PruHealth sponsorship of triathlon is sign of times
One spin-off from the success of British athletes in less mainstream sports at London 2012 – such as triathlon, long-distance cycling and sailing- is that brands are viewing these sports now in a different light. Whereas before these sports had their work cut out fighting for voice against the bright lights of athletics and football, now marketers are cognisant that associating their brands with the likes of triathlons can offer something unique- namely their brands can become synonymous with the sport.
Take, as an example, this week’s little-heralded announcement that PruHealth was to sponsor the World Triathlon Grand final.
Would a brand such as PruHealth have considered such a brand sponsorship before the success of the Brownlee brothers in the Olympics? Probably not.
The Brownlee brothers success has prompted even the most sedentary individuals to take up the gruelling endurance event.
As Nick Read, PruHealth’s director of vitality points out: “Because of this surge in popularity and the incredible health benefits of triathlon, we are very excited to join the sport at its highest level here in our own backyard.”
PruHealth is following a line of big ticket brands intent on associating their brands with marginal sports, such as Deloitte’s association with long-distance cycling and Nokia’s sponsorhip of BikeWeek.
The advantages for these brands are two-fold: on the one hand, they escape the brand clutter around more mainstream sports of football and cricket and consequently- to a degree- get “ownership” of that sport; and secondly, they can use the sponsorship of the event as an opportunity to invite clients to share a “life enhancing” moment (or “life endangering”, depending on your view) like competing in a triathlon.
Brands are increasingly encouraging senior clients to compete in such sports, selling it as a replacement for the more prosaic corporate hospitality, like a day out at the football, which is now considered dull and run-of-the-mill.
And, as long as the likes of Brownlee brothers and Bradley Wiggins remain in the public consciousness, then there are likely to be similar brand tie-ups in the future.