One of the biggest questions asked by any sponsor is ‘Who is your audience?’ Most sailing sponsorship campaigns are ‘business to business’ – meaning the sponsor company is trying to promote its products and services to other companies. While these deals keep the sport alive, they are not as compelling to fans as campaigns designed to egage consumers. It is no surprise that recent sponsorships that may be known to the casual sailing fan are consumer brands like Roxy and Puma.
Using sailing to sell cool (or warm) clothing is one thing – using an Open 60 to sell cheese is quite another, but Groupe Bel is aiming its sailing at a different audience – a younger, more playful consumer. If sailing is to become a ‘proper’ sport, then children need to be inspired and engaged at a young age.
Last week photos of Kito de Pavant’s Open 60 Groupe Bel with brand mascot aboard were widely distributed. The novelty factor was enough for the photos to get a release on sailing websites, one can’t imagine that being the target audience.
Digging a little deeper, the official microsite is a fantastic example of how sponsorship can be activated using digital media. It features games (raising the mainsail) and mini videos (the adventures of the brands) that double as ads – arguably more interactive than any other sailing website we’ve seen.
This is a great example of just how broad an audience sailing attracts. With a little bit of smart creative and an understanding that sponsorship is only half the equation (the other half being activation), brands can use the stories and associations from sailing to promote not just to a corporate marketplace, but consumers too.