We often hear about living life on the ‘edge’, about being daring and bold, and this is where we were taken at this year’s BT Sport Industry Awards.  In fact, the premise of taking it to the edge framed the evening as the sports industry celebrated the campaigns, brands and achievements of the past 12 months.

And there was much to celebrate in a year where we had the FIFA World Cup, Commonwealth Games, the Ryder Cup, Tour de France, not to mention the regular fixtures across the domestic sporting calendar.

Taking it to the edge is important for brands and marketing too and is fundamentally about creativity, engagement and connecting with consumers through their passions in new, unique and relevant ways.  It’s not about being cavalier, irresponsible or complacent, and acts as a good reminder for us all.

A secondary theme has emerged and is a mark of the way the sports industry is developing was sport is a force for good and a force for change.

UNICEF’s ground-breaking fundraising initiative at the Opening Ceremony of the Commonwealth Games raised in excess of £5m on the night and enabled through mobile but made possible for the powerful story-telling with its ambassadors. Click here

UNICEF’s achievements were followed by The Invictus Games which were staged for the first time last year and won the ‘Best Live Experience’ category.  Again, the Games shone a light on the wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women with the aim of harnessing the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate wider understanding and respect of those who serve their country. Click here.

As ever, the advance of technology, mass participation and engagement were key to successful campaigns that were either short-listed or honored, and the brand winners on the night were:

Samsung:  Best International Marketing Campaign for Samsung Galaxy 11 building on their involvement in football to capture the imagination of fans around the world. Click here.

O2:  Best Sponsorship of a Team for England Rugby – Wear the Rose which included use of oculus rift technology. Click here.

Irn Bru:  Best Sponsorship of a Sports Event for its ‘Born to Support’ campaign around the Commonwealth Games to rouse national pride ahead, during and following the Games. Click here.

Adidas:  Brand of Year due to its activity around the FIFA World Cup with the Brazuca Ball, involvement with teams and players, and demonstrating increased year-on-year sales of 16%. Click here.

In fact, the ability for brands and campaigns to measure effectiveness and demonstrate impact and value is an essential part of their marketing and community programmes, and as campaigns are dive deeper, reach wider and richer in content than ever before multi-channel evaluation against objectives is a must; and of course, the awards are the added recognition for great effective work.

Finally, a special mention to Rugby World Cup 2015 which won Best Integrated Marketing Campaign for “Too Big to Miss” which used marketing, PR, social, digital, experiential activity to galvanise people to buy tickets for the tournament later this year, and resulted in 5 millions tickets being applied for. Click here.

As with sport, high performance and success for brands and marketing in sport is pushing ever forward to the edge to connect with audiences and drive value and growth.

BT Sport Industry Awards 2015 winners and short-list.

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Rob Mitchell

Brand Activation Council Member
Vice President, Sales & Partnerships, EMEA at Sponsorium