David Macdonald, Media, Sponsorship & PR Manager at Ladbrokes, gives us his thoughts on the betting giant’s sponsorship of the Scottish football leagues…
We’re already into the second year as SPFL title sponsors and as our journey continues, so does our overall objective and passion for Scottish football.
When we took over as title sponsors we were pretty much given a blank canvas to develop a sponsorship programme that would showcase our brand. It was my responsibility to engage with our target audience in ways that shows our appetite for Scottish football.
It was quickly established that gone are the days when a lack of creativity would maintain a steady flow of coverage. If we wanted to engage with our consumers in captivating ways, then we would need to take the activation of our sponsorship to our customers and communities.
Managing the sponsorship of any domestic football league is about two things, sustainability and consistency. Unlike cup competitions, a domestic league needs daily management, measurement, and communications in order to steer it in the most productive direction.
We have 42 clubs in our sponsored leagues, and it’s vital that teams like Edinburgh city, Peterhead and Annan get the same treatment as Aberdeen, Celtic or Rangers. This was visible last season when we provided identical trophy presentations for the four champions.
Not only are title celebrations massive for the clubs but also the sponsor. Celtic, Rangers, Dunfermline and East Fife all opened their doors and granted us access in order to assist them in making these enormous occasions enjoyable. It felt like you were part of their journey throughout the season.
Ladbrokes is one of the oldest and most recognisable bookmakers in the world. We have been in local communities for many years, and sponsoring the SPFL has enabled us to get out and about. This was most significant when our branded VW Campervan toured the country giving clubs, companies, and retail shop customers the opportunity to get up-close to the iconic Premiership trophy.
The trophy tour was engaging, fun and extremely colourful but sometimes you need to capture that perfect moment when the imagery not only tells a story but creates the story, and SNS Group have managed to capture these moments extraordinarily skillfully. This made it virtually impossible for these images not to have an impact.
Having commercial partners like SNS Group working with us has undoubtedly helped shape our sponsorship to become the success that it has been.
One word that sums up Scottish football for me is “passion”. It’s the lifeline of so many industries and it runs so deep that it doesn’t matter who you are, you’re going to have an opinion. At the forefront of this drive is the media, and they continue to play a massive part in helping us get our message across.
Working with the newspaper editors, journalists, presenters and producers has made me realise that without their hard work and dedication then we wouldn’t have the same level of passion for our game. Why? Because they all give us the platform that facilitates us to have our opinion.
It would be impossible for me to ascertain any negatives about our sponsorship of Scottish football, but I will share with you one area I feel needs support…
“Scottish football is just as good as any other domestic league in the world. The only thing we don’t do together is believe in our product. When Scottish football clubs have successful European nights in their respected stadiums, it’s not the players on the pitch that create the noise and passion – it’s the fans”
To hear more from David he can be found on Twitter, @LadsDavid