A great article published in the monthly newsletter of the World Yacht Racing Forum about how different sponsors look for different things in the same race. The WYRF talked with the sponsors of Michel Desjoyeaux and Samantha Davies.
Sponsors of the Vendée Globe winner Michel Desjoyeaux and fourth placed Samantha Davies, Foncia and Roxy had very different sponsorship objectives for their respective campaigns. Yet both sponsors have enjoyed significant returns from their investments.
We catch up with sponsorship managers Julien Benoist from Foncia and Maritxu Darrigrand from Roxy to talk us through their campaigns.
WYRF: Why did you choose to sponsor a boat in such an extreme race as the Vendée Globe?
Julien Benoist, Foncia:
“The ‘extreme’ aspect of the race is just one of its ingredients. More important for us is the fact that it is the biggest race in terms of participants, public and media; it is also one of the most competitive. Our involvement in the Vendée Globe with Michel Desjoyeaux is a consequence of the disappearance of the IMOCA Class. The Vendée Globe provides a great visibility in a very competitive environment.”
Maritxu Darrigrand, Roxy:
“We decided to get involved in the Vendée Globe because nearly every offshore sailor dreams of competing in this race; it is the Everest of sailing and it was a natural decision that we decided to do it with Samantha Davies. This was a new challenge for us, triggered by our love for the Oceans, the respect for the nature, the sportive challenge, the taste for adventure and travelling, and the interest for outdoor sport…”
WYRF: How did you choose Michel Desjoyeaux / Samantha Davies?
“Michel’s personality is in line with our past communication in sailing. He is a great ambassador for our company’s values. We appreciate his sense of the detail and spirit of innovation. He is a perfectionist and has a strong will power. Like us”.
“Over the past eighteen years, Roxy has become the number one feminine brand for outdoor sports. Both women and “sports de glisse” [a French expression for ‘gliding sports’ such as surfing, skating boarding, snowboarding etc) are the soul of our brand, its culture and tradition. It is a way of life that has taken over the actual sport, seducing an entire generation of young women and girls active in an urban environment. That’s why we have decided to support a woman active in the sport of sailing: Samantha Davies.”
WYRF: What were your strategic objectives in sponsoring a boat in the Vendée Globe?
“Our main objective was to increase our brand awareness, and make sure people understand our business. We’ve also used the race to federate our employees around a common project. For example, we took 350 employees to the start and arrival of the race, and organised an internal contest called “Tous fondus de Foncia” (All mad about Foncia), asking our staff to support Michel with designs, photos, cartoons or texts.”
“Our goal, as well as Samantha’s, was to participate and finish the race in the top 10. We supplied her with all the communication tools necessary to share this formidable adventure. Her talent, the quality of her team, the reliability of her boat and her passion has done the rest. We also wanted to bring in some freshness, colour and femininity in the sport of sailing. Sam proved during those three months that it is possible to ally sport with pleasure and personal achievement and to share this with the public.”
WYRF: Have you achieved your commercial objectives?
“We are obviously extremely happy with the result, although the final report isn’t ready yet. We wanted to have a good visibility before, during and after the event and have successfully achieved this goal. It has also been a great internal success. Michel has met many of our employees before and after the event. During the race, people were walking in our agencies to ask how the boat was doing, and our sales agents ended up talking about the race, which helped create a special relationship with our customers.
“We wanted to reach a wide public, and link our brand with a talented sailor. Samantha’s personality has allowed Roxy to achieve this within the values of our brand. The results have exceeded our expectations; they are extraordinary. Samantha is an outstanding sailor, capable of sailing against the greatest whilst always keeping her “joie de vivre”. She is simply the perfect ambassador for our brand. Fun & alive, naturally beautiful, daring & confident.” She has also perfectly used all the communication tools available, and was sending daily releases, photos, videos, audios… We have been able to provide European media with this material and the results speak for themselves.”
WYRF: Can you share some figures with us? (number of hits on website, sales increase, measure of brand awareness…)
“This is still work in progress. We have appointed an agency who is working on this.”
“The media coverage has been outstanding. Sam and Roxy have been involved in numerous TV shows, both in France and the UK. The print, radio, TV and web coverage have been exceptional. 13 million videos have been watched on the official Vendée Globe website, and 30% of them were featuring Sam and two other sailors. The skippers have received tens of thousands of messages during the race, and Sam is the sailor who received most of them, ahead of the race winner Michel Desjoyeaux.”