2020-08-06
Opinion | How do you solve the CBD sponsorship conundrum?
John Mulcahy, director at the Sport Science Agency, looks at the burgeoning CBD industry and where it could fit into the sports partnerships market.It was recently reported that Major League Soccer (MLS) is set to become the first of the major American sports leagues to approve cannabidiol (CBD) as a sponsorship category, tapping into a potentially lucrative revenue source in an industry that continues to grow.The terms of the category are still unknown. Will the league sanction kit sponsorship, in-stadia branding or even naming rights? Will it look for a central partner to add to its own roster and how will it allocate, if at all, exclusivity across the various product types and variations coming to market with increased regularity?In the US, since the 2018 Farm Bill allowed hemp to be removed as a controlled substance and become an agricultural commodity, sport has had an eye on this new sponsorship category. Research by BDS Analytics and Arcview Market Research last year predicted that the US CBD market will be worth up to US$20 billion by 2024. In the UK, where CBD can also be legally sold under strict product guidelines, the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis found that the current market was worth UK£300 million (US$393 million) and projected it would reach a value of almost UK£1 billion (US$1.31 billion) by 2025.With figures like these, its little wonder sport is interested in new commercial options from this burgeoning market.While the news about MLS is certainly interesting, it is not the first sports property to dip its toe into the CBD market. A number of partnerships are already in place with governing bodies and directly with athletes. However, the major powerhouse leagues such as the National Football League (NFL) and National Basketball Association (NBA) maintain a cautionary stance against CBD.USA Triathlon became the first major Olympic governing body to explore the category when they announced a four-year deal with Pure Spectrum in 2019. In the same year, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) entered into a eight-year research partnership with Canadian CBD producer Aurora Cannabis. The principle of the deal is to assess the performance benefits of CBD in reducing pain and inflammation, improving wound healing and general recovery. Working together, the two parties plan to produce a specific ‘high performance’ sports brand called Roar Sports, which will provide UFC fighters and the public with best in class products.The clamour to understand CBD’s potential performance benefits add an interesting element to the sponsorship tale. Various testimonies highlight its effect in reducing muscle soreness and overall pain, stress and anxiety relief as well as improved sleep quality. Pain relief in contact sports is a constant issue; a natural alternative, with limited reported side effects compared to pharmaceutical painkillers, could offer a very positive athlete welfare story.For these reasons, medical teams and sport science departments are desperate to understand more. This should be music to any commercial teams’ ears. In any professional sports organisation, consider the investment in terms of fees and wages on the playing squad. The role of the performance team is to try and maximise that investment by ensuring players are fit, in form and available for selection as often as possible. If CBD does support athletic recovery across a number of key indices then it will very quickly become a must-have.Genuine scientific research into the effectiveness of CBD in a sporting context remains limited. Despite this, a recent review across both codes of professional rugby in the UK found that use increased significantly when players were between the ages of 28 and 33.Professor Graeme Close of Liverpool John Moores University, who led the research, speculated that “players are likely to have residual pain built up following years of collisions", adding: "For many professionals, the period of their late 20s and early 30s sees a shift of focus to prolonging their career. It is therefore little surprise that players within this age group are seeking different types of therapy to maximise their availability and with-it earning potential."For the clubs, too, being able to maintain the performance of current players is often financially advantageous in comparison to having to replace them. If CBD is effective in aiding recovery and, as research suggests, becomes commonly used amongst athletes seeking to prolong their careers, it will have a huge impact on its credibility. It places the product firmly within a lucrative demographic in terms of age, disposable income and an increasing interest in health and fitness. As seems to be the goal of the UFC partnership with Roar Sports, commercial opportunities could expand beyond simple sponsorship into licenced product ranges.   Despite the proposed performance benefits, many still associate CBD with cannabis and therefore view its sponsorship potential in terms of a lifestyle category similar to that of energy drinks. The likes of Red Bull and Monster have had a significant impact on the sponsorship industry over the last decade and a half. They developed a new category, broke traditional models to own their own teams and events, all while developing a youth lifestyle narrative. In 2018, total energy drinks sales in the US were worth just shy of US$13 billion. In comparison, the CBD industry is predicted to be worth US$20 billion in the country within the next few years.Caution is needed, however. This is a new and, in many ways, difficult balancing act for executives. The hype surrounding CBD due to its reported effects and improved availability does not mean it is without risk. The study led by Professor Close highlighted some worrying trends.In certain rugby clubs, up to 70 per cent of players have or are using CBD to manage pain. Many of these products are as yet untested and, despite CBD being removed from the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) banned list in 2018, Professor Close explains that the "psychotropic cannabinoid THC, which remains a prohibited substance, can still be present to levels that could result in an adverse drugs test and potential disqualification from competition." He adds: "More safeguarding is needed to protect players and clubs in terms of batch testing. Additionally, more independent research is needed to assess the effectiveness of CBD as a remedy for pain management and recovery before performance benefits can be confirmed”.Indeed, last year professional triathlete Lauren Goss and Olympic skier Devin Logan both accepted six-month sanctions following drug tests linked to CBD products that elicited adverse THC findings.In the US, the major professional leagues are not subject to Wada’s strict testing rules. However, Olympic and European professional sport is a different matter. A relatively young CBD industry is going to have to get professional very quickly and implement testing similar to nutrition brands if it is to realise its potential in sport. Further adverse findings, leading to increased player sanctions, would be a major PR blow, and could cause sports administrators to delay widespread opening of the category.The news that MLS is to become the first major US sports league to sanction CBD sponsorship will certainly grab headlines. It will increase pressure on other organisations to rethink their positions and in the face of reduced revenue due to Covid-19, examine if a new sponsorship category could help clubs’ weather the storm.Potential performance benefits add to the credibility of the product which will help it gain acceptance among sponsorship rosters. However, with research still in its infancy and issues regarding product regulation unresolved, CBD has a way to go before the industry is acknowledged among the stable of top sporting sponsors.Article by John Mulcahy as posted on SportsPro.Click here to view MLS' profile.Click here to view UFC's profile.Click here to view USA Triathlon's profile.Click here to view Aurora's profile.Click here to view Pure Spectrum's profile....
2020-08-06
How 12 Canadian Marketing Executives Are Navigating Through Uncertainty
2020 truly has been a transformative year with a global pandemic, economic recession, and social issues coming to light. Now more than ever marketers are finding themselves in a challenging position to pivot and adapt to this ever-changing landscape. Given this unprecedented year, The Sponsorship Space connected with 12 marketing and sponsorship leaders across Canada in multiple organizations to get their take on what they’re doing to adjust and the trends they foresee in the future by asking them to respond to the two questions below: Question #1: How has your company adapted to what's happening in the world? Question #2: What are some trends you are watching & predicting heading into a post-COVID world? #1: These unprecedented times have definitely presented challenges, however they have also been a catalyst to change how we think about things like how we deliver content to consumers, how we engage with people and meet them where they are today, as well as how we redefine our processes to become more agile. The pandemic forced us to relook at our back-half plans in the context of the current environment, through the lens of the consumer mindset today and re-write a much stronger, more consumer-centric marketing plan. #2: There are many trends that are rising to the top and other new ones that are emerging. The economic downturn and its effect on consumer discretionary spend is obviously one that we are monitoring closely in retail. As consumers focus spend on needs vs. wants, we need to understand the value equation more than ever. Specific to fashion retail, I believe we will see consumers spending less on fast fashion and turning more to buying timeless, quality wardrobe pieces that transcend multiple seasons. Another trend that has accelerated is the shift to e-commerce as a primary channel. We saw a dramatic shift of consumers that traditionally shopped bricks and mortar move to online purchases through COVID. Now more than ever, we need to ensure that our online experience matches our in-store experience, including things like figuring out how to create event experiences virtually that were traditionally held live in-store.#1: We continue to adapt every day. In Canada, we’re focused on engaging our fans – notably, we just launched a celebration of Vince Carter’s career with a campaign called “Thank you Vince”. His record-breaking career was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic and we want to give fans the chance to say goodbye the right way. The campaign will be supported via NBA media – to learn more visit nba.com/vince. More broadly, we used the hiatus to test and release a lot of new content including The Last Dance on ESPN and Netflix, a new series of #NBATogether programming including interviews with Ernie Johnson and discussions around social justice with Caron Butler. The WNBA executed the first virtual draft and two of our network partners have developed documentaries covering NBA athletes that will be released this season. #2: As so much of the world adopted delivery services during the height of the pandemic, at the same time we’re seeing this drive to support local businesses, so I see more localized collaborations for licensed goods, for example. The movement for social justice, and the drive to create equal opportunities for Black or Afro-Canadians will continue with many corporations like ours, looking at what we can do to ensure we’re providing opportunity and supporting career growth. And, to the extent that people remain cut off from large gatherings, I think there’s a real opportunity to look at digital experiences and take them to the next level. Customer behaviours have changed as a result of the pandemic, people are now willing to join a remote panel or experience for more than an hour online. With any behaviour change, there lies opportunity and I’m excited to see the different ways brands and properties experiment in this space.#1: REVXM was launched on June 1st, in the early days of the pandemic. The formulation of REVXM and the vision was conceived in February and early March, almost pre-Covid, so we were adjusting the strategy literally in "real-time" prior to June 1. That said, REVXM was launched with themes like innovation, virtual, digital and "new normal" in our DNA. We did not really have to adapt or pivot, if you will, as much as stay nimble and have an open mind to how the world was adjusting and evolving quickly. It was much easier to go from zero to hundred than 100 to zero and then try to regain momentum. #2: What is the saying... "necessity is the mother of invention"? Well that has never been more true in modern times than right now. Some of the changes and trends and innovation we are seeing now has been exposed out of need but was created pre-Covid. And some will explode out of this and some trends will replace things and ideals that maybe should have been replaced decades ago. - Obviously the "second-screen" phenomenon is trending. This has also been compounded in pro-sports, for example, with no fans in venues. Digital/social interaction, gaming, real-time betting are changing behaviour but also in how broadcasts and partnerships are being delivered.- What we support and we invest in has also changed quite quickly. Social inequality and cause related platforms are finally at the forefront and I personally hope this is not just a trend but REAL and permanent change. How cool is it to see "Black Lives Matter" on an NBA court, for example.- Our clients and partners are also being forced to be more creative with how to replace physical interactions and conversations with digital or hybrid models. My opinion is that this trend will not do a 180. You can never really replace physical interaction, but tech and innovation, like AI and AR has allowed us to do it much more efficiently, at scale and with far better precision when it comes to targeting.- Obviously, all of us want to get back to "normal" as quickly as possible, but how we consume, how we watch, how we interact has changed forever and some would argue that change is always for the better.#1: The initial priority for Tangerine was to work closely with the various levels of government to establish important hardship programs for our existing client base. COVID had tremendous implications on people’s economic security, either due to loss of employment, significant decreases in cash flow, portfolio value, etc. We have always prided ourselves on putting our customers at the forefront of decision making as they, along with our employees are the lifeblood of the bank. Once these initiatives (among other COVID related topics) were rolled out through consistent and empathetic communications, we collectively worked to produce a new campaign spot that promoted a message of hope and optimism, grounded in truth and the role Tangerine plays in our client’s lives. Specifically, as to how the changing landscape challenged our partnership vertical, we needed to re-examine our strategy of how we’ve historically been engaging with fans of our various sponsorship investments and update/pivot to reflect the realities of the current environment. It was essential to have candid conversations with rights holders about the realities of our business due to COVID and equally as important, truly understand the potential impact to theirs. Tangerine views each investment as a real partnership, which means that all parties are motivated to assist each other whenever possible to ensure a mutually beneficial relationship where everyone wins (even in the toughest of circumstances). #2: Every organization is being forced to evolve their business models due to the impact of COVID. Through hardship will come innovation and new opportunities for meaningful engagement. With empty stadiums and arenas becoming the norm (at least in the short term), additional emphasis and focus will be placed on establishing digital fan connections that scale. This had already been a huge area of focus for Tangerine pre-COVID, but the significance has grown exponentially. The power of digital will inevitably unlock key behaviours, preferences and personalization opportunities through data that can be applied on top of our existing customer insights - leading to smarter data driven decision making across the bank. Discretionary marketing spends are likely going to be scrutinized in the interim based on the economic landscape, so we’ll need to be prescriptive, focused and scientific in how we calculate ROI for our respective organizations. We will continue to monitor global trends, digital innovation and observe best practices across the world of sports and entertainment that can be methodically applied to our core business/partnership objectives. I anticipate the world of sponsorship will look incredibly different 3-5 years down the road, look no further than what emerged from the 2008 Financial Crisis. It’s our responsibility as sponsorship professionals to be on top (or in some cases, ahead) of these trends and to embrace an agility model that enables Tangerine to react and apply these strategies in real time. #1: IMG and the broader Endeavor network has been a trailblazer in bringing back live sporting events during COVID-19:Professional Bull Riders (PBR) was the first professional sport in North America to return from the COVID-19 shutdown, returning to competition with a broadcast-only event weekend at the Lazy E Arena in Logan County, Oklahoma in April. The due diligence and protocols that were created and instituted for PBR became the basis for other leagues who have since come back.Following in the footsteps of PBR, UFC has also successfully run nine events across three sites including this past weekend’s UFC 251, which took place on Fight Island (Yas Island, Abu Dhabi). IMG has also built out virtual events and platforms where live events weren’t possible:When the Frieze New York art fair was cancelled due to COVID-19, we debuted Frieze Viewing Room, a new, free to enter digital initiative hosting the 2020 edition of the Frieze New York fair. Available from May 8-15, the mobile app and web-based platform offered visitors the opportunity to enter more than 200 virtual gallery spaces and saw significant traffic that resulted in a $2 million sale for one of the galleries.At the beginning of May, we created the first-ever “Stay At Home Slam”, an esports event streamed live on Facebook Gaming where leading tennis players paired up with celebrities to compete on Nintendo’s Mario Tennis Aces game and raise more than $1 million for COVID-19 relief. #2: I personally believe that live events will return quickly in a post-COVID world. People are yearning to connect with their favourite sports teams, musicians and personalities, and want to be part of a large community. Additionally, now that virtual events and experiences have become the norm, I believe that virtual elements will continue to play a major role, not as a replacement to a live event, but as a companion. This will allow events to expand their reach, become more innovative and reach new audiences in other territories.#1: Like many businesses, we have been looking at shifting our priorities in light of COVID-19 and we’ve determined two important focuses right now – delivery of an optimal experience for Team Canada athletes at Games, and COVID recovery for sport.We continue to put health and safety as priority #1, as we did back in March when we determined we would not send the athletes to the games, due to COVID-19 risks. That priority continues to drive our planning through this recovery phase into a Return to Sport and into Tokyo 2020 next summer.Bringing a high performing Canadian Olympic Team to the Games will always be one of our top priorities - our commitment is to not miss a beat in delivering on this mission heading into Tokyo next year.Now that we’ve all taken a collective breath, planning is well underway on how to turn our current reality into a competitive advantage for Team Canada through our focus on helping athletes Return to Sport.Additionally, as cities and provinces open up, sport has a powerful role to play in our post COVID-19 recovery efforts as a catalyst for a healthier life, both physically and mentally, as we all look forward to this next phase.In this recovery phase we are shifting our focus to how Team Canada can help inspire and motivate Canadians to come back even stronger and more united than ever. #2: We are seeing and monitoring a number of trends including:Partnerships - Enduring partnerships weather the storm together. Taking a long-term view to partnership value is fundamental to business success for both parties, particularly in this time of vulnerability.Your Purpose matters - Recent tragic events have caused us all to self-reflect to see how we can be better. At the COC, we do not have all the answers, but we will unite with our athletes and all Canadians in the fight against racism. For us, that starts with listening, dialogue, and amplifying diverse voices for positive change in our world through sport.Consumption/Shopping habits – Post COVID-19 consumers may continue to be more conscious of their purchases. Needs vs. wants and supporting local will be important factors.Events – Events will continue to evolve in the digital landscape as a place to connect, learn, and play. This will create tremendous innovation and creativity within the traditional events concept with larger reach potential and opportunity for cost efficiencies. Self-Improvement – Consumers have had more personal time and have been using this additional time for self-improvement of mind, body and soul. It will be interesting to see which brands continue to enable this, given the unpredictability of a return to post-COVID. Is the Era of Social Media Accountability Here? Whether its Twitter applying disclaimers to updates from President Trump or Facebook facing increased scrutiny from advertisers with the Stop Hate For Profit campaign, it feels like there’s an increasing willingness to legitimately address social media disinformation. The Return of Pro Sports in North America – Will the return of live sports in North America during the pandemic serve as a slight return to normalcy? What’s clear is that this is uncharted territory and how these organizations navigate this challenge will be fascinating to monitor.#1: For more than 170 years, Labatt has been committed to serving and supporting Canada and its communities through a range of sponsorships and various trade and charitable programs. When the unlikely course of the COVID-19 pandemic became apparent, Labatt adopted this “can-do” spirit to lessen its impact of those in need. We acted early with COVID-19-related relief efforts including the production and donation of 100,000 bottles of hand sanitizer to Food Banks Canada and frontline workers in the bar and restaurant industry, Stella Artois’ Rally for Restaurants program, and Budweiser’s $500,000 donation to the Canadian Red Cross. Labatt also tapped its established Disaster Relief Program to produce drinking water and donate it to the cities of Toronto and Fort McMurray, Alberta. We also partnered with POST Promise (People Outside Safely Together), an initiative that promotes five key steps to help Canadians safely take the first steps back into public spaces and workplaces. Support for bars and restaurants is a particularly important part of Canada’s economic recovery, and Labatt along with its brands have committed to working with Restaurants Canada to extend the POST Promise establishments from coast to coast. Labatt has a long history of using capabilities and reach to do our part when needed most, so our COVID-19 response has been both timely and effective. #2: 2020 has been a challenging year, and indications are that we won’t be back to “full normal” for some time. With a focus on health and safety, we will continue to navigate through the pandemic and do everything we can to support our employees, commercial partners, consumers and all Canadians. While staying close to understanding consumer trends during reopening phases, it’s clear that brands need to reimagine what the future of gathering in public spaces will look like. We’ve seen some excellent examples of venues taking an innovative and agile approach to adapting to social distancing guidelines. I foresee more drive-in options to experience concerts and art spaces; stadiums could go in the direction of implementing additional box spaces in-bowl to enjoy events in smaller groups. To ensure the safety on our community, no idea is a bad one.#1: The business of Sport & Entertainment has taken an incredible hit in 2020 due to Covid-19 and it’s something that we could not have anticipated, but while it has caused chaos in some circles, it has also provided various opportunities for organizations like ours. At MediaCom Sport & Entertainment, we have grown our business over the past 2 years (from 4 to 20 client partners and we’re fortunate that we are still seeing strong growth this year), however the current environment has had the effect of other partners across our GroupM family of agencies (and beyond) reaching out to access our services in an effort to assist them with their Sponsorship Marketing efforts while we are in this moment of “Covid-19 Pause”. What areas are we focusing on? Well, many savvy organizations are looking at their sponsorships from an investment standpoint – are they getting the value from it and are the assets they have the right tools to convey their marketing communications objectives. We provide those organizations with insights and value-based outputs using our Connected Sponsorship Tool that analyses sponsorship assets and converts their delivery into a media value equivalent that marketers clearly understand (based on their actual target audiences, sponsorship asset impact factors and GroupM buying rates). The other area where we are seeing more proactivity is on developing or more so, re-examining our partner’s sponsorship strategy. Many partners are asking us to evaluate their sponsorship portfolio – are the sponsorship properties the right ones for their brand(s) or organization? Do the properties that they are invested in provide the best possible avenue to communicate and engage with their target demographic and consumer? We applaud these partners who take this approach as they are grounding themselves in insights, target alignment to viewer/fan and ensure that they are using a sport/property to engage with its fans or followers in an effort to stay top of mind, build affinity and drive sales for their products and services. We anticipate increased use of our Sponsorship Framework Tool moving forward to help our partners ensure that their investments are achieving their brand and sales objectives within the world of Sport & Entertainment. #2: Some trends that we are watching heading into a current and even hopefully a Post COVID world would be the rise of the athlete or personality voice. COVID-19 has accelerated that opportunity for athletes and celebrities to showcase how their personal BRAND can be of use to organizations trying to provide content and engaged messages to its consumers or fans. We anticipate that we’ll be assisting athletes and celebrities (media, entertainment or otherwise) build their personal brands through social health analysis of their networks, content development and strategic management in terms of relationship and business opportunities. Another trend would be the evolution of sponsorship assets when fans can’t be in the stands. No property wants to have empty seats – it’s bad for their brand, so it will be interesting to see how properties will solve for that potential harm while also trying to drive revenue for their organization by turning them into assets! There are many opportunities here and we are currently in ongoing conversations with various properties on how those assets might come to life in the venue and via broadcast.#1: Like many businesses, OverActive Media was forced to adapt over the last several months. Fortunately, the esports model has remained resilient. As an organization, our 2020 plans were to move closer to where traditional sports already exist. We had only recently introduced physical activations, major live events, increased community engagement, and retail experiences at the beginning of the year. When everything changed, we were able to quickly pivot back to our roots and remain (for now) where esports began - online. We worked with our league partners, players, and our teams to push the boundaries of our assets finding new enhanced opportunities for our partners. In the future I expect us to continue to innovate and adapt our assets for brands, and when the time comes, be able to also deliver a new world of physical esports experiences to our consumer. #2: With challenge comes opportunity. Post COVID, I will be watching closely to see how brands generate new opportunities through innovation and asset diversification. To start, I expect brands to look across their entire portfolio of investments and ensure they have a balanced mix. Is there enough balance of traditional rights and digital rights, and are they spread across their consumers interests, or over-indexed against one in particular? COVID unfortunately forced some brands to realize this the hard way, but I do expect brands to diversify their investments because of this learning in the future. The other area which you are already seeing brands shift towards is innovation through digital sponsorship. This is of course not new, but I do expect brands to accelerate their investment and lean-in on digital sponsorship packages requiring rights holders to get even more creative. I also expect we will see more brands look to pivot their physical rights into creating unique digital only experiences. In both instances, the advantages for brands are a very clear measurement, increased data and consumer insight, ease of execution, customization, and in some instances more value through their investment. #1: From the onset of the pandemic, the health and safety of our employees and customers has always been paramount. We worked with our various partners to either postpone or cancel in-person events, abiding by government & health guidelines. Since then, we have remained committed to our partners and collaborated with them to pivot to meaningful and authentic digital experiences. We have utilized existing assets or created new opportunities for our customers while they remain at home. Some of these include free streaming of documentary films with our Hot Docs International Documentary Film Festival partner; free downloads of select Scotiabank Giller Prize-winning novels for all Canadians via audible.ca; and discounted offers for exercise/running gear for those keeping fit at home. Scotiabank has always been active in supporting the communities in which we operate in. As such, in association with our running event sponsorships, we are helping our partners drive fundraising efforts through our Scotiabank Charity Challenge platform for hundreds of local community charities across Canada. We recognize that many charities are in need as they have had to cancel their fundraising events. Traditionally the Challenge raises approximately $8 million annually for over 500 community charities. And lastly, we worked with our partners to transform the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto into a large-scale kitchen to provide meals for healthcare workers and those in-need in the community. #2: In a post-COVID-19 world, I feel that the digital space will remain the primary platform for delivery of 'events'. I know after four months of physical distancing and the current beautiful summer weather, the last thing anyone will want to do is to be in front of their computer screens, especially after long daily video calls during the work week. However, until in-person events take place again, this is the most effective medium with a wide reach with data-capture opportunities for future marketing campaigns. Some trends could be: Enhanced in-home experiences while streaming content – properties & sponsors can provide added content with behind-the-scenes footage, interviews/special content with athletes, celebrities, people of influence; combination of slick pre-produced content with live content; and provide branded merchandise to viewers' homes. Those who pivoted to a digital experience – whether haphazardly or accelerated their plans – will need to figure out how to continue with the digital experience in parallel to any in-person experience – what’s the strategy?Technology will continue to play an important role from an experiential standpoint via mobile devices, whether at home or on-site, with augmented reality, gamification, selecting different points-of-view for sports eventsGrowth of eSports – new opportunity to reach target segment involving in-game purchases and brand placements, athlete/celebrity ambassador avatarsVirtual events will continue – do on your own but be a part of a larger event e.g. virtual running or walking events while still receiving the recognition for an official finishing time and associated merchandise, fundraising for causes. Drive-ins for films & concerts, utilizing technology for concession ordering for in-car delivery and repurposing large spaces so that attendees can enjoy the event from the safety of their own vehicles. It's not to say in-person live events won't return - they will, albeit on a smaller scale at first, and not in the immediate future. Organizers will need to work though delivering the best possible experience while abiding by health regulations and adjusting physical spaces to accommodate for social distancing. Contactless technology will have a large role to play onsite - automatic doors everywhere, payment systems, hand sanitizer stations, etc. Attendance via appointment-only/timed-ticketing within a limited timeframe to experience. It'll be interesting to see which organizations and events will withstand the current situation. And the question is, even if the live events return, will the people attend … and when they will be ready to do so?#1: As with many organizations across Canada Molson Coors has been directly affected by COVID-19. We had a number of Consumer Experiences that had either been put on pause or were completely modified given everything going on. As a partner of the COC we had been working months on a fully integrated program that was getting ready to be launched in early May – that program has now been shifted to 2021 to reflect the Olympics being moved. Overall, we remained in very close contact with all our Partners and have worked though countless scenarios and are continuously evolving our programs to reflect the current environment to ensure they are a proper fit for our consumers. We have not gone completely “dark” as seen by our recent Molson Summer Campaign that had us reaching out to consumers and brewers to make the most Canadian case of beer ever (www.TheCanadianCase.ca). Once our sports properties are back up and running – we will be ready! #2: The importance of Digital – Given that the Sporting world will not be back to “normal” for the foreseeable future I feel now more than any time in the past Brands need to rely on Digital to bring their campaigns and activations to life. Properties that are not able to provide Brands a unique and ownable digital option will see less engagement and ultimately funds allocated to other partners who can provide what the Brands need post-COVIDHonesty between Partners and Brands need to be stronger than ever. Both sides are being greatly affected – both within and outside the Partnership – and assets/activations that worked before may no longer be possible (i.e. – Hospitality will be a huge question mark now) so honesty and a strong Partnership is going to be needed to get through these tough times.The means to which consumers and fans engage with sports will change. 2nd or even 3rd Screens will become more of the norm for fans given the potential unavailability or even hesitation of seeing Live sports/concerts. #1: The world is challenged right now; communities are challenged, and everyone is doing what they can to adapt – be that personally or in business. How businesses, brands and leaders act today is going to set them up for the future. The existential crisis that organizations are facing right now is to define ‘what do I stand for’ and ‘how do I add value to my consumers’, or employees’ lives. Value is now much more than a product or a service, or a job in of itself. In working with our clients, we are leveraging as much consumer data as possible to understand consumer sentiment and generate meaningful insights around how brands must behave in this moment. We are working with our partners to rapidly change messaging, redeploy advertising and marketing expenditure to the channels and content that support their audiences today, while also setting up their brands for the future. We are helping our clients talk to consumers in the ways that they want to be talked to. If you find the balance, you prepare your business for the future in a more robust way. Internally here at Dentsu we have adapted quickly to the changing world around us. This reflects our strong, agile and resilient community. Within a day, our entire Canadian network went into WFH mode seamlessly, and as an exec team we build a strong communication plan to ensure our teams remain closely connected and engaged with each other. We get together as an entire network every week to share updates, answer questions and showcase the amazing work that we have been doing for our clients. We have also leveraged digital channels to ensure a consistent flow of information, and a place for our teams to gather daily – be that to share parenting tips, get information on our employee benefit program changes, or to participate in guided meditation breaks. Sure, we have important business updates to share with our teammates, but we also wanted to create channels to continue to collaborate, celebrate and connect in virtual ways. More recently, following the murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Regis Korchinski-Paquet and the many other injustices in the world, we have also taken a very close look in the mirror to re-evaluate equity and inclusion in our workforce, and in the work that we produce for our clients. We quickly launched a volunteer team of 75+ employees to form our Anti-racism Action Team and have developed a clear, actionable five-pillar plan to fight systemic racism in our company, the industry and society at large. We have appointed our first ever Director of DEI, signed the BlackNorth pledge and have Agency of Record for the organization to launch this national movement. We are also currently working with the Ad Standards Council of Canada to review the regulations around racism and inclusion in Canadian advertising. #2: More than ever we need to listen, understand, and help brands make an impact in the most meaningful way. Beyond the obvious trends around the rise of eCommerce, at-home video consumption, and direct-to-consumer business models, In the new world, what brands DO will matter far more than what brands SAY. We know that things will get better; however, they’re going to be different and we have to accept and embrace that. In the past, all too often time brands come out with messages and they tell consumers what they stand for in long, emotional videos - they do it by telling a story. But more than any other trend, we believe that when brands do things to help consumers, to make them laugh, or help them realize something, or at the end of the day make their life easier being more useful, they will develop a much greater relationship with that brand, then just watching a video or just hearing what they have to say. Brands that have been present have listened to public sentiment and adjusted their messaging quickly to be relevant and resonate with consumers.Article by Alex Maryuen as posted on The Sponsorship Space....
2020-08-06
Excited to welcome CIBC on board as a platinum level sponsor!
Canadian Association of Urban Financial Professionals (CAUFP) now officially partners with all of Canada’s big 5 banks to promote diversity, inclusion and build Black talent pipelines that will allow for more representation and equitable access within the financial services industry.Click here to view CAUFP's profile.Click here to view CIBC's profile....
2020-08-05
Invisalign brand named Official Clear Aligner Sponsor of the NFL
Align Technology Inc., makers of the Invisalign® clear aligner system and the iTero® imaging systems, today announced an agreement with the National Football League (NFL) to make the Invisalign brand the Official Clear Aligner Sponsor of the NFL. Through this agreement, the Invisalign brand will connect with doctors, patients, and consumers through an extended network of NFL sponsored channels and support a variety of community initiatives championed by NFL Clubs -- including youth focused programs. This agreement builds on Align's previously announced Club sponsorship agreements with the New England Patriots and the San Francisco 49ers and expands the Invisalign brand's "Official Smile" designation to 11 individual NFL Clubs.Commenting on the agreement, Align Technology Vice President and General Manager of the U.S. Frank Quinn said, "As the 'Official Clear Aligner Sponsor of the NFL,' the Invisalign brand is thrilled to join an exclusive group of brands that exemplify the commitment to excellence of the NFL Shield. To date, Invisalign clear aligners have transformed more than 8 million smiles around the world. Together with the NFL, we look forward to creating new experiences that expand recognition of in-office, doctor-delivered clear aligner treatment that can help transform smiles and change lives."Raising awareness and generating interestThe Invisalign brand will be featured in multi-media advertising during the NFL season as well as in the off-season, including in-doctor's office marketing available to help drive patient interest, as well as various league level events and activations to further push demand and raise awareness of doctor led orthodontic care. Invisalign clear aligner patients will have the opportunity to support their favorite Club with officially licensed NFL Club-branded aligner cases, which will be made available for all 32 Clubs. The officially licensed NFL Club-branded cases will be available for purchase on InvisalignAccessories.com and at participating Invisalign provider doctor offices."We're thrilled to welcome Align Technology and its Invisalign brand to our family as the Official Clear Aligner Sponsor of the NFL," said Renie Anderson, Chief Revenue Officer & EVP, NFL Partnerships. "By teaming up with this leader in digital dentistry, our players and fans alike will have access to information and resources on how to connect with a doctor to discuss potential treatment options. Plus, our fans in Invisalign clear aligner treatment can support their favorite team with special NFL Club-branded aligner cases."Dentists and orthodontists who use Invisalign aligners will have the opportunity to access NFL branded assets to help them engage and connect with consumers to drive demand for in-office, doctor delivered treatment. Information will be made available in the second half of 2020.Driving brand engagement and supporting youth initiativesExpanding on its strategy of partnering with regional sports Clubs and brands, Align has also been named the "Official Smile" for 11 individual NFL Clubs: Dallas Cowboys, New Orleans Saints, Green Bay Packers, New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers, New England Patriots, Kansas City Chiefs, Houston Texans, Philadelphia Eagles, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Chicago Bears.The individual Club agreements will focus on building awareness of "winning smiles" and driving brand engagement through digital and social media activation along with supporting each Club's local communities through a variety of community initiatives.Click here to view the NFL's profile.Click here to view Align's profile....
2020-08-05
Little Caesars® Named Official Pizza Delivery of the National Hockey League
NHL and Little Caesars Announce Multiyear North American PartnershipLittle Caesars and the National Hockey League (NHL) today announced a new North American partnership, naming Little Caesars the Official Pizza Delivery of the NHL®.The multiyear agreement offers Little Caesars an array of exclusive marketing rights and designations that will connect the brand with the NHL and its events. Fans will see the Little Caesars brand displayed in a corner in-ice ad position during every game of the 2020 Stanley Cup® Qualifiers™ and 2020 Stanley Cup® Playoffs, as well as all exhibition games. The partnership begins immediately and runs through the 2020-2021 season."Little Caesars is an enormous global restaurant chain with deep ties to our sport, both at the Club level with the Detroit Red Wings as well as through its long-standing youth hockey involvement in Michigan," said Kyle McMann, NHL Senior Vice President, North American Business Development & Global Partnerships. "We are thrilled to welcome this iconic brand to the NHL family, and are excited to share and build new programming to deepen Little Caesars connection to fans across North America. We will work to promote Little Caesars new delivery service and create new offerings that will entice fans to make Little Caesars a staple of their game night ritual for our first summer Stanley Cup Playoffs.""As we continue to add stores and customers across the globe, our partnership with the NHL will connect us with millions of consumers around the world in a new way," said Dave Scrivano, president and CEO of Little Caesars. "The Little Caesars brand has had a deep relationship with the incredible sport of hockey for a long time, and we're thrilled to take our love of the game to the next level. This season, fans will be cheering their teams on from home, and what better way to watch the games than with a delicious pizza that can now be delivered right to your door."Little Caesars has a proud and well-established affiliation with hockey. Mike and Marian Ilitch, the founders of Little Caesars, purchased the Detroit Red Wings® in 1982 and began sponsorship of amateur hockey in 1968. Little Caesars AAA Hockey is one of the most recognized and respected organizations in amateur travel hockey with numerous national championships, and a strong track record of placing players in the NHL. Little Caesars is also the naming rights sponsor of Little Caesars Arena™ in Detroit, the home of the Detroit Red Wings, Little Caesars AAA Hockey Club and the Little Caesars Amateur Hockey League, and host to world-class sports and entertainment events. Little Caesars is part of the Ilitch companies, led by Christopher Ilitch, who also serves as the governor and president and CEO of the Detroit Red Wings.Click here to view the NHL's profile.Click here to view Little Caesar's profile....
2020-07-31
National Bank of Canada signs on as Title Sponsor of Vibrant Brampton
National Bank of Canada is pleased to be the Title Sponsor of the 5th edition of #vibrantbrampton. This previously live two day event in #gtawest featuring talents from the #southasian community is now a #virtual event running throughout the summer on the Vibrant Brampton.Click here view Vibrant Brampton's profile.Click here to view National Bank of Canada's profile....
2020-07-31
Nestlé Canada and National Hockey League Announce Multiyear Canadian Partnership
KITKAT Becomes the Official Chocolate of the NHL in CanadaNestlé Canada and the National Hockey League (NHL) today announced a multiyear partnership, naming KITKAT the Official Chocolate of the NHL® in Canada.The partnership kicks off with the Big Breakaway Contest where KITKAT fans will have a chance to win a 2021 Stanley Cup® Final Ultimate Experience and daily prizes. Contest details will be available at kitkat.ca/breakaway and kitkat.ca/pausehockey, beginning August 1, 2020.As part of the partnership, Nestlé Canada has the ability to create content and activate at marquee NHL events in the seasons ahead, including the NHL Winter Classic®, NHL® All-Star Weekend, Stanley Cup® Playoffs, Stanley Cup® Final, NHL Awards™ and NHL Draft™."KITKAT has been a beloved brand of Canadians for generations and we're thrilled to join forces with the other true love of our nation – the NHL," said Chandra Kumar, Business Executive Officer, Confectionery, Nestlé Canada. "The launch of this multiyear partnership, timed perfectly as we head into the highly anticipated 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, will further leverage two strong Canadian brands to reach new audiences by creating memorable moments for fans from coast-to-coast.""We are delighted to welcome Nestlé Canada to the NHL family to build impactful fan-focused programs centered around one of Canada's favourite snacks – KITKAT," said Kyle McMann, NHL Senior Vice President, North American Business Development & Global Partnerships. "As we embark on the 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers this Saturday, our partnership with Nestlé Canada provides us with an opportunity to invite hockey fans to take a break with KITKAT as we bring the NHL back into households across the country. We look forward to celebrating our game with fans by producing engaging content through unique activations with Nestlé Canada."KITKAT in-store displays featuring NHL official partner branding are currently available at grocery and retail stores across Canada. Through the partnership, Nestlé Canada will also engage passionate NHL fans and promote new, innovative products in the frozen pizza and ice cream categories.NHL, the NHL Shield, Stanley Cup and the word mark NHL Winter Classic are registered trademarks and Stanley Cup Qualifiers, NHL Awards and NHL Draft are trademarks of the National Hockey League.  All Rights Reserved.Click here to view the NHL's profile.Click here to view Nestle Canada's profile....
2020-07-30
Canucks and Budweiser unveil Penalty Box Patio for serving food, drinks in isolation
Fans can enjoy world's tiniest sports bar while also practicing physical distancingThis is the first time where following the rules will land you in the penalty box.The Vancouver Canucks have introduced their Penalty Box Patio, Canada's tiniest physically distanced sports bar.As the world continues to try to slow the coronavirus pandemic, the Canucks have brought an outdoor seating bar/restaurant that is perfect for the times."While fans may not be able to cheer from the stands right now, their passion and support of Canucks hockey has not wavered," Trent Carroll, CEO, Canucks Sports & Entertainment told the team's website. "In celebration of the start of hockey, the Penalty Box Patio is a fun way for us to bring a unique hockey experience to a sunny patio for our fans who are looking to get outside and be a part of the excitement of the return of Canucks hockey."It's a natural fit considering a penalty box is built for isolation and comes with physical barriers. Servers wear custom Canucks masks, and the area is sanitized between every customer.Some Canucks season ticket holders got the first crack at the tiny table, which serves drinks and game-day food from Rogers Arena and aims to remain open at least through the Stanley Cup Qualifiers and Stanley Cup Playoffs.Article by Dan O'Leary as posted on NHL.comClick here to view Canucks Sports & Entertainment's profile.Click here to view Budweiser's profile....
2020-07-28
Sponsors drop We Charity sponsorship and donations amid political scandal
Several companies — including a major sponsor — that have provided cash, flights and gym memberships to WE Charity are dropping or considering backing away from supporting the embattled organization.Royal Bank of Canada and GoodLife Fitness said Tuesday that they were ending their partnerships with the charity, while WestJet was still mulling over what to do about WE.The decisions come amid an ongoing controversy over a federal government deal to run a $900-million student volunteer program meant to help youths during the COVID-19 pandemic.WE — a Toronto-based charity formed by brothers Craig and Marc Kielburger in 1995 —was awarded a contract, before backing out of administering the program.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, whose mother and brother received money for speaking at WE events, and Finance Minister Bill Morneau, who has travelled on WE's dime and has a daughter that works for the organization, face ethics probes after failing to recuse themselves from discussions about the contract.Morneau has since paid back the more than $41,000 his WE travels cost, while Trudeau has apologized.Meanwhile, WE has laid off 450 contract workers and said it is eyeing a restructuring. The charity did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Kielburger brother are testifying Tuesday at a House of Commons committee looking onto the student volunteer program.On Tuesday, sponsors added to WE's troubles."After reviewing our partnership, RBC and WE Charity have reached a mutual agreement to end all sponsorship and donation programming," said spokeswoman Gillian McArdle in an email to The Canadian Press, days after WE sponsor Virgin Atlantic Airways dropped the organization.We's Global Learning Centre was brought to life with fundraising from a group of well-known philanthropists, including RBC executive Jennifer Tory, who proudly mentions the charity in her online bank bio.RBC chief executive Dave McKay served as co-chairman of last year's We Day, a series of star-studded, stadium events attended by students across Canada to drum up awareness around the charity.GoodLife Fitness, a chain of exercise facilities, also edged away from WE, whose staff it had given free gym memberships."In light of recent events, GoodLife has discontinued its partnership with WE," the company said in an email.WestJet, which has provided free flights for kids in remote areas and staff to get to WE Day events since 2014, was taking a different approach."With WE Days suspended for 2020, we will work towards understanding the situation in greater detail before making any determinations," WestJet spokeswoman Morgan Bell said in an email to The Canadian Press.This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 28, 2020.Click here to view WE's profile.Click here to view RBC's profile.Click here to view Goodlife Fitness' profile....
2020-07-27
The Instagram metrics that brands are using in 2020 to decide whether to hire an influencer and to measure campaign performance
As the coronavirus pandemic has hit advertising budgets, the brands that are continuing to spend on influencer-marketing campaigns want to know they are getting results. The pandemic has put into focus the new metrics brands are using to measure the success of an influencer in promoting their products, as the industry moves away from follower counts and likes (which are easily bought) and toward clearer engagement metrics. Brand partnerships are a huge source of revenue for influencers, and brands are set to spend up to $15 billion on influencer marketing by 2022, according to Business Insider Intelligence. To assess where to allocate their spending, major brands like Dunkin' are looking at engagement-rate benchmarks and the responses of an influencer's followers to determine if their sponsored content is resonating, Melanie Cohn, the director of brand engagement at Dunkin' Brands, said. Business Insider spoke with influencer-marketing experts, brands, agents, and managers on the metrics brands are paying attention to as a way to track the success of a sponsorship on Instagram. Here's what they said. Instagram influencers should be listening closely to what their followers are saying, the industry experts said. Evan Asano, the CEO of the influencer-marketing agency Mediakix, told Business Insider that many brands were looking at the quality of comments left on a sponsored Instagram post and the level of engagement from an influencer's fans. Companies "are looking for a balance of influencers who engage with their fans, create authentic content, and partner with brands authentic to them, rather than anyone who will just pay them," Asano said. Asano said brands were now looking at comments as a part of engagement, and if a majority of the comments are in a different language, they might assume the influencer bought them. Brands also track if followers are mentioning the company within the comments or have any intent on purchasing the product mentioned, he added. Claire Rose Cliteur, a fashion and lifestyle Instagram influencer with over 500,000 followers, said she shared the direct feedback that she gets from her followers (such as DMs) with the brands she works with to show the level of engagement she gets. Industry insiders told Business Insider that on Instagram, many brands now look for: Some brands compare how many people view Instagram content (like how many views an Instagram Story slide got or how many people saw an in-grid post) with how many people engage with it (such as double tapping the post to like it and swiping up to purchase or comment on the content).  Brands get a better idea of an influencer's impact by reading the engagement stats from Instagram Stories. Influencers are able to share this data with brands by accessing their Instagram Insights tool on the app. "Reach is definitely still important, but what Instagram is starting to really dig deep into and pay attention to is the number of shares and saves that your content gets," Britney Turner, a lifestyle microinfluencer who has a creator-coaching business, said, adding that brands also focus on those measurements. These "saves" are sometimes referred to as "super likes" and have become increasingly important to brands and creators, especially as concerns around fake metrics (such as fraudulent follower counts or likes) grow.  Many influencers are starting to include these kinds of metrics in their media kits, which showcase their prospective value to a brand. The influencer Marina Mogilko includes case studies from past sponsorships in her media kit. For instance, in her campaign with the brand Puffy, Mogilko posted one sponsored Instagram post and one brand-tagged giveaway. She included insights from the sponsorship in her media kit, such as the number of views, likes, and saves she received. ...