Evian and MEC Access have been awarded the Hollis Award for Sponsorship Continuity in recognition of their continuing partnership with The Championships.
Having won four Hollis Sponsorship Awards in its first three years, including the 2009 Hollis Sponsorship of the Year, evian's partnership with the All England Club continues to evolve as it enters its next five-year term.
In 2007, MEC ran client and cross-agency workshop sessions to identify a platform that evian could 'own' and generate a 360 degree activation strategy to bring it to life.
The key insight was that Wimbledon is as much a social occasion as a sporting event - what happens off court is just as important as what happens on it. Whilst 500,000 wear the social badge of actually being there, three-quarters of the UK population watch the event on TV. For most, it's the glamour and prestige of the event as much as the sporting excitement that appeals so strongly. Since evian is not a sports brand, instead focusing on style and glamour, we focused our campaign on 'off court at Wimbledon' to give us an own-able and differentiated positioning from other suppliers.
Impressive first year results showed the strategy was working and the message was cutting through to reinforce brand perceptions and drive sales. But the annual nature of The Championships means that there is a need to re-build awareness levels each year as well as compete with other major events including the FIFA World Cup, the UEFA European Championships and London 2012.
In 2008, the partnership broke the mould of corporate hospitality at Wimbledon with an Alpine-themed bar that became the talk of SW19. 'Celebrity Monday' in the evian suite has become a regular slot on the social calendar attracting the likes of Jude Law, Jonathan Ross, David Walliams, Johnny Lee Miller, Clive Owen, Kirsten Dunst, Grace Jones, Alexa Cheung and Michael McIntyre, and delivering unprecedented PR coverage.
In 2009, there was an evian café in the grounds of The Championships. Inspired by the hospitality suite, it gave fans a beautiful and relaxing area to enjoy off court refreshments. This led to evian becoming the second most recognized supplier amongst spectators and increased on site evian sales by 20%.
2010 saw another first - the Wimbledon logo on products. Given Highland Spring's tennis themed packaging (featuring Andy Murray and the LTA) the use of the logo, coupled with evian's first on-pack promotion for 11 years, created impact and differentiation on shelf to drive awareness of the partnership in store. In partnership with wimbledon.com, the team created and distributed a series of 15 two-minute videos bringing to life 'Off Court at Wimbledon' for those who couldn't be there in person.
In 2011 Maria Sharapova became a brand ambassador and for the first time promoted the partnership on TV to drive national awareness levels.
Given the success of the previous four years, in 2012 the partnership was renewed for a further five years with the ambition to maximize the partnership's effectiveness still further.
Rosemary Sarginson, chair of judges at the Hollis Sponsorship Awards, said: “This durable Wimbledon partnership has become a central strategic pillar for evian’s business. Those aware of the sponsorship are more likely to consider evian and prefer it to rival brands.
“evian joined forces with Wimbledon in 2008 and has established itself as a very credible partner for this iconic summer event. By associating itself with the style, glamour and passion of the event’s fan-base, it has managed to drive its brand consideration levels to new heights every year.”