A year ago, we predicted the key trends in the 2018 sponsorship landscape (http://brand-affair.co.uk/2018/01/18/new-year-new-predictions/). This month’s blog looks at how accurate our predictions were.
Ambush brands will unsuccessfully clutter the World Cup
One brand opitimised this; Burger King. They announced a promotion on Russian social media offering women 3 million roubles ($47,000) and a lifetime supply of Whoppers if they got impregnated by footballers competing in the World Cup.
As outlined in our blog last June (http://brand-affair.co.uk/2018/06/21/burger-king-scores-first-own-goal-at-2018-fifa-world-cup/) brands need to build credibility and demonstrate fan value to succeed in ambushing big sporting events. Burger King misunderstood this completely and achieved an epic fail.
FIFA will continue to struggle to sell World Cup sponsorships.
Due to the years of corruption scandals, FIFA never addressed the damage to their toxic brand. Despite over 3.5 billion people watching the tournament, the 2018 FIFA World Cup had significant gaps in their sponsorship structure; 2 of 8 FIFA partners, 1 of 6 World Cup sponsors and 14 of 20 regional supporters were not filled. According to World Football Report 2018, FIFA sponsorship revenue fell from $1.62 billion from the 2014 competition to $1.45 billion for Russia in 2018, the first-time in the tournament’s history that revenue has fallen.
Research experts will, incorrectly, crown the year’s sponsorship winners
As reported in Adweek on 18th July 2018 (https://www.adweek.com/digital/the-brand-champions-of-2018-fifa-world-cup-russia/), selected sponsor activations ‘created the most value and scored big with fans’. The article claimed that the following social values were achieved through their World Cup sponsorships; Budweiser – $26.1 million, Powerade – $439,700 and adidas – $5.9 million. Whilst we don’t profess to know the success metrics of their sponsorships, drawing a line directly between these numbers and selling more beer, sports drinks or sports apparel is wrong. MVPindex, who produced the analysis quoted in the Adweek article, incorrectly claimed that these were the ‘Brand Champions’ of the World Cup. The only way of understanding the success of these sponsorship campaigns is to measure against their own internal brand and commercial metrics, which understandably are not in the public domain. Anyone claiming anything else is wrong.
Digital won’t kill sponsorship in 2018
The latest IPA Bellwether report found that in Q4 of 2018 marketers noted no change to their overall budgets with internet advertising up 2.1% and events up 2.6%. The constant prediction of digital killing all other marketing channels simply isn’t happening. ‘Digital’ (a horribly broad term) is an activation like any other marketing communications channel and should be treated as such; assisting the overall strategy and coordinated with all other channels. It won’t kill anything off, it will just continue to compliment.
Brexit will continue to hurt the sponsorship industry
Guinness has recently signed to sponsor the Six Nations for £6m. Two years ago RBS were paying £12m. Uncertainty is stopping brands making 3/4/5 year commitments which is diminishing market value (through simple supply and demand economics). The positive to come from this is that there are some great deals at the moment for brands who are willing to buck the trend and make the commitment.
Health and wellbeing will dominate activation plans
OK, so maybe ‘dominate’ was pushing it a bit but brands are increasingly using their sponsorships to create a credible wellbeing platform. A good example of this is Aldi having announced that it is extending its current partnership with Team GB by a further four years to 2025 and will continue its Get Set to Eat Fresh initiative. Having already engaged over 810,000 young people in the UK by teaching home cooking skills and the importance of eating fresh, healthy food, the programme is on track to reach 1.2 million young people by 2020.
So, in conclusion, we didn’t do badly with our predictions. We believe that 2019 will be a year of opportunity. Brexit is likely to be concluded one way or another, therefore stability will return to the market. Whilst there has been a devaluation in top level UK centric sponsorship properties, we see more brands undertaking sponsorship at a lower level meaning the medium is generating value for more businesses. We believe that this trend will continue.