Special Olympics is an organization that provides sports training and competition for people with intellectual disabilities. Since they don’t get governmental support and don’t work with membership fees, they needed to find private partners for extra sponsorships. But how to convince big companies and potential sponsors in a highly competitive environment of charity?
Athletes work hard. Every single day, they suffer and go all the way to get the best out of themselves. And that's no different for athletes with an intellectual disability.
Yet, it's never them who get the main role in big sponsorship deals.
So, we created ‘#daretosponsor’, in which we dared companies to sponsor a special athlete instead of a famous sports hero. The idea? Copying the cliches of existing sponsorship campaigns. For example: we put a picture of a special athlete on a can, like our Belgium Red Devils on a can of Coca Cola.
The idea was translated in a fully integrated approach. First of all, we’ve launched an online film, daring our primary prospects like P&G and Coca-Cola company directly to cast one of our special athletes in their next commercials. On the same day, we made sure that our Gillette print, featuring a shaving special athlete, was placed on a billboard in front of P&G’s headquarters. We also sent direct e-mails and a follow up direct mail containing a can featuring a special athlete.
Next, we broadened up the campaign to reach secondary prospects. For them, we bought – with limited budget - online banners on marketing websites and Instagram ads, and pushed our content on LinkedIn, showing banners who challenged brands to #daretosponsor.
The press loved the surprise and in collaboration with influencer athletes on social media, the campaign kicked off with huge first PR-wave, reaching out to our last target group, sport fans. Multiple companies were charmed by the challenges, some even responding with a video on social, featuring their CEO who accepted the challenge. Each new sponsor, resulted in a new PR-wave.