I wonder what the level of spontaneous recall there would be to the question, “Name three London Marathon sponsors.” I think I may have got two. With a little prompting I would have got three.
There is an impressive history of stable sponsorship for the London Marathon. The current sponsors, Virgin Money, have been in the seat for 5 years. Their predecessor, Flora, for an impressive 14 years.
London Marathon sponsors by year
- 1981 – 1983 Gillette
- 1984 – 1988 Mars
- 1989 – 1992 ADT
- 1993 – 1995 NutraSweet
- 1996 – 2009 Flora
- 2010 – 2014 Virgin
It is fascinating to see how the money invested from the headline sponsors has increased. 1981 was £75,000 for Gillette. Today Virgin Money are spending over £3m per year.
But the really valuable brand benefit for Virgin Media is the countless images and videos of individual runners that are taken every year. These are shared on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and treasured by people for years.
The sponsorship is essential for the event but it is also a sound investment for the sponsoring brand.