Skoda and Mystery Dramas – the Advantages of Sponsoring a Genre

Skoda UK has signed a two-year deal to sponsor ITV's mystery dramas, including the much-awaited second series of Broadchurch.

It’s a multi-million pound deal that includes broadcast idents around TV shows on the main ITV channel, online and mobile activity, and licensing rights. As well as Broadchurch, the award-winning ratings hit starring David Tennant and Olivia Colman, the package includes Robson Green’s Grantchester Mysteries, Lewis, Foyle’s War, Vera and Endeavour. So what are the advantages of sponsoring a whole genre? Here are three key points:

Reach a wide audience

‘Event television’ is alive and well. The final episode of Broadchurch hit a peak of 9.3 million, with a 33 per cent share of viewing, and an average of 9.2 million viewers across its eight episodes. Big-budget TV drama is clearly capable of bringing together huge audiences across a wide spectrum. But sponsoring a genre allows brands to identify themselves with more than one audience; a range is available to them, with one key common theme. So while Foyle’s War might appeal to a largely female audience, Endeavour and Broadchurch are more gender-neutral.

As Heidi Cartledge, the head of marketing at Skoda UK, says: "The mystery drama package gives us a great platform to speak to a wide audience and we’re delighted to be involved with such fantastic programming."

Create and enhance brand identity

With the right partnership, sponsoring a genre can fit in perfectly with a brand’s identity and bring out elements of the brand’s character. With Skoda, for example, the brand has already identified itself with intriguing ad campaigns since its relaunch in 2000, which aimed to confront irrational consumer prejudice. With puzzles and mysteries often at the heart of Skoda’s campaigns, the brand has challenged audiences to think – something which it has very much in common with mystery dramas.

Make waves on social media

 Mystery drama has become big business in the last few years – aided and abetted by social media. The number of tweets about Broadchurch grew dramatically throughout the first series – there were an astounding 260,000 tweets about the final episode. Event television builds partly through social media word of mouth – the viewing figures for Broadchurch climbed throughout the series, rising from an initial 6.15 million viewers for the first episode, with an extra 716,000 tuning in on +1.  By the third episode, it was pulling in 7.3 million viewers with an extra 241,000 on +1.

Brands can tap into this social media noise around event television – talking about the show themselves and giving audiences something else to talk about in the breaks. With mystery shows, a large part of the audience wants to watch the show in real-time, partly because they can’t wait, and partly to avoid spoilers, and partly to join in the social media discussion. The nature of this particular genre also lends itself to engagement with the audience – drawing them in with puzzles, games and competitions.

Words by: Jenny Cornish