London Marathon marketing winners

London Marathon marketing winners

I wonder what the level of spontaneous recall there would be to the question, “Can you 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 is spending over £3m per year.

I think that the Virgin Money investment is good value. Look at the screen-time of the event, and the packages on the news about the race. This alone is great coverage.

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.

I am a partner at Succession Plus. We are specialists in providing proactive, focused and strategic advice for SME owners to help them manage strategic Business Succession and Exit Planning. I am enjoying a career that has embraced product and service businesses at all stages of their journey. I have worked in technology, telecoms, consumer electronics, payments, media, and publishing.

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