CAMPAIGNS: PRODUCT AWARENESS; Vaseline greases student palms

Client: The Vaseline Brand, a division of Elida Faberge PR Team: CSS Promotions Campaign: Sponsorship of the British University Sports Association Timing: January - July 1996 Budget: Around pounds 120,000

Client: The Vaseline Brand, a division of Elida Faberge

PR Team: CSS Promotions

Campaign: Sponsorship of the British University Sports Association

Timing: January - July 1996

Budget: Around pounds 120,000



Vaseline petroleum jelly is perceived as being a non-scientific and non

technological product appealing to an ageing user group.



In an attempt to enhance its image among a younger audience Vaseline has

been backing sporting events such as the London Marathon. In January

1996, it added support for the British University Sports Association

(BUSA), which has responsibility for organising 43 sports events at

universities throughout the UK.



Objectives



To promote the Vaseline brand to active young consumers and to flag up

the broad range of Vaseline Brand skincare products now available.



Tactics



The sponsorship deal has enabled Vaseline to establish links with the

Daily Telegraph (the official newspaper of BUSA ) Live TV! (which

currently covers student sports) and Sky TV (which is negotiating for

student sports coverage).



The Vaseline brand name appears alongside the Daily Telegraph’s rolling

programme of reports on many of the 43 major sports BUSA supports.

Mentions of the brand are also made in Live TV!’s coverage of student

sports and the Sky TV programme Grass Roots which has covered the

progress of the Loughborough women’s rugby team.



Vaseline’s support of BUSA also ensures that its promotional material

will be seen by the 200,000 students who actively take part in games and

sports, with sponsored team shirts, merchandise and product sampling

being available to many who play regularly.



Athletic Union reps have been motivated to promote the sponsorship by

running their own promotional campaigns within their universities. York

University, for example, renamed one of its buildings the Vaseline

Building, and gained national and regional press and radio coverage in

the process.



A subsequent Vaseline/ BUSA Olympic Challenge offers a trip for two to

Atlanta for this summer’s Olympic Games to one of the students who can

name four products out of the Vaseline product range.



Results



BUSA sports receive coverage in the Daily Telegraph on Thursday and

Friday of every week with Vaseline’s logo appearing alongside copy

usually written by Charlie Randall, the student sports writer. However,

BUSA and Vaseline have had less success with coverage on Live TV! as the

cable channel had wanted to cover student rugby, but these plans were

scuppered by poor winter weather. It was only able to cover the finals

at Twickenham, home of the Rugby Football Union and the England team,

despite having signed a deal in February.



BUSA activities also receive mentions in the Independent and the Times,

although Vaseline did not receive the sort of branding the Telegraph

awarded it.



Verdict



An accurately targeted deal which offers the sponsors the possibility of

reaching up to 800,000 students in 147 universities and colleges in the

UK.



However, Vaseline’s attempt to marry media coverage to its marketing

campaign has not been an overwhelming success outside of its

arrangements with the Telegraph and Live TV! Its campus activities have

been more effective, tapping into an increasingly commercial and

sophisticated student structure. It remains to be seen, however, whether

student sports will become as hot a prospect for sponsors in the UK as

it is in the US.



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