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Sponsorship is the way forward

13.11.2006 - 13:18

16th European Sponsorship Association (ESA) Conference - Brussels 2/3rd November 2006

The major issues facing the sponsorship industry were addressed at the annual ESA Conference, ‘Future Sponsorship’ held in Brussels last week. The opening keynote speech came from Havas Chief Executive Officer Fernando Rodés, who confirmed the increasingly important role sponsorship will play in the coming years, describing it as the way forward for marketing. “It is sponsorship’s ability to deliver marketing’s current needs – namely the interactivity and connection between the brand and consumers”, said Rodés.

One of the most eagerly awaited sessions was on Sponsorship Prohibition, looking in particular at a threat in the future to alcohol and gaming sponsorship activity across Europe. Marjolijn Vencken, Public Affairs Advisor at Heineken, described recent threats to a ban on alcohol sponsorship as an opportunity rather than a threat and outlined some of the ways in which the brand was repositioning its marketing around a responsible drinking message.

Indeed, the recurring theme throughout the two-day conference was of the ability to use expansive and creative sponsorship programmes to proactively address major issues rather than use more traditional defensive advertising.

ESA delivered an update on its evaluation programme which is working towards an evaluation model for sponsors, specifically focusing on all the benefits that sponsorship programmes deliver apart from the more obvious branding and exposure benefits.

Commenting on the 2006 ESA Conference, ESA Conference Chairman Richard Moore said: “There has never been such a buzz around the sponsorship world as there is now. To have such a ringing endorsement from the Chief Executive of Havas – a business steeped in above-the-line activity, shows just how important sponsorship has now become”.

The ESA Conference is all about education and development and the future of the sponsorship industry and this year’s event was attended by 120 delegates from 16 different countries. The Conference broke new ground in terms of its style and content and the delegates were treated to a host of new initiatives which included the T-Mobile Chat Room and a series of interactive sessions and networking opportunities.

For further information, please contact:

Helen Lamb
ESA office
+44 (0)208 390 3311 or
+44 (0) 7752 422774.