Broadcast sponsorship: Thinking outside the (TV) box

A five-year study, conducted by Channel 4, into the effectiveness of broadcast sponsorships has found that 89% of consumers saw brands that sponsor TV as more trustworthy than other forms of advertising. To some readers this may come as a surprise, but to us in the industry it reaffirms what we already know – that there is still real value in implementing a broadcast sponsorship campaign.  

In an age of declining TV viewership, you could be forgiven for questioning the true impact and worth of investing in a broadcast sponsorship over other properties and platforms. Choosing a TV sponsorship over advertising is one thing, but choosing this form of sponsorship over the gluttony of other partnership options available, well that’s another thing altogether. However, as reported, brands such as Domino’s are extending their partnerships due to the increasing level of ROI. And why are these brands doing this? Because they are thinking well beyond the traditional TV bumpers.

Historically, broadcast sponsorships have had little need to do any extra work beyond their original purpose. Twix’s sponsorship of the ITV Chart Show in 1993 was revolutionary enough to work powerfully on its own, whilst Bailey’s sponsorship of Sex & The City relied on its TV bumpers in front of millions of eyes to change people’s perceptions of its product. Now though, we live in an age where there have seen dramatic changes in technology, where in some cases as little as 20% of the audience watches live and original broadcasts. Secondary channels, plus one channels, on-demand TV, recorded TV, online services and social media platforms have changed the face of the television landscape.

As a result of this, broadcast sponsorships now have the opportunity to reach audiences well beyond the TV bumpers. Those that are most successful will activate their sponsorship in many, if not all, of the following ways:

  • Social media activation
  • Spin-off series’
  • Online content
  • Interactive services
  • Product placement
  • Use of logo on products associated with the TV programme
  • Variation in TV bumpers for on-demand services
  • Employee engagement opportunities e.g. tickets for shows
  • Hospitality

Let’s for a moment take it back to an area of expertise for us, Formula 1. As part of Sky Sports F1’s co-sponsorship package they are not just selling a TV broadcast sponsorship, they are selling a sponsorship across five of their platforms. The 7.26m potential audience of their TV channel, the 12.5m unique visitors to skysports.com, the 4.3m unique visitors to sky sports mobile, the 3.2m users of Sky Go, and the millions of eyes using their on-demand service. The activation potential of a broadcast sponsorship is now huge!

Having previously sponsored the channel in 2015, FairFX returned for the 2017 season stating that “extensive analysis of the performance of the previous sponsorship in 2015 clearly demonstrated the benefits in terms of brand awareness as well as cost effective-customer acquisition.” A shining endorsement for broadcast sponsorship right there!

FairFX have nicely activated their partnership by linking F1’s premium globe-trotting schedule to FairFX’s transfer of money abroad for its clients. Across social media, snapshot destination guides are presented before each event. Sky Sports F1 presenter Ted Kravitz presents a ‘Smart Travel Notebook’ video to be displayed across FairFX’s various channels. On the company website there are videos reflecting on historical F1 moments, there are interviews with F1 presenter David Croft, and as part of their F1 Smart Series there are interviews with those looking back at their journeys in the sport. Oh, and they have some short TV bumpers too….

Broadcast sponsorships are very much alive and kicking. They have changed with the times and potentially, if activated correctly, offer greater value than ever before. Don’t be fooled by declining TV viewership, you just need to think outside of the TV box!