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Wimbledon sponsors miss the spot

News, 30 June 2015

LONDON: The UK public is really only interested in tennis for two weeks a year during the current Wimbledon tournament and is likely to remain largely indifferent to the marketing efforts of many brands that have associated themselves with the sport, a new analysis suggests.

Marketing Week utilised researcher YouGov's Profiles and BrandIndex tools to assess the fit of sponsoring brands with the typical tennis fan and reported that while some long-standing supporters of the tournament saw an uplift in brand metrics, "newer recruits … may find it difficult to raise awareness and brand perceptions".

In 2014, for example, the BrandIndex score – a daily measure of brand perception among the public – for soft drinks brand Robinsons moved steadily upwards during the course of the event, rising from 29.4 to 34.2

Robinsons, however, has been sponsoring Wimbledon for 80 years and has just extended its tie-up for another five years.

"At Wimbledon we have always valued the importance of long-term relationships and our partnership with Robinsons has become one of the enduring memories of the British summer", said Mick Desmond, commercial director at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club.

Stella Artois, in contrast, came on board for the first time in 2014, having previously sponsored the Queen's Club Championships event that effectively acts as a warm-up for Wimbledon. Despite this, its BrandIndex score started at 17.4 and ended at 16.8.

Marketing Week also noted a divergence between the profiles of Robinsons' consumers – typically a middle-aged mother in the C2DE bracket – and those of Wimbledon fans, who are mostly ABC1 older women (60+) with significantly higher disposable income.

But it said that Robinsons' lengthy association with the event means it can overcome such differences, something a newer sponsor such as Stella Artois may find difficult, not least as Stella drinkers tend to be more interested in football and boxing.

Such disparities suggest that the newer brands are seeking to use their involvement to change consumer perceptions and to reach beyond their existing consumer base.

But this will take time to come to fruition, said Marketing Week, especially given that there are relatively few branding opportunities at the event itself and that no court-side advertising opportunities are permitted.

Data sourced from Marketing Week; additional content by Warc staff