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Jump Racing Focus A Special Report January 2012
   
The Report Jump Racing & Sponsorship Rationale for Sponsorship Measuring Return on Investment Future Trends & Summary Case Studies
 
         











 

John Smith’s Sponsorship of the Grand National, Aintree
Skybet at Doncaster Racecourse
Cushman & Wakefield at Ascot
Trainer Sponsorship
Guinness Village at The Cheltenham Festival

Jump Racing Sponsors - From the Horse's Mouth

case study

John Smith’s Sponsorship of the Grand National, Aintree

Background

Owned by Heineken UK, John Smith’s is Britain’s number one ale brand, selling more than one million pints a day. With the ale product category in decline, the brand entered into sponsorship of the Grand National in 2005 with two aims:

• To reinforce its ‘No Nonsense’ brand positioning
• To grow market share.

As the leading commercial sponsor of racing in the UK, John Smith’s invests significantly in 30 Jump and flat racecourses across the country, building credibility and ‘ownership’ within the sport and active engagement with the brand’s core consumers.

Tom Earl, who works closely with John Smith’s in his role as Head of PR at IMG says “The Grand National is the perfect fit for the brand. They share the same down to earth values – it’s ‘the people’s pint supporting the people’s race.”

Activation

Through on-trade promotions such as sweepstake game cards; branded posters and drip mats; a partnership with Ladbrokes offering a free £1 shop bet with every pint; and limited edition ales, John Smith’s encourages licensed trade customers and consumers to focus on the Grand National race and become involved in the event.

The brand also engages in off-trade promotions aimed at bringing the John Smith’s Grand National alive in the Liverpool area in the lead up to the event and the city is literally painted green for a week in April, when over 300 poster sites are used to build interest and suspense in the run in to the race.

John Smith’s has also leveraged its sponsorship through the creation of The John Smith’s People’s Race, a PR campaign that ran from 2007–2009. Ten members of the public rode in this special ‘reality’ race at Aintree on Grand National Day to raise money for their favourite charities. In 2010, John Smith’s and Aintree created the John Smith’s Grand National Legends, effectively a Hall of Fame celebrating all those who make the John Smith’s Grand National such a special race. Now in its second year, it has already become an important component of the BBC coverage from Aintree.

Results

• Awareness of John Smith’s sponsorship of the Grand National increased 6% from 2007–2009.
• Association of John Smith’s with horse racing is now 46% of all target consumers – up 17% since 2006.
• The brand also experienced a year-on-year 30% increase of brand share during its campaign period in 2008.
• Engagement with on-trade promotions has contributed to increased sales of John Smith’s over an extended period.
• People’s Race PR campaign alone was valued at £2.85 million in 2009.

These results demonstrate that the sponsorship continues to deliver against its key objective – to drive market share for John Smith’s. This represents an extraordinary testament to the appropriateness of the sponsorship and its activation programme and the trade and consumer engagement it delivers.

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case study

Skybet at Doncaster Racecourse

Online bookmakers Skybet has been sponsoring Jump and flat racing for the best part of a decade.

With the sponsorship being a natural fit for any betting bookmaker brand, a key objective was to set the brand apart from a crowded marketplace. One of the ways in which the brand achieved this was by introducing innovation into their sponsorship strategy.

Skybet’s PR Director, Dale Tempest says “We were the first bookmaker to really focus on starting stall sponsorship as a vehicle to promote our brand pre-race. To me, the obvious place for boards was prior to the off when people were watching the start and making their last minute betting decisions. We spent a lot of time and effort over three or four years and it worked really well for us.”

He adds that sponsorship is about more than media evaluation. “You create a ‘feel good’ feeling around the day and the event. What we have done around our Sky Bet Yorkshire Racing festival is create a week where we sponsor not only all the Yorkshire racecourses but also become partners with other major players in local industry. Our brand association with the Welcome to Yorkshire team has been very beneficial for the Skybet name across both national and local platforms. We really do get a significant uplift in awareness and associated benefits from this local partnership.”

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case study

Cushman & Wakefield at Ascot

Real estate consultants Cushman & Wakefield use sponsorship at Ascot to entertain clients, and internally as a staff event.

David Erwin, CEO of Capital Markets, says that the intangible values of the sponsorship, such as extending brand reach and the ‘money can’t buy’ race day experience, are factors that benefit the brand.

“I have anecdotal and real feedback from the clients and staff that it works for them. What really works is the experience that Ascot provides for the select sponsorship party – those who go down to the paddock and back for the presentation. That’s a big plus and Ascot has been good at acknowledging the need to do this.”

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case study

Trainer Sponsorship

The following locally-focused sponsorship has brought measurable benefits to a Bristol-based construction company.

“One of the trainer sponsorships I manage is for leading National Hunt trainer Tom George who is based in Slad, Gloucestershire. He has approximately 70 horses in training. Tom’s sponsor is Longcroft Building Services; a Bristol based building company which specialises in the restoration, repair and renovation of country-style properties and large country estates. Tom is surrounded by those types of properties and a number of his owners live in those kind of properties.

The sponsorship, which is now in its second year, has worked absolutely brilliantly. Longcroft have picked up business both from Tom’s owners and other people who live locally in the village who have seen the branding. For example, one lady who has no association with racehorses or ownership but knew of Tom, took the view that if Longcroft Building Services were good enough for him they were also good enough for her. She appointed Longcroft to carry out a massive refurbishment on a number of properties on her estate purely on the back of seeing the stable sponsorship”
(Roger Hart, Countrywide Promotion Ltd)

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case study

Guinness Village at The Cheltenham Festival

Guinness, one of the most successful alcoholic drinks brands worldwide, began sponsoring at Cheltenham Racecourse in 1990.

The relationship is primarily a facility sponsorship – the Guinness Village and Grandstand – along with pouring rights at the racecourse.

In the early 90s, Guinness regarded The Cheltenham Festival as an opportunity to bolster the Irish credentials of the brand at a time when other brands were undermining its heritage. With all Guinness sold in the UK and Ireland now brewed in Dublin, the ‘Irishness’ of the brand remains important.

Over the past 20 years, Guinness has also dipped into race sponsorship and has staged The Guinness Festival Awards for over a decade. Roy Mantle, sponsorship consultant for Guinness explains “Guinness wants to have a presence in the sport and be seen to be supporting the racing as well as enhancing the social side of the event.”

The sponsorship has delivered an excellent return on investment in terms of measurable sales:

• Since 2008, over 175,000 pints of Guinness have been drunk each year at The Cheltenham Festival
• In 2009, Guinness celebrated pouring its millionth pint
at the Festival.

Moreover, The Cheltenham Festival provides a unique experience for consumers.

Roy Mantle comments “For Guinness, it is about creating the right atmosphere, ‘the craic’ if you like. The festival is like four days of St. Patrick’s Days rolled into one and you almost feel compelled to drink the product. When you think of Wimbledon, you think of strawberries and cream. When you think of Cheltenham, it has to be Guinness.”

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John Smith's at Aintree

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John Smith's at Aintree

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guinness Village at Cheltenham Festival

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trainer Sponsorship

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guinness Village


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