The Vendée Globe 2020-2021 prize giving ceremony took place on Saturday in Les Sables d’Olonne, and as such is a great opportunity for Tip & Shaft to take stock of this ninth edition, seen from the side of the skippers’ sponsors. The results can mostly be considered to be very positive, hence the desire of many to sign up for the next four years, most often with increased budgets and greater ambitions.
“Exceptional”, “very satisfying”, “enormous spinoffs”…… at this time when we take stock of the Vendée Globe, the sponsors which Tip & Shaft interviewed (almost all) rivalled each other to find new superlatives. It must be said that this ninth edition, of course this time contested in a particular context of the health crisis, broke all records, in particular audience and returns for the race.
“This Vendée Globe has been excellent from a communication point of view not just because there was less competition from other events but also because sailing, in these times of Covid, brought a welcome relief, a breath of fresh air“, summarizes Franck Vallée, head of Initiatives, one of Sam Davies’ three partners.
This has also resulted in record return for most of the sponsors: “For us, the returns show a multiplier of fivefold compared to the race four years ago,” said Adrien Peyroles, CEO of Bureau Vallée, sponsor of Louis Burton. Though he does not want to reveal the figures in question, explains the reasons for the growth: “Firstly because during the confinement, the skippers, and in particular Louis, were interviewed a lot about their life of isolation, then because the wider world is now engaged in the world of Imoca, finally because it was a really super close race. “
Such returns usually evaluated in advertising purchasing equivalent are calculated for many sponsors by specialized firms. From those who agree to communicate them there are very disparate results depending on the calculation methods, the periods taken into the account and the objectives of the study itself (just for the sponsor or the sponsor and the skipper…)
Charal, partner of Jérémie Beyou, recently said……“for the Vendée Globe itself 3.5 million euros of return in terms of equivalent purchase of ad space for the brand Charal and 12 million for Jérémie Beyou.” Frédéric Come, brand and sponsorship director of Apivia, speaks for his part of an “equivalent purchase of ad spaces close to 30 million euros“ during the Vendée Globe of Charlie Dalin. Adrien Geiger, international director of L’Occitane (Armel Tripon), estimates “the media impact of the image partnership at around 10 million euros”, Philippe Hassel, communication director of Apicil (Damien Seguin) at “about 28 million over one year”, Eric Mollard, his counterpart at internal communications for MACSF (Isabelle Joschke) allocates “7 million in all to the Vendée Globe.”
These figures are quite different to those proposed by Christophe Guyony, CEO of Maître CoQ, who were winners of the Vendée Globe with Yannick Bestaven: “We see the order of magnitude to be around 4.5 million euros, but there was so many articles at the finish that we would need to provide specific means to find all mentions in the press, which I did not do. On the other hand, we noticed that our overall awareness rate had risen by two points, and seven points for our core target market. These results are way beyond what we expected, because we did not set out to win the Vendée Globe, it is a good investment / impact ratio for Maître CoQ.” Who according to its CEO, invested around 4 million euros over the entire campaign.
CEO of Medallia Leslie Stretch added, “We’ve had a massive response. We track all the digital impressions. This event attracts many more eyeballs than all the conventional sports that people think are high value. It’s been fantastic for us. We’re the first American company to get involved since I think Duracell back in the day and Pip has been the perfect ambassador for us, so it’s a huge win.”
In Germany Boris Herrmann’s media return has been enormous in a country which did not know or follow the Vendée Globe. He has been able to expand his sponsor family to seven, adding Zurich Group AG and Hapag Lloyd to their core group of key sponsors who will underwrite Herrmann’s ambitious new boat programme to do The Ocean Race and the 2024 Vendée Globe. At Kuehne + Nagel International AG, Otto Schacht, member of the management board responsible for sea sogistics highlights, “Our partnership is based on our common core message around ocean health, marine conservation and climate protection. And we are delighted to embark on the new five year engagement including The Ocean Race 2022/23 and the Vendée Globe 2024/25. The partnership will continue to focus on ocean science and education as well as joint key actions to enable CO2 visibility and CO2 reduction.”
CEO of Best Western France, co-partner of Romain Attanasio, Olivier Cohn relays, for his part “a very important multiple, beyond what we expected”, but also “a very positive qualitative assessment on the impact on our wider network: it gave a strong motivation to our teams and our managers, there is a real element of the employer satisfaction and motivation to take into account. “
increased the brand value “
Alexandre Fayeulle, boss of Advens, the partner of Thomas Ruyant – with an annual investment of “2.5 to 3 million euros without counting the boat” -, also highlights this qualitative aspect: “Our project has a double impact, both societal and communication. Regarding the first, the results are quite exceptional, since the recognition and knowledge of LinkedOut has made a huge leap, which enabled more than 200 companies to be get involved in inclusion and employment of more than 50 people. And from an economic point of view, despite the fact that we offered the naming to LinkedOut, we had a big boom in terms of profile because we were so often cited as a textbook case in the field of sports sponsorship. It has greatly enhanced the brand, it has also enabled us to elevate our status in the market with major accounts, but also to have a huge outreach at the level of the employer appeal to attract new talent and retain talent. “
When asked if their investment had a direct impact on their business’ turnover, some of our respondents are convinced: “The Bureau Vallée network has grown by 20% this year, it is difficult to quantify the contribution of the Vendée Globe, but it obviously helped, “said Adrien Peyroles. “In one year, we have increased our customer base by 20%, that is not just linked to sailing, but it has played a certain role in this commercial dynamic“, adds Frédéric Côme.
The positive image conveyed by sailing sponsorship made Eric Sétin, CEO of the group of the same name, which invested 700,000 euros in Manu Cousin’s campaign, confirm “I am unable to measure the economic impact of the partnership. What I do know, however, is that it made it possible to open new client accounts and strengthen our ties with them.” Co-founder of V and B, co-partner of Maxime Sorel (700,000 euros of investment per year), Jean-Pierre Derouet explains: “Our franchisees in the middle or the east of France did not always understand why we put money in the sailing with the Vendée Globe but then they saw the impact of this investment because their customers came to see them and told them that they had seen V and B on TV. “
This was not so much the the case with Arkéa Paprec as Sébastien Simon’s Vendée Globe stopped in South Africa, putting an end to a campaign which, on the other hand, did not really meet the expectations of its partners. “We are not going to hide the fact that it was a complicated experience, punctuated by breakages and real difficulties with the project, but these difficulties helped to unite us and create conditions for the future”, explains Cédric Malengreau, director of the communication at Arkéa. Despite difficulties, the two partners have decided to come back for the next Vendée Globe, with a new boat and a team assembled from scratch, which will not include either Sébastien Simon or Vincent Riou, whose contracts will not be renewed at the end of the 2021 season.
“We were not satisfied with this collaboration. We had the feeling that we were going through the mill with these events a lot. So we want to go back but not to be in the driver’s seat. We could not identify a vision which we shared with Sébastien who wanted to manage his structure,” confirms Sébastien Petithuguenin, CEO of Paprec Group. They promise announcements at the end of the year “to a timing which is not disturbing for the team in place that has a very good chance to do well in the Transat Jacques Vabre.”
Like Arkéa and Paprec, many sponsors who were on the the 2020 edition have every intention of doing this again in 2024, with some already official announcements: this is the case of Charal with Jérémie Beyou, partners of Boris Herrmann (joined by other sponsors), from Best Western, with Romain Attanasio, accompanied by an ambitious new co-sponsor, Fortinet (see our interview with its vice-president, Patrice Perche), from Medallia with Pip Hare, from DMG Mori with Kojiro Shiraishi and d’Apicil with Damien Seguin, on the condition of finding a co-partner.
As for those we interviewed and who have not yet spoken officially, the time for decisions is approaching: V and B have summoned the the press on May 31 in Laval. To announce a new campaign and a new boat? “We want to be there, Maxime’s plan is to have a new boat, but we can’t go there alone, so we’re looking for a co-sponsor, we’re waiting for answers, it’s a matter of days” , answers Jean-Pierre Derouet of V and B.
Alexandre Fayeulle at Advens makes no secret of what will happen next: “I found this sponsorship to be a great tool, so as long as everyone is happy, we will continue. Like Thomas, I like winning, so the goal is to give yourself the means to aim as high as possible. That might be with a new boat if we judge that it will allow us to perform better than the current optimized one.”
Reflection is in full swing at Maître CoQ, as Christophe Guyony confirms: “When we come out of a victory like this we either say to ourselves that we have reached the Grail and we stop, or we do it again, knowing that in this case, your skipper does not set out to make up the numbers. Yannick has ambitions, which means changing boats, we are thinking about the things we could do if we had to set off again. Our partnership ends at the end of June, we will make the decision by then.”
Same reflection on the side of Initiatives – “We don’t want to stop here”, comments Franck Vallée – and at Apivia: “When we started, we did not necessarily imagine continuing beyond four years, but as the podiums have been achieved back to back it’s tempting to go on,” explains Frédéric Come. Charlie is looking for the win, he wants the best so that means a new boat, we understand that, we will take a position later in the year.”
At MACSF, Eric Mollard also speaks of “still thinking”, adding: “If we decide to continue, there will be no change of boat.” No change of boat either for the Sétin Group, sponsor of Manu Cousin: “We have a moral commitment with Manu that we will continue to support, we are doing a big job at Mer Agitée to optimize the boat.” At La Mie Câline, the question “is not settled”, according to David Giraudeau, who adds: “The file is one of the potential finalists for our sponsorships but what is certain is that we are not going to start building a boat now. We will make our decision in June.” As many other sponsors…
Photo : Jean-Louis Carli / Alea