Sponsorship used to be about packages. The title sponsor would get A, B and C while supporting sponsors would get D, E and F and the rest would be either given to the tile sponsor for nothing or not sold at all. Cowes Week has been having a hard time replacing its title sponsor. The long-running UK event even brought in sports marketing big-hitters, Octagon to try and sell the naming rights to the regatta.
Part of the Octagon strategy was to unpack some of the sponsorship benefits to allow smaller companies to get involved. Since then, Cowes Week has announced a couple of supporting sponsors, but the naming rights are still on the shelf.
Long time supporter of sailing regattas around the world, Mount Gay Rum, has been confirmed as a supporting sponsor for Cowes Week 2010.
The brand sits well with an event that trades off its age and heritage, but perhaps the claim of “The world’s oldest” is the reason that title sponsors are thin on the ground. While events like the Volvo Ocean Race and the Audi Med Cup are promoting associations with innovation and sailing as a modern lifestyle, Cowes Week continues to trade on heritage. The subtle message is ‘we are old, therefore we must be good’, not as powerful as ‘we are the best, and history shows it.’
The Sarah Pace, Assistant Brand Manager for Mount Gay Rum commented on why the fit between the Cowes message and the Mount Gay message was in sync:
“We are thrilled to be associated with Cowes Week, one of the world’s oldest regattas and it is the ideal platform for us to promote Mount Gay, the world’s oldest rum. Mount Gay’s heritage and association with the sailing community has helped cement the brand’s position in the golden rum category and we hope supporting Cowes Week will only further propel its status and popularity.”
As a supporting sponsor, Mount Gay will activate it’s participation by “making their presence felt throughout the event”, reaffirming the brand’s loyalty to the sailing fraternity at this most famous of annual sailing regattas running from 31 July to 7 August.
Michelle Warner, Sales & Marketing Director of Cowes Week Limited said:
“We are pleased to welcome Mount Gay Rum to our family of supporting sponsors,” said “Mount Gay’s long association with sailing and regattas worldwide, makes it a perfect partner for our event.”
There will be plenty of opportunities for sailors and visitors alike to sample their favourite Mount Gay Rum, Eclipse or the premium Extra Old brand, and an exciting mix of promotions and competitions will include the chance for competitors to earn one of the “most cherished mementoes” from any regatta around the world – the coveted Mount Gay red cap!