Knowledge Centre Blog

An Evolving Sponsorship Relationship

Jameson Dublin International Film Festival

Jameson and The Dublin Film Festival celebrate the tenth anniversary of their association in 2012, and a relationship that has seen the audience for the event grow to over 41,000 each year. By Linda Daly

Joanne O’Hagan, CEO, Jameson Dublin International Film Festival, says the relationship with Jameson has been second to none.

“Without their support of both the festival and film in general we couldn’t be the festival we are. I’d even question if we could exist.”

She puts the success of the affiliation down to the commitment to continuously build the relationship, and says as the business environment changes arts organisations must understand the evolving requirements of the sponsor and vice versa.

“It’s about having a really good communication channel between the sponsor and arts organisation. Things are never perfect for the first year or two but you must have open dialogue, honesty and a willingness to examine and assess each other’s needs in detail in an effort to improve things moving forward.”

Jane Chmara, marketing manager, Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard says the relationship has grown in line with the expansion of the festival.

“We believe it’s a fantastic festival and confirmed that belief last year when we signed a new three year contract, which takes us up to 2015 as title sponsors. We’re really excited about it,” she says.

From a marketing perspective, the festival is the right fit, according to Chmara.

“Any sponsorship arrangement must be a good fit with the brand. Film is core to Jameson’s DNA and it’s something we embrace globally as a brand. We’re involved in a number of projects including the Jameson First Shot – Short Film Competition with Kevin Spacey and the Empire Awards in London.”

Chmara says there is a “fantastic synergy” between Jameson and the Dublin International Film Festival, as the people in both organisations share a strong passion for the event. Both parties meet once a month to discuss the programme.

“We regularly assess how successful the partnership is and what we could do differently. We try to keep the relationship fresh, and make sure we have good, open and honest relationships between key members. The fact that we have similar goals has really helped,” says Chmara.

It’s not only the relationship between sponsor and arts organisation that continues to progress; the festival itself continuously innovates. This year saw the introduction of a new brand identity, enhanced through a 360 degree national advertising campaign across mixed media.

“We’ve hit great heights in terms of the profile of the festival and continue to attract prolific international guests as well as some really interesting playwrights,” says O’Hagan.

“For us it’s not always about the red carpet, it’s red carpet meets art house,” she adds.

Along with the marketing benefits achieved through its sponsorship of the festival, Jameson and Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard also see it as forming part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy.

Over the past four years, the festival has taken a strong community and outreach focus. In 2012 it ran a programme called Picture House, which brought the festival to 10 care centres around Dublin, and had Brenda Fricker as patron. Five care centres have developed permanent film clubs as a result.

In 2011, the festival was brought out into the streets of the capital with scenes from Some Like it Hot and West Side Story staged in the open air.  Two years prior to that in 2009, public screenings were held of iconic films in the locations they were shot.

“Art and culture are very much an important part of our society,” says Chmara.

“Irish people love going to the cinema, and the fact that the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival has become such a success not just in Ireland but internationally is indicative of its strength,” she adds.

Jameson and the Dublin International Film Festival won the award for Best Large Sponsorship at the 2012 Allianz Business to Arts Awards.

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