Today sponsorship – particularly in the growing lifestyle sector – has matured into a marketing channel that allows brands to be positioned and activated with targeted audiences for extended periods of time. Nowhere in Asia is this more evident than at Koh Samui’s International Regatta that is contested every May in the tropical seas off the island’s Chaweng Beach.
Just a one-hour flight from bustling Bangkok, the regatta annually welcomes an international “fleet” of participants, spectators and sponsors, the latter who leverage the event for far reaching branding opportunities. The Four Seasons Hotel & Resorts, Centara Hotels and Resorts, Hertz and Neil Pryde are just some of the respected global brands that align themselves with this “on” and “off” water marketing opportunity.
The Sawadee.com Regatta, Samui, is an annual event that takes place on the beautiful sun-drenched island of Koh Samui from 30 May to 4 June 2011.
For the tenth consecutive year, this leading lifestyle and sporting event attracts competitive and social sailors from around the world. The five-day regatta is one of Asia’s most glamorous sailing events and is also part of the Asian Yachting Grand Prix Championships. Fabulous sailing conditions prevailed at the 2010 regatta — so much so that a round-the-island race was attempted for the first time in the event’s history.
Like many major events that attract top global brands, the regatta has evolved over the ten years that it has been staged and has grown year on year. Although centred around fierce sailing action with some of the region’s most exciting racing yachts going head-to-head, the regatta has developed into a leading lifestyle event where fashion, fine dining, music festivals, exotic parties and luxury property events, add to what has become a strategic choice for many of Asia’s marketing professionals looking for further ways to position and activate the brands that they manage.
Bangkok based British entrepreneur Callum Laing took over the helm of the regatta in 2008, with the single focus of developing it into a lifestyle event that would not only be of interest to top sailors and spectators looking for a week of top action, but that would also attract top brands from around the world. “For me, the regatta is about the experiences that we can provide to those that come to soak-up the now-famous atmosphere that happens when the regatta takes place – as well as for our partners and the ways that they activate their brands. Digital and on-line marketing opportunities allow our partners to fully maximize their sponsorship investment by benefiting from multiple marketing activities. For example, not only do many of our partners fly in guests to experience all that the regatta has to offer, but they will also create marketing campaigns that draw on film, imagery and comment from the regatta that can support the marketing of their products or service. We’ve found that the regatta is positioned just at the right level to be appealing to luxury, lifestyle, F&B, travel and entertainment partners looking for something unique and different. With many of our partners committing long-term, we know that we’ve hit on a sponsorship model that works for many organizations”.
Laing is particularly excited about some of the additions to the 2011 running of the regatta “By listening to what competitors, spectators and partners expect from the regatta, has allowed us to further develop it in directions that appeal to all audiences. Alongside the sailing action, the 2011 regatta will also include a Golf Tournament, Watch Expo, Premiership Soccer Legends Dinner, Fashion Dinner and & Super Car Show. Brands align themselves with the event as they have a solid understanding of the audiences that the regatta attracts and how they can engage with them”.