By Liam Gaskin

One would imagine after 22 years of sponsoring the same event, you couldn’t wait to exit. But when AIB reviewed their Club Championship sponsorship and realised how powerful it was a decision was made ramp up their support. The Club Championships has the ability to touch the hearts and minds of every member of over 2,500 GAA clubs in the country. No other sport in Ireland has such a reach and even if they did, could not compete with the passion associated with this club event.
In 2009 AIB extended its sponsorship of the GAA Club Championships to include Junior and Intermediate GAA clubs and over the years they took ownership, not only of football and hurling, but of Camogie also. They included the All-Ireland Camogie club championship finals as part of the sponsorship for the first time during the 2012/2013 season and have since extended their sponsorship of the Camogie Club Championships to include Junior, Intermediate and Senior level until 2017.
This year AIB took a new and very different direction with the sponsorship , their goal was to ignite and fuel fans’ passion about the Club Championships and inspire them to see the Championships as something enthralling, magnetic and distinctive. The new campaign focused on the toughness of the competition on so many levels – mentally and physically – and the challenge facing the players in achieving coveted provincial and All Ireland success with their club. Research indicated to AIB that winning a Club Championship is arguably more desirable and difficult to achieve than any other GAA or Irish Sport competition. So to highlight this fact and demonstrate the importance of the competition to individual players, three hugely successful and notable players; Colm Cooper, Brendan Cummins and Katrina Parrock representing each of the codes, were profiled to reflect their struggles or lack of success in attaining the one medal they desire most.
The campaign featured Colm Cooper and Brendan Cummins in 30 second TV ads, 6 and 48 sheet outdoor and digital activation on AIB GAA Facebook pages, Twitter and YouTube. They used very clever hidden camera footage to demonstrate how powerful is  the Club Championships. Check it out at:

They also recruited additional players such as Mossy Quinn and Shane Dowling for media profiling in advance of provincial final matches and stages beyond. This gave the Media editorial fuel to talk about the importance of the Club Championships and the desire for great players to win.
Locally they involved their staff and network by presenting 208 ‘Training Kit Packs’ for county winners at Junior, Intermediate and Senior levels across Football, Hurling and Camogie in relevant local branches. This gave staff not only an opportunity to buy into and support the sponsorship in a tangible way but brought them into meaningful contact with their local communities.
So did the rejuvenation of the sponsorship work. Did it ignite greater interest in the competitions? Well official attendance for the Football and Hurling finals in 2014 was 31,472 which was the highest attendance since 2010 and up 9% from last year. Facebook AIB GAA was up 178%, Twitter @AIB_GAA grew by 294% and Youtube video content attracted views in excess of 300k. Which all proves what my father use to say  “many a fine tune is played on an auld Fiddle “
AIB recognised that just because they had a sponsorship that was 22 years old did not make it outdated or irrelevant and if you are the sponsor of a piece of History and Heritage you have a unique property coupled with a brand association that money can’t buy.

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