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AIB & Vodafone Win A Game Changing Decade For Irish Sponsorship

Posted By ONSIDE, Wednesday 20 November 2019

As the dust settles on the recent Rugby World Cup 2019 and curtain drops on a decade that saw spend on sponsorship grow by 70% to over €220m this year, Vodafone Rugby and AIB GAA were revealed as the stand out sponsorships of the year and decade by sponsorship consultants ONSIDE and the MII at a major business of sponsorship conference this week.  

The end of year and decade ONSIDE survey of the Marketing Institute of Ireland’s professional marketing community has revealed that IRFU sponsors Vodafone, has topped the list in terms of best overall sports sponsorship of 2019, while Electric Ireland’s Darkness into Light was singled out as the best overall non-sports sponsorship of 2019. 

According to John Trainor, Founder and CEO of ONSIDE “Reflecting consistent progress in the Irish sponsorship industry this year, 4 in 10 marketing professionals surveyed felt sponsorship campaigns in Ireland this year had improved on previous years, with just 1 in 10 feeling standards within the industry had dropped back.”

Vodafone also topped the list of brands that were deemed top performers specifically around the Rugby World Cup, with local market sponsors Guinness and Aldi also singled out for exceptional performance. Bank of Ireland’s tie up with RTE’s broadcast coverage of the tournament in Japan outscored the eirsport / Samsung edition by 10% in terms of effectiveness, while James Ryan, Jordan Larmour, Johnny Sexton and Rory Best were seen to have done most in Japan to enhance their marketability for 2020.

Trainor notes: “Sponsorship is often best judged in terms of its long term return for a business or brand and when viewed through this lens, our research of the Marketing Institute of Ireland’s professional members found AIB and GAA to be the one to look back on next decade as a standout sponsorship.” A parallel research survey of the Irish public by ONSIDE found adults in Ireland singled out Guinness as the one brand that they believe won the past decade of sponsorship in Ireland.  Others making up the Irish public’s Top 10 Sponsors of the decade included Vodafone, Heineken, Aldi, Lidl, 3, Bank of Ireland, AIB, Aviva and Aer Lingus.

Marketing professionals voted Katie Taylor as the No 1 most marketable Irish sports stars for 2020 followed closely by golfer Shane Lowry and in joint third Johnny Sexton and the Irish Women’s Hockey Team.  

Gerry Nixon, Head of Sponsorship & Business Brand at Vodafone commented: “We are delighted to be recognised at the Who Won Sponsorship Series 2019. Its great recognition for the ‘Everyone In’ campaign around the World Cup, but more importantly it bodes well for the future as look forward to building on these foundations with the IRFU through 2020 and beyond”.



ONSIDE is a leading specialist in marketing and sponsorship consulting and research services - With a proven track record and strong industry experience in a cross section of sectors, ONSIDE is currently feeding into the marketing and sponsorship decision making of circa €50m+ of Irish spend – working on many of Ireland’s premier sponsorships – on sporting, music, cause-related, broadcast and other platforms.  

In October 2019, ONSIDE conducted an online survey among the Marketing Institute of Ireland’s membership base of marketing professionals.  

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