Celebrating Sponsorship

Bhav Chandrani, Controller of Sponsorship Sales, ITV shares his favourite sponsorship bumpers...

In the last 12 months there has been plenty of talk about the best advertising of all time, fuelled by research that shows that TV and TV advertising is still the most powerful of marketing mediums. We at ITV have been discussing it a great deal ourselves, in ‘Celebrating Ads’. Two of my favourites are the original Tango ‘orange man slap’ and Super Noodle’s ‘toilet’ ad, the latter simply for its completely inspired use of a Jonny Cash song…)

However, as someone who has been working in TV sponsorship for the last 10 years, I’d like to move the spotlight over and celebrate creativity in sponsorship bumpers.

It’s a tough ask for a creative agency – the regulations are more stringent; the time lengths shorter.  But this should be seen as a challenge, an opportunity.  Further, the need (when done properly) to create a thematic or contextual link with the programme(s) is exciting.  After all, we are talking about programming loved by many.  Why wouldn’t you want to seize this opportunity?

I’ve cast my mind back over the last decade and I’ve plucked out a top 5 in no particular order.  I’ve also tried not to be ITV biased… let me know what you think and feel free to send your equivalents in.  I’m bound to have missed some beauties!

Herbal Essences – Desperate Housewives

This really captured the essence (excuse the pun!) of the show and the brands advertising up to that point.  A perfect marriage, if you will.  It had instantly recognisable music, wit, originality and a very clear message.

KIA – 24 / Five US Drama

Really, it’s the KIA sponsorship of Five US Drama that I think is truly fantastic.  I often think that sponsorship is at its best when simple and KIA’s bumpers were exactly that.  Most often around CSI, it replicated the mood and colour of the shows; created a link by using forensic scientists investigating the cars but instead of crime, they focused in on features of the car – a difficult thing to pull off within the regulations.  However, I can’t find them for love or money on the Internet so have a look at the KIA C’eed bumpers for 24 instead!

118118 – ITV2, 3, 4 Movies

118118 have been a long time fan of sponsorship, starting on C4 Drama and then sponsoring ITV’s ‘digital channels’ movies package since 2008.  Too often sponsors feel the need to do something completely different to the rest of their advertising whereas I think that retaining elements of your ad creative makes the overall campaign stronger.  Using the two ‘runners’ and maintaining the humour has always really worked for them.  What’s most impressive though is that year after year they manage to come up with new ways to use these elements and keep the sponsorship fresh. In particular, follow the link and you’ll find versions where they use original classic film footage and animated versions of the runners.

Oasis – Celebrity Juice

One of the trickiest things with sponsorship creative is when a brand is sponsoring comedy and is tempted into replicating the comedy within their bumpers.  It’s so hard to get right and sponsorship-land is littered with failed attempts. Oasis has managed to get this absolutely right, tapping into the humour and personality of Keith Lemon and recreating it in their own style.  It resonates with the audience too.  This is a genuine tweet: “The Oasis adverts at the start of Celebrity Juice absolutely crack me up”.

Comparethemarket – Coronation Street

How do you sponsor a show with 50+ years heritage that has only had two sponsors when your lead character is a meerkat?  This is how.  Simply magical and imho, the best sponsorship creative of all time.