CEO of ONSIDE: “The big winner in terms of scoring above expectations was the Irish Women’s Hockey team sponsor Softco, who were ranked third best sport sponsor overall this summer by marketing professionals surveyed”.
Vodafone topped the list of brands that were top performers in the non-sports sponsorship space thanks to their Vodafone Comedy Festival sponsorship campaign, followed by Electric Ireland’s tie-up with Electric Picnic. Coca-Cola and Hyundai received strongest recognition for the effectiveness of their work on the FIFA World Cup Russia platform.
Trainor notes: “Interestingly, the research found that 1 in 4 Irish marketing professionals believe the effectiveness of sponsorship campaigns in Ireland progressed this summer, with 63% feeling the standard of sponsorship in the marketplace was similar to last summer. With macro trends such as a rapidly changing sports media landscape and a sea of content competing for cut-through coupled with a Rugby World Cup on the horizon in 2019, marketing teams will be challenged to up the level of effectiveness of their campaigns to stand-out more effectively in 2019”.
Pointing to one route to achieve stronger gains next year, Trainor noted: “One of the stand-out success stories of 2018 shared at the ONSIDE / MII event by Bank of Ireland’s Sponsorship Manager Gemma Bell and Kevin Quinn from Leinster Rugby highlighted a proven path to breaking through any sponsorship fatigue by putting purpose at the heart of their remarkable double trophy win in May.”
Marketing professionals voted The O’Donovan brothers as the No 1 most marketable Irish sports stars for 2019 following their medal success on the water this summer, followed closely by the Irish Women’s Hockey Team, Thomas Barr and Rugby World Cup 2019 hopeful Johnny Sexton. Looking beyond traditional media, Pippa O’Connor, The 2 Johnnies, Vogue Williams and James Kavanagh were seen as the most marketable digital influencers by the marketing budget holders of 2019.