TV Sponsorship Case Study

Sponsorship 3D is a landmark media research study for ITV conducted by Colourtext that's discovered new insights into the effectiveness of TV Sponsorship

ITV Sponsorship 3D: Advertising Research Case Study

TL:DR - ITV, the UK’s leading commercial TV company, has been at the forefront of research into the impact of TV sponsorship campaigns. Sponsorship 3D, the 2022 media research meta-analysis conducted by ITV in partnership with Colourtext, set out to discover new insights into the effectiveness of ITV Sponsorships, including the campaign strategy and creative attributes critical to success.



In 2018 ITV, the UK's leading commercial TV broadcaster, launched a media research project called 'Sponsorship 982' that showcased the power of ITV Sponsorships to drive significant uplifts in audience reach, brand consideration and category share of voice.

In 2022 ITV embarked on a follow-up initiative called 'Sponsorship 3D' that aimed to build upon the findings of the 2018 study and extend our understanding of the effectiveness of ITV sponsorship campaigns. Partnering with Colourtext, the widely respected experts in advertising research and media data analysis, ITV's 'Sponsorship 3D' media research project has uncovered valuable new insights about the factors that underpin successful ITV sponsorship campaigns. This includes three, previously opaque, dimensions critical to the success of TV sponsorships - Brand Fit, Brand Likeability, and New Brand News.

Sponsorship 3D represents an extensive meta-analysis of 11 years of ITV sponsorship research studies that spanned 477 individual campaign effectiveness studies and 200,000 consumer research interviews. This ground-breaking study has revealed new knowledge that is actively shaping the future of ITV sponsorship strategies for brands across a wide range of product categories.



The methodology for this study was rigorous and comprehensive, drawing upon a vast dataset (collected by research agency Savanta) and utilising advanced statistical techniques such as data segmentation and regression analysis. The research process required several steps to ensure accuracy, reliability, and actionable insights that brand marketers can trust:

  • Aligning the huge quantities of data from 477 individual research studies conducted over an 11-year period was a formidable task, requiring meticulous attention to detail. We had to clean and standardise this huge, long term dataset to ensure consistency and accuracy.
  • A holistic view of campaign effectiveness was obtained by examining 130 individual campaign metrics, including brand awareness, creative cut-through and brand synergy with TV content.
  • Data segmentation and regression analysis was conducted to identify the key variables influencing positive campaign outcomes. This analysis explored upstream factors such as creative attributes to reveal their true impact on sponsorship success.
  • ITV Sponsorship Influence Mapping – we used network topology analysis to explore the intricate network of relationships and influences within an ITV sponsorship campaign. This was visually mapped to provide a comprehensive understanding of the content, brand attribute and creative dynamics at play.



Key Findings

The statistical analysis conducted by Colourtext uncovered three, previously opaque, dimensions critical to the success of ITV sponsorships:

  1. Brand Fit
  2. Brand Likeability
  3. New Brand news

To appreciate the importance of these dimensions it's useful to consider the importance of Brand Consideration, a vital factor in driving base sales growth. Thinkbox's 2018 report 'Profit Ability', produced in partnership with Gain Theory, emphasised the close link between brand consideration and base sales growth. The closer a brand is to a consumer's consideration set, the higher the likelihood of it being chosen for a purchase.

Colourtext's analysis revealed that ITV Sponsorships drive significant uplifts in brand consideration. Non-viewers exhibited an average brand consideration rate of 48%, while viewers showed a notable uplift to 55%, representing a 15% uplift-rate. These findings reiterate the effectiveness of ITV sponsorships in capturing viewers' attention and positioning brands within their consideration set.

Further regression analysis highlighted a strong correlation between Brand Consideration and Purchase Intent, with movements in consideration scores explaining 50% of the variance in purchase intent (R^2 value of 0.5). For every 1% increase in brand consideration, ITV Sponsorship brands could expect a 0.5% to 0.8% uplift in purchase intent. These findings emphasise the direct impact of brand consideration on consumer choice and the effectiveness of ITV sponsorships in driving purchase intent. Let's look in detail at the 3 key dimensions of ITV sponsorship that drive significant uplifts in brand consideration.


Dimension 1: Brand Fit

Sponsorships seek to establish a strategic alignment between a TV show and an advertiser’s brand. When successful, such alignments achieve a degree of brand fit, or congruence, that is both close and appropriate. Sponsorships with good ‘brand fit’ feel natural and obvious to viewers. This serves to establish a brand in the viewer’s memory and confirm what they already know and like about a brand.

Our regression analysis indicated a significant relationship between uplifts in brand fit and brand consideration, accounting for 60% of the variance in the uplift rate. For every 1% point increase in brand fit, a 1.6% to 4% uplift in brand consideration was observed. The study identified five key creative attributes that influence brand fit in sponsorship campaigns:

  • Ad Creative Alignment: Reflecting other advertising by the brand, ensuring consistency and coherence in messaging.
  • Enjoyability: The extent to which viewers enjoyed watching the creative executions, fostering positive associations with the brand.
  • Relatability: The perception that the sponsorship is intended for people like the viewers, establishing a connection and resonance.
  • Narrative Impact: The impact added by voiceover or storytelling elements, enhancing engagement and capturing viewers' attention.
  • Variety: The degree to which the creative executions change over time, preventing monotony and keeping viewers interested.


Dimension 2: Brand Likeability

Focusing on Likeability is a good creative strategy for any sponsorship campaign. Brands that sponsor a viewer's favourite programme benefit from positive emotional associations generated by the programme being transferred or passed onto the sponsor brand via association. Numerous studies have found that likeability is a strong predictor of positive business outcomes. It was great to see firm evidence emerge from the Sponsorship 3D that ITV Sponsorship campaigns drive significant uplifts in this crucial metric.

Our regression analysis found that ITV Sponsorship campaigns that generate uplifts in Brand Likeability subsequently lead to growth in Brand Consideration. The modelling demonstrated that 60% of variance in Brand Consideration can be explained by movements in Brand Likeability - this translated into a 1.1% to 1.5% uplift in Brand Consideration for each 1% point rise in Brand Likeability. The study found that Brand Likeability is influenced by 6 key creative sponsorship campaign attributes:

  • Ad Creative Alignment - ‘It reflects other advertising by the brand’
  • Enjoyability - ‘I enjoyed watching it’
  • Relatability - ‘It's for people like me’
  • Narrative Impact - ‘The voiceover added impact’
  • Variety - ‘The creative changed enough’
  • Look and Feel - ‘It's look and feel goes well with the programme’


Dimension 3: The significance of New Brand News

Colourtext’s analysis and regression modelling found that uplifts in New Brand News delivered by ITV sponsorship campaigns led to significant uplifts in Brand Curiosity. This suggests new brand innovations and variants increase brand saliency by presenting an opportunity to say ‘hi’ again and compound or extend existing brand memory structures.

A high new-news score for an ITV sponsorship campaign was found to have a strong relationship with increased levels of brand curiosity. Our regression analysis shows that movement in the 'Told me something new' metric accounted for 80% of variance in levels of viewer willingness to find out more about a brand. For each 1%-point increase in the 'New Brand News' score we saw a 0.9% - 1% uplift in Brand Curiosity.

However, the analysis revealed a subtle caveat to this finding. The impact of 'New Brand News' needs to be underpinned by consistent brand creative elements.  We found that sponsorships rated highly for delivering new news also exhibited strong scores for reflecting familiar creative branding elements and brand tropes. How do we explain this?

This finding suggests that reinforcement of established brand memory structures by a sponsorship campaign appears to provide not only a fresh reminder of brand salience and association but also a comparative context for the delivery of new brand information. This strongly echoes the 'mental availability' findings from scientific research undertaken by Byron Sharp et al, where effective advertising is found to remind people about a brand's existence and consolidate existing brand memory structures.



Sponsorship 3D is a landmark media research project for three reasons. Firstly, the project demonstrates excellence and innovation in complex data aggregation and the application of advanced statistical analysis techniques. The extensive scope of the study, encompassing 11 years of sponsorship research, 477 individual campaign effectiveness studies and 200,000 consumer research interviews, is unique in its scale. Sponsorship 3D provides a deep, rigorous and holistic view of ITV Sponsorship campaigns and their impact on brand consideration and purchase intent.

Secondly, the study advances our collective understanding of the role played by ITV Sponsorships and their contribution to brand growth, particularly as an effective medium for reaching target audiences and driving positive outcomes. By uncovering both the brand attribute and creative dimensions critical to sponsorship success, the research offers new insights into how brands can optimise sponsorship campaigns and maximise ROI.

Finally, Sponsorship 3D is already influencing sponsorship strategies and enhancing the effectiveness of campaigns. The findings have been presented to 40+ media and ad agencies to date, and have helped to drive and maintain sponsorship revenues at ITV in 2023. The insights are actionable, repeatable, and have the power to drive real brand growth. As a final word, here's what Bruce McGowan, Head of Content Partnerships at Publicis Media Content, had to say:

"Sponsorship 3D combines innovative techniques, using a robust methodology to prove the value of ITV Sponsorships in enhancing creative and brand measures. The study provides compelling evidence for the effectiveness of ITV Sponsorships as well as unearthing insight around how and why they work for advertisers."

Mark Uttley
Group Strategy Director, AKQA, San Francisco, US

"Colourtext always take a fresh approach to discovering hidden patterns in data. Whether you want to conduct segmentation or mine your CRM for deep insights, they will help you see your customers , and what they are seeing , in new ways."

Joaquim Bretcha
International Director of Netquest and President of ESOMAR, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

"Colourtext and Netquest have partnered on different occasions to showcase the power of the digital behavioural data extracted from Netquest’s consumer panel. Colourtext has not only the expertise of dealing with big datasets but also has brilliant creativity to make the most sense out of them. Working with Colourtext is a rich, agreeable and easy going experience"

Mark Barber MBE
Planning Director, RadioCentre, London, UK

"More than a decade of success for Radiog auge across the world is a testament to Colourtext’s experience and perseverance. There are many obstacles to creating a global currency for measuring radio advertising effectiveness - Colourtext has managed to tackle all of them."

"It’s rare to find research companies that really understand the unique radio / listener relationship and what makes radio advertising work. With experience of researching the medium on both sides of the fence, Colourtext is one of those rare companies."

Simone Lawrence
Director of Insights, Canadian Broadcast Sales, Toronto, Canada

Colourtext has an agile approach to research that ensures a successful outcome to every challenge CBS gives them. The depth of experience and understanding the Colourtext team brings to each study demonstrates their value in the audio space. We have a very positive nine year working relationship behind us that has created significant value for CBS and our clients. We remain committed to working with Colourtext in the coming years.

Jon Puleston
Vice President of Innovation, Kantar Profiles, London, UK

It's rare to find a partner with the mix of analytical, technological and creative skills offered by Colourtext. Jason and his team seem to roam around freely in data, find the stories that matter and bring a distinctive aesthetic vision to the presentation of information.