We were in Russia last week, speaking at the marketing and sponsorship conference ‘MarSpo’ in Moscow.

It’s safe to say that whilst the industry is different to what we see in the West, the ambition and enthusiasm for innovative sports marketing is just as strong.

The two day conference was held in the fantastic 45,000 seater Otkritie Arena, home to FC Spartak-Moscow.

Our first session was a ‘Case Session’ with five panellists each delivering a 10 minute case study of best practice sponsorship. The panel was:

  • Pavel Shvets, Director of Marketing at FC Spartak-Moscow,
  • Dmitry Manevich, Marketing Director at the Russian Olympic Committee,
  • Varvara Khmelkova, Head of Sponsorship at Megafon,
  • Sophie Morris, Strategic Marketing and Sponsorship Consultant at Millharbour Marketing (now Sponsor View)
  • and Andrey Schepkin, Head of Marketing at KAMAZ-Master racing team.

With kind permission, we spoke about O2’s sponsorship of England Rugby as our best example of sponsorship activation and integration in 2015. Later in the day we also gave an hour’s Masterclass on sponsorship for sports clubs.

We chose to present on O2 because of the strength of the message behind their campaign, and how they used it to drive support for England Rugby and also drive participation in the sport. They took their campaign message of ‘Wear the Rose’ to heart and used existing assets, such as their branches and the O2 arena, in their campaign. They were innovative in their activation, projecting messages on top of the O2 and rebranding their branches with the merged ‘Rose 2’ logo.

Speaking to Ronan Dunne, CEO, the day after we returned to London, he told us how important the participation element of O2 Touch was for them and how the ‘send off’ event allowed them to utilise their O2 arena and raise awareness of their Priority Services through early ticket sales.

The Sponsorship Masterclass took the clubs, leagues and governing bodies attending through the main themes that have developed recently, including:

  • the move from sponsorships to partnerships,
  • the use of sponsorship to grow the sport,
  • the importance of brand alignment between partners,
  • and the impact of technological innovation.

We took the attendees through the sponsorship strategy process looking at how these themes effect each stage.

The inaugural MarSpo conference was a great success, with delegates, speakers and sponsors, all enjoying the content discussed and the networking in the breaks. And, of course, Moscow is a great city to visit!

If you’d like to hear more about the O2 and England Rugby sponsorship, or if you’d like us to take you through the Sponsorship Masterclass, do get in touch.