The Perfect Sponsorship Activation

Sponsorship Manager Dan Crompton shares his favourite sponsorship activation.

We all know that the huge shows on ITV deliver massive audiences – something that we all benefit from. And when a brand also takes up an off-air license alongside a programme sponsorship, it can act like a huge sparkling halo around the on-air campaign and be a springboard into an even wider pool of fans (and potential customers).

The TV set is where a partnership begins, but taking that affiliation off-air allows a sponsor to use a TV show to create sparky PR stories, to engage a tired workforce, and as a tool to interact with current and future customers online and through social media. A brand chatting on Twitter about its campaign around customers' favourite TV show is going to win more hearts than a brand that only pushes a sales message. In fact, TalkTalk saw a 100% increase in brand consideration amongst people who were aware of their sponsorship of The X Factor during one year!

In my time at ITV, the best example of a brand using our shows to the max has come with Morrisons. Wanting to be at the heart of Saturday nights, they not only sponsored Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway and Britain’s Got Talent, but also engaged Ant & Dec themselves on a wider brand endorsement campaign.

Morrisons have used the partnership in every conceivable touchpoint in-store, on-air and with their colleagues. They created exclusive online clips from both shows, sponsored a branded game in the mobile apps, and gave every single customer their own Saturday Night Takeaway peel-and-reveal card during the earlier series. They promoted the weekly £20,000 giveaway in-store and using spot airtime during each show – increasing their brand presence in association with the series. Ant & Dec visited their annual employee conference to reward staff, and even stared in 3 of the brand’s TV ads to really cement the partnership.

Morrisons hosted its very own BGT auditions in stores around the country, which enabled opera-singing brothers Richard and Adam to apply and reach the final. The retailer packaged its Great British products in-store under BGT branding, and their place at the heart of UK Saturday nights-in was secured by promoting the products in press TV listings at the weekend.

These examples are just the tip of the iceberg for one brand, showing how an on-air sponsorship can be the starting block for a whole heap of wonderful marketing ideas – acting as a creative hook to sprinkle a bit of sparkle onto all comms channels.