CAMPAIGNS: Judge and Jury; Flora’s London marathon deal achieves a healthy spread

Flora combined all the right ingredients to launch and exploit its sponsorship of the London Marathon, says Karen Earl of sponsorship marketing consultancy Karen Earl Limited

Flora combined all the right ingredients to launch and exploit its

sponsorship of the London Marathon, says Karen Earl of sponsorship

marketing consultancy Karen Earl Limited



It always helps if you can say that something is the biggest ever. In

Flora’s case it was the pounds 6 million ‘biggest ever’ sponsorship in

the 16-year history of the London Marathon. And fighting off 13 other

companies to snatch the title sponsorship of one of the most attractive

sponsorships in the sporting calender was a coup in itself.



What Flora has in its favour that previous sponsors lacked is a good fit

- two products which conjure up similar associations, in this case

active and healthy lifestyles. The glitzy launch of the deal had the Red

Devils falling out of the sky above Greenwich Park way back in August.

It was a launch which said ‘we’re new; we’re different; we’re serious

and we’re going to make it work.’



And they did. Who could fail to notice the combination of pre-publicity,

TV advertising and on-pack promotions in the run-up to the event?



The full title of the event (including the Flora name) was used in every

bit of pre- and post-event coverage that I saw - not bad for a first-

time sponsor of a well-loved event. Links with print and broadcast media

meant that every inch of the run was covered by Capital Radio and the

exclusive results service run in the Times was heavily branded with

Flora London Marathon logos.



As for the Marathon itself, with record temperatures and Liz McColgan as

a dream winner, column inches were just waiting to happen.



An event like the Flora London Marathon relies on pictures to get its

sponsor’s name across - and although the branding was very good on the

runners’ bibs, finishing line and foil heat wraps, the Flora banners

were sometimes lost on the TV coverage of the event.



Co-sponsors Isotar and Aqua Pura had ‘can’t fail to notice me’ banners

especially noticeable at the start line, while Flora’s as title sponsor

really could have done with being bigger.



What Flora needs now is to make a long-term commitment to the London

Marathon to make its sponsorship work really well - three years isn’t

necessarily enough. But what it also needs to watch out for is the

public perception of two tried-and-tested products jogging gently into

old age together.



I hope they manage to keep it fresh and exciting -it’s a great

sponsorship.



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