TORQUE Insights: 2015 SMCC Sponsorship Marketing Awards

Peter_Gardner_web101 Peter Gardner, Senior Partnership Architect & Insights Development

This week we sent Mr. Peter Gardner to the 2015 SMCC Sponsorship Marketing Awards. The conference featured innovative sponsorship strategy from properties, brands, and agencies currently reshaping our industry one brilliant partnership or activation at a time. Peter shares his key learnings with us through a little TORQUE Q&A.

KEEPING WITH THE SMCC SPONSORSHIP MARKETING AWARDS’ THEME THIS YEAR, WHICH BRANDS HAVE SET THEMSELVES APART WITH A BOLDER, BRAVER, BETTER  SPONSORSHIP STRATEGY?

Obviously I am biased here but I have to say TELUS. We developed a new strategy in 2014 and are in the process of rolling it out in 2015. We are using new insights to tap into passion, loyalty, and ritual of sport and looking at all of our assets differently. The 2015 World Junior Championships and the #AllHeartCanada campaign was the first expression of this new way forward and I’m excited about the new trajectory.

WHAT STRUCK YOU AS THE MOST IMPACTFUL ACTIVATION SHOWCASED AT THE SMAS?

Hmmmm. This is tough because I saw and heard about so many great activations. But in terms of sheer impact, I’ll have to go with WestJet. Although it might be more of a branded content play than a sponsorship per se, their Christmas Miracle video created atmospheric brand, business, and market impact.

WHO REINVENTED THEIR APPROACH TO SPONSORSHIP PROGRAMMING?

Canadian Tire has done such a great job of reinventing through sponsorship. I love how they are using their Olympic and amateur sport partnerships to revitalize their retail brands and engage their employees. With the retail category being so competitive and unforgiving, I think it shows that sponsorship can be used to change your business.

WHICH SPEAKER(S) STOOD OUT FROM THE CROWD OFFERING INSPIRATION OR TANGIBLE TAKEAWAYS?

I thought Corey Evans from WestJet was great. It was refreshing to hear about both the ups and downs for Westjet and how the team is working to harness the potential of their content strategy. It is always good to remind yourself that if it was easy, everybody would be doing it.

WHO USED STORYBUILDING WHEN BUILDING THEIR SPONSORSHIP STRATEGY & ACTIVATIONS?

I think WestJet has set the bar pretty high when it comes to Storybuilding. The Christmas miracle video put customers and employees at the heart of the story and allowed them to co-author.

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? WHAT DO YOU EXPECT TO SEE FROM BRANDS, PROPERTIES & AGENCIES IN THE FUTURE?

Great question. The bar has been set really, really high. I think brands are going to continue to use partnerships to produce shareworthy content across all platforms. And I think the ones that are able to master brand purpose – knowing the single thing your brand is about – will separate the good from the great.

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