Seven weeks after becoming the youngest and fastest female team ever to have completed the gruelling Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge, rowing over 3000 miles from Spain to the Carribean in a 28ft rowing boat, Row Like A Girl’s Olivia Bolesworth (graphic Designer at Brandwave) reflects on the importance of working with sponsors, and the support the team received from Brandwave.
Since returning home the enormity of the challenge the four of us undertook is finally starting to sink in. So much time was spent in the build up to the row imagining how life would be at sea; colourfully embellishing stories to convince sponsors that they were making the right decision to ‘jump on board’ with the campaign. Nine months of intense preparations and training made the 6 weeks at sea seem comparatively short.
A word of warning to anyone who wishes to compete in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge: unless you happen to have a spare £100,000 to throw at a recreational expedition, it’s likely that some sort of sponsorship is needed to get to the start line. Contrary to the belief held by some, the substantial costs involved in mounting our expedition were not covered by a family trust fund or a mini personal fortune… After having calculated the unavoidable costs of boat, equipment, courses, travel, food, insurance, kit etc, it was clear that realising this dream was far beyond anything we could fund solely or even with our combined salaries.
Whilst contemplating whether to postpone our race entry until the following year due to the hefty cost implications, Brandwave suggested a meeting to discuss how we could raise awareness of our campaign and secure some much-needed sponsors. The positive results of the consultation session were undeniable. It was only when we sat down with the Brandwave team that we were able to realise our core team values and identify the brands who fit best with our campaign ethos.
With Brandwave ‘onboard’ to assist with our strategy, we set about creating a strong promotional portfolio consisting of branding, presentations, video, website, stationary and brochure that articulated our ethos by packaging the philosophy of our ‘Why’. The meetings were held and the video was filmed at Brandwave HQ in Sussex.
It was Codestone who became our first official sponsor, working with us as our key technology partner, covering the costs of all comms devices, laptop, sat phones, fuel cell and RedBox. The bow of the boat, wrapped in bright eye-catching green, looked fantastic and I am so pleased that we were able to deliver such a high level of exposure for Codestone, as their financial and technological support was crucial.
Another brand who’s support was secured through our collaboration with Brandwave was Zhik, who became our technical clothing sponsor and provided us with the all weather kit that enabled us to have a comfortable crossing, even in the most challenging conditions.
Spinlock supplied us with 4 RLAG-branded lifejackets for those rougher days on the water. Goal Zero provided a portable solar panel, a wind-up rechargeable torch and last (but certainly not least) a mini portable speaker, allowing us to blast out the tunes as we arrived in Antigua. Waterproof bags and cases came from Overboard to help keep all our kit dry.
Through Brandwave we were also able to obtain support from our nutrition partner PhD Women, Shore Watersports, Zoggs, Skullcandy and Prosport Suncream.
Funked Up Fixies and Glidesoul provided us with superb prizes to auction off at our charity fundraising farewell party, raising oodles for our charity Plan UK.
Not only did Brandwave support us through the delivery of our creative, consultation and access to their client base, we were invited as a team and mentioned at the sports networking event NetworkB, where many CEO’s, sports marketing managers and athletes were congregated in one room. A RLAG flyer was included in the NetworkB pack for each attendee to take home.
In short, our partnership with Brandwave enabled us to make enormous leaps and bounds towards the start line of the race. It was not just their marketing wisdom and creative direction that made the campaign so successful in such a short amount of time, they also generated masses of exposure and raised the profile of our expedition through their own marketing collateral and events (giving up their own time including weekends to assist the cause).