Sailing through Sponsorship Noise


Yesterday, more than 1850 boats competed in the JP Morgan Round the Island Race. So, that’s 1850 possible news stories multiplied by the number of crew plus a few sponsor press releases and a myriad of results. There was only one story that mattered to the UK media though, Lewis Hamilton, the ‘British’ F1 driver was aboard Hugo Boss.

On these pages, we try to show that, even if you don’t have the budgets of these big companies, you can still learn how to make the most of your sports marketing money by watching the best. Hugo Boss is a fantastic case study.

If you read our story last week about David Beckham’s shirt, you will know that not all sponsorships manage to generate awareness with a wider audience. Until now, you may not have known that Hugo Boss is a partner of the McClaren F1 team, but this was a win-win opportunity for everybody that ensured maximum marketing exposure.

By putting Lewis Hamilton, alongside Britain’s top Olympic sailor; Ben Ainslie, on a 60 foot, carbon fibre, racing yacht, the marketing gurus managed to promote Hugo Boss, McLaren and sailing all in one go. Even though Hugo Boss collided with another boat at the start and compromised the ‘podium’ finish, the headlines were guaranteed.

When Hugo Boss started working with Alex Thompson on his Open 60 campaign, they showed how, with a bit of thought, a racing yacht could become a huge floating billboard. The current boat’s hull and sails are aligned to highlight the brand from every possible angle and of course the value of naming rights are apparent.

So what can smaller companies with more modest budgets take away from this example? Spreading sponsorship budget across multiple, complimentary sports allows you to take advantage of cross-promotional opportunities that benefit all.