Leading non-traditional agency launches sports activation division

Specialist brand activation agency, thirtyfour has announced the launch of a new satellite division, 34 Sport, this month. Grant Hillary, previously manager of Brand Activation at South African Breweries (SAB) has been appointed Managing Director.
Leading non-traditional agency launches sports activation division
Hillary's appointment comes after having spent 16 years at SAB of which the last two include his establishment of Breweries' top-level brand activation team.

thirtyfour founder and CEO, Andy Sutcliffe says Hillary's appointment has strengthened the Agency's commitment to out-of-the-box brand executions. "The creation of 34 Sport is part of our vision to establish thirtyfour as the country's best below-the-line agency. We've identified a number of gaps in the below-the-line market from digital to one-to-one communication, and from retail to experiential, where the agency can make a significant difference. 34 Sport represents the first of these and aims to bring the power of non-traditional activation to the sport sponsorship arena. Sport sponsorship represents a R5 billion rand per annum industry, which is currently seeing a year-on-year growth rate of 25%. With the lead-up to 2010 and beyond, investment in sponsorships is expected to increase and an ideal opportunity for us to redefine the category through the power of effective engagement marketing. Having worked with Grant on a number of successful Castle Lager brand campaigns, including our Rugby World Cup 'Back the Boks' promotion last year, he was the only man for the job," he says.

Grant Hillary, MD of 34 Sport.
Grant Hillary, MD of 34 Sport.
"I'm thrilled at the opportunity," says Managing Director of 34 Sport, Grant Hillary. "Having worked with Andy and the thirtyfour team on the client side, 34 Sport represents an opportunity I couldn't refuse.” Hilary's role within 34 Sport will be to grow the sports activation division via a non-traditional business model that is underpinned by research that tracks consumer engagement and quantifies sustainable sales in the short, medium and long term.

“We're set to revolutionise the way sports brands take themselves to market,” comments Hillary. “While the vast majority of the industry continues to focus on driving awareness of sponsor brands via traditional advertising mediums, the last few years have seen a consistent migration of advertising and marketing spend from traditional above-the-line media into non-traditional channels. While TV is still useful as a tool there are other vital touch points that contribute to building a brand and inspiring loyalty. Activation that delivers consumer interaction with a brand is central to the thirtyfour philosophy and similarly, 34 Sport is different because it leverages a sponsorship property to deliver sales, not just awareness, by utilising creative concepts that result in measurable consumer appeal and engagement,” he says.

The agency opens with a successful pedigree in a number of local and international sports brand activations, including a below-the-line campaign for Callaway golf balls that engaged customers at key lifestyle and activation points, establishing Callaway as “the ball that goes further” and increasing sales by 600%. According to Sutcliffe, who has 25 years of exposure to European brand activation strategies under his belt, “34 Sport will leverage the sporting emotion that lives in every South African in a way that will inspire the same emotional response from consumers about the sponsor brand as they feel about their favourite team, ensuring that the sponsorship property is integrated with key business and brand objectives. For any sponsorship to be successful one has to create a consumer experience that extends from the store to the stadium. This is achieved through an understanding of people, consumers and customers, the channels that they infiltrate, and how they make their purchasing decisions,” he concludes.

In the next 12 months thirtyfour will serve as the springboard for a number of other satellite agencies of which 34 Sport is only the beginning.

17 Sep 2008 17:56