October’s Sponsorship News

October’s Sponsorship News

Greenwashing, sport washing and Kanye West. October was a month when some of the biggest brands in the business were caught up in sponsorship PR nightmares. Elsewhere, Ear to the Ground launched the third iteration of its Fan Intelligence Index, Müller terminates its sponsorship of UK Athletics and M&C Saatchi partners with VAMP. Here is your rundown of sponsorship news you may have missed from the month of October.

Shell and British Cycling

Brian Facer, Chief Executive Officer of British Cycling, has been forced to step down after a furious backlash following the governing body’s decision to sign an eight-year agreement with Shell. With Just Stop Oil protests also grabbing the headlines this month, is there a sponsorship opportunity out there where companies like Shell and BP can invest without receiving a negative backlash?

Read more on The Guardian

M&C Saatchi Announces New Partnership with VAMP

M&C Saatchi Sport&Entertainment announced a new strategic partnership with Digital Talent & Entertainment PR Agency VAMP, the UK’s first agency to focus solely on the representation of Black digital talent and black audiences, a working partnership committed to promoting Black culture year-round. The partnership begins with a pledge titled ‘Beyond Black History Month’, an actionable commitment to helping brands promote Black history and culture in meaningful ways throughout the year.

Read more on mcsaatchi.com

Adidas and Kanye West

Kanye West’s behaviour has become increasingly erratic, but the rapper’s antisemitic comments have finally crossed a line with sponsors. Partners such as GAP and JP Morgan pulled the plug, but Adidas was heavily criticised for their delay in doing so. The brand’s biggest mistake, however, was not what it did over the last few weeks but what it didn’t do seven years ago.

Read more on TheSponsor.com.

Müller and UK Athletics

After seven successful years, Müller has decided not to renew its partnership with UK Athletics. The partnership, which featured UK athletes like Laura Muir, Hannah Cockroft and Katarina Johnson-Thompson, in television advertisements, started in 2016 and was renewed in 2020. UK Athletics will now begin the search for a new partner before their busy 2023 schedule commences.

Read more on Athletics Weekly

Australian Athletes Reject Sponsorship

Australian netball and cricket teams rejected multi-million-dollar sponsorship deals with Hancock Prospecting and Alinta Energy after pushback from players. Captain of the Australia cricket team, Pat Cummins, said he would no longer appear in any promotional material for Alinta Energy. Meanwhile, indigenous netball star Donnell Wallam voiced concerns about wearing a Diamonds dress that included branding from Hancock Prospecting. How should sponsors react when a player publicly criticises the brand?

Read more on Fox Sports

Coca-Cola and COP27

Coca-Cola announced sponsorship of November’s COP 27 climate conference amidst accusations that the world’s largest plastic producer is using the event for greenwashing purposes. The soft drinks brand produces over 100 billion plastic bottles per year and has committed to reducing this number. Is the sponsorship part of a genuine attempt to reform or simply a means of glossing over their negative impact on the environment?

Read more on TheSponsor.com

Ear to The Ground Launch Fan Intelligence Index

To be culturally relevant is to be connected to the ideas, customs, and behaviours important to fans at any point in time. Those specific ideas, customs and behaviours important to fans change year to year. Ear to The Ground launched the third edition of their Fan Intelligence Index. The Index tracks how and why behaviours are changing and what that means for brands.

Read more on Ear to the Ground

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