Sponsorship Case Studies – October 2013 Edition

This is the second guest post by Michelle Norris, Power Sponsorship’s first ever intern. Michelle will be researching best practice sponsorship case studies and sharing them with you on this blog for the next several months. You’ll find more on Michelle and how to contact her below.

This week Australia has football final fever, with Hawthorn smashing Fremantle in the AFL (Australian Football League) Grand Final last weekend. As a result my blog post has been ‘Footified’! Read on for an explanation…


In Australia football is like a religion, and this finals season the National Australia Bank (NAB) devised a way to share our passion with the world! Footify is a national campaign that is focused on converting and educating all non-believers and making football accessible across a diverse demographic. Everything a football novice could possibly need to become a knowledgeable fan is on the NAB Footify website.

“The AFL is a huge part of NAB’s culture – both internally for our staff and externally for the fans. We want to Footify the rest of Australia and show them what they’re missing out on.” – Sandra De Castro, NAB, CMO

For me, football is just a whole bunch of attractive (I know, I’m generalising!) men running around in very short shorts and a fantastic excuse to drink beer. My knowledge has been gleaned from a few short relationships with hardcore fans and that’s about the extent of it. The Footify glossary is very important to me, as I can now say things likes ‘daisy cutter’ and not automatically think of gardening equipment. The approach taken by the NAB builds relationships with the game and encourages amateurs to ‘preach’ without the fear of committing a faux pas!

The ‘Footify a Friend’ brings in a social element that works very well in this context. The Footify site is an inclusive community that is focused on the betterment of ones knowledge of ‘the game’. It breaks the barriers with simple tips to help friends understand the game, with gems like “When it comes to singing your team song, volume and enthusiasm make up for not knowing the words. Or lack of musical talent”. The ‘Which team am I?’ tool is absolute marketing gold! It involves the entire audience, with simple, generic and humorous questions that can be filled out by… well, people like me, along with the die-hard fan who wants to know whether or not the app will get it right.

Above, NAB shows they are committed to making their sponsorships accessible to everyone by accepting the challenge to translate the Grand Final into a multitude of languages including German, Greek, Croatian, Spanish, Punjabi and Mandarin. With a large majority of their customer base speaking English as a second language this serves to bypass the barriers and wholeheartedly welcomes all customers into the football fraternity.

Why This Works

I’m walking proof of the value of such a website. As I am now a proud supporter of the Geelong Cats. The key to the success of this campaign is the simply feeling like part of a team. Inclusion. The value lies in NAB making this feeling easy and accessible to everyone, and is supported by the focus they place on translating the game to a number of languages. It is focused around the NAB slogan of more give less take and also aligns well with the NAB clientele; they are making this sponsorship relevant to every single one of their customers. It’s passionate, it’s interesting and it’s got all three wins reaching up for a hanger*!

*Hanger = a spectacular, leaping catch, often using your opponent like a stepladder.

OPSM + AFL Grand Final

OPSM’s 2012 sponsorship of the AFL Grand final showed how a simple concept could be turned on its head to produce a win-win-win sponsorship. I don’t generally put a lot of faith in venue signage, but when you involve the target market in the worlds first pull apart billboard made out of branded t-shirts, I’m all for it!

OPSM created a buzz when they started to construct the unique billboard in Federation Square in Melbourne. The artists, Guerra De La Paz, an American duo started with a steel frame and worked to an audience to create the pull a part billboard. This was the genius behind the campaign. They involved their audience from the very beginning, creating intrigue as well as building trust for the brand. The audience had a buy-in, Instead of just rolling out the finished sign; they shared the entire process with the fans.

This concept was incredibly clever as the tactile nature of the billboard meant everyone that wore the t-shirt to the game became a smaller version of the billboard! The sculpture was made of approximately 3500 shirts, giving the fans something they could take home and show off. In addition, the company also offered lucky fans tickets to see the Grand Final game. I love this concept; the fans became brand advocates and the campaign provided point of difference for OPSM in an arena flooded with sponsorship.

The OPSM sponsorship was positioned well with their sponsorship being of the umpires of the game. This was brave, as umpires may not be the most popular officials in the game. However, the nature of their sponsorship showed they recognised this, understood the importance of the umpires’ eyes to the AFL fans and did their best to improve it.

Why This Works

This partnership works so well because it is different! Yes, other brands have sponsored the umpires but not in a way that improves the audiences opinion of them and makes them more reliable. The journey from a wire frame to finished sculpture (and back again) encouraged audience participation as well as aligning well with the brands objective; To get OPSM in front of as many eyes as possible via a meaningful conduit. Traditional billboards put the logo in front of millions of eyes. However, the involvement of the fans in the pull-apart billboard demonstrated a relationship that went further than a surface logo push. This campaign shows OPSM’s understanding of the needs of their target audience and how a brand can use their sponsorship to inspire trust in and advocacy of the brand.

Following on with the Australian sporting theme…

mophie + Rip Curl Pro


After only jumping off the ski fields a couple of months ago I can safely say that most people I know would pretty much do anything for a Go Pro. My father (an avid car racing fan and driver) religiously enters a competition every month to win one. Enter mophie: A product that just may cure the rampant Go Pro fever. The mophie OutRide transforms an iPhone into the “ultimate wide-angle action sports camera” which can be mounted to almost everything, recording stunts and mistakes and seamlessly sharing the video via the OutRide app.

Cool gadgets aside, mophie has also managed to create a meaningful partnership with the Rip Curl Pro surfing competition held at Bells Beach, Australia. The concept surrounds the competitors putting the product to the test at pro level, which has the added benefit of creating fantastic user generated content- with a professional’s endorsement! mophie’s association with the Rip Curl Pro provides behind the scenes footage of the event and a library of video content exclusively for the mophie community. Social content is an integral part of the mophie community foundation. As demonstrated by the OutRide app, which enables instant editing and uploading of videos to social platforms.

The company shows a great understanding of what is important for their audience. They have transformed the surfing competition into a surfing festival with mophie charging stations situated next to all the action right on the waters edge. This service is integral in the continuing performance of the product and in feeding the social platforms to ensure the mophie community is engaged. Although, it does far more that just that, it creates strong trust in the brand and the perception that mophie has everything covered!

Why This Works

This partnership works because the brands complement each other and the target audience is considered in each leveraging activity. The mophie communities’ needs are put first with consistent access to exclusive rights. For me it was the competition endorsing the product by using it to capture the surfers first hand experiences, this is where the real value lies. They have high-level competitors demonstrating the quality of the product and encouraging the mophie community (and potential buyers) to contribute their own perspective via the OutRide app. They just aren’t telling the audience how fantastic their product is, they are showing them, whilst creating a simple third win for the consumer. Needless to say I now have my dad’s birthday present covered!


About Michelle Norris

Michelle was selected from many dozen genuine applicants from around the world to be Power Sponsorship’s first ever intern. She is currently working in sponsorship and studying for a Masters in Marketing/MBA double degree at the University of Newcastle in Australia. Her internship role is mainly research and case study analysis.

If you’d like to connect with this very talented sponsorship star in the making, or if you have a case study you think she should review, feel free to contact her:

Michelle Norris on Twitter

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