BANK OF SCOTLAND MIDNIGHT LEAGUE - WINNER OF THE GRASS ROOTS SPORTS SPONSORSHIP CATEGORY 2015

SPONSORSHIP: Bank of Scotland Sponsorship of Midnight League

CLIENT INVOLVED:  Bank of Scotland

AGENCY INVOLVED: Material_UK

BACKGROUND

Since its inception in 2003 Bank of Scotland Midnight League has gone from strength to strength and from a starting point of 3 leagues now operates in all of Scotland’s 32 local authorities, across over 80 venues and delivers around 5,000 hours of free football each year working in close collaboration with community stakeholders including the local Police.

2014 marked the 11th year of the Bank of Scotland Midnight League, a 5-a-side community football programme aimed at improving the lifestyles of young people and the communities in which they live.  This long standing partnership between the Bank and the Scottish Football Association shares a common objective of achieving this aim through empowering and engaging young people.

A key piece of activity in the Bank’s community engagement programme, the initiative provides young people with regular access to football in areas where social deprivation is at its highest and does so at a time when social disturbance is at its most prevalent. As a result, the initiative has supported falling levels of anti-social behavior and crime during these times in these locations.

OBJECTIVES

  • To ensure young people engagement and participation numbers remain consistently above 7,000.

  • To raise the profile of the Bank of Scotland Midnight League; its players, coaches and community outcomes through strategic media partnerships, increasing the number of branded articles from 33 in 2013 to 50 in 2014.
  • To raise the profile of the Bank and its work in the communities in which it operates amongst key opinion formers (media, politicians and the residents of the communities in which they do business. This was to be achieved through: 
    • ATL & Social Media campaign that delivers greater brand perception 
  • Driving awareness of the social impact of the partnership 

EXECUTION & EXPLOITATION

The activation of Bank of Scotland Midnight League is delivered by the Bank’s agency Material_UK. The agency work in close collaboration with the Bank’s in house sponsorship team and the key partner organisations. 

Brand Awareness

  • Bank of Scotland provides support to the Midnight League by supporting:

  • over 80 Midnight League venues in locations across Scotland (each provided with branded kit and jackets for coaches, the staging of 3 regional showcase finals including press events to maximise participant experience, PR profile and brand awareness)

  • Current and ex professional footballers to coach and advise participants on improving their skills and achieving their aspirations in the game 

  • Research and evaluation - University of Stirling commission to carry out a survey of the Midnight leagues, giving its participants a voice to share feedback, learning and outcomes from the programme

  • Stadium branding deployed at 3 regional finals and showcase events.

  • In 2014 the programme formed a key part of the ATL marketing activity for the Bank of Scotland brand. Using players from the leagues, iconic imagery was shot and used in press and across outdoor sites using straplines such as ‘One Little Game, One Massive Difference’ The league where kids arrive 4ft tall and leave 10ft high’. The young people involved were chosen from Midnight League sessions across several communities.

  • Bank of Scotland commissioned two emotive short films in July achieving national, regional and local exposure for the programme and its legacy messaging and showcasing the commitment of the players, coaches and communities which support its delivery with over 1,000 YouTube views.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKxkJUO2jpg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ob_KUYQaMy4 

  • A year-long integrated media campaign was implemented in 2014 targeting local, regional and national press by leveraging all key Bank of Scotland supported Midnight League events. Engagement centred on press releases from each regional final and the player of the year activity; MSP visits to Midnight League sessions and individual player/coach profiling – all ensuring a regular drumbeat of press coverage throughout the year.

  • In October BoS hosted the Midnight League Player of the Year day was staged at Ibrox Community Complex, 16 young people from local communities across Scotland were selected to attend. On this occasion we recruited current Scotland & Hull City midfielder Robert Snodgrass to conduct a once in a lifetime training session with the youngsters followed by a Q&A; the perfect stage to showcase the young talent from local communities from across the country.
  • To ensure a strong media hook for each regional final and add value to participants, a high profile Ambassador was sought for each that would not only appeal to the Scottish sporting press, but also promote the importance of grass roots football. Hearts defender Brad McKay attended the East final, Inverness Assistant Manager Russell Latapy likewise in the North and Scotland and Hull City defender Andrew Robertson supported the West final.

  • Each of our ambassador’s endorsement of the Midnight League programme and its associated benefits was strategically used throughout the year to re-enforce key messages.

  • Maximising branded photo opportunities through ensuring all medal and trophy presentations fulfilled by a Bank of Scotland representative.

  • Targeted communication sent to all MSPs in Scotland including bespoke Midnight League brochures.

Colleague Engagement

  • BoS colleagues were invited to attend Midnight League sessions and take part in coaching courses throughout the season. The programme is used extensively in internal videos, and communications as a proof point of BoS’ commitment to communities. The training offered is the SFA approved ‘Early Touches’ course which assists coaches to develop their coaching technique, focus on skill development and explores the best age specific activities for developing young players.    

OUTCOME & EVALUATION

The Bank of Scotland’s partnership with the Midnight League delivered on all key objectives:

Participation

  • In 2014 the number of host venues remained high at 87 resulting in a participation level of 7,300 young people (an increase from 7,000 in 2012). Furthermore 2014 saw the number of female participants continue to grow.

  • More than 450 players competed across 3 regional finals and 16 attended the Player of the Year activity 

Awareness

  • 62 branded articles featured across Scottish press via strategic media partnerships (up from 33 in 2013)

  • 16 MSPs attended their local Midnight League sessions and regional finals (50% more than in 2013).

  • A huge coup was achieved for the programme in April with Sports Minister Shona Robison attending her local session in Dundee.

Brand Advocacy 

  • Campaign over delivered on reach with 14 million impressions with moderate to high engagement.

  • Facebook delivered a very high Click Through Rate of over 3.5% - a strong result above what the Bank tend to deliver for Facebook at approx. 1%.

Social Impact

  • The Midnight League clearly demonstrates strong community and social impacts.

  • Key outputs from 2014 University of Stirling research:

  • 91% of respondents believe the leagues are having a positive impact on their community
  • 91% of young people taking part indicate that they will continue to do so 
  • 76% of participants feel they have improved their fitness as a result of participating in ML
  • 73% of those taking part feel more confident as a result
  • 67% feel more responsible from the experience of ML

 

Having cemented its position as title sponsor of Midnight League over the last 11 years, Bank of Scotland will continue its comprehensive support of the community football programme into 2015. 

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