ANZ adds to its high-profile sponsorship medal haul with three-year OIympics deal

The cover story in the latest NZ Marketing discusses ANZ Group’s mission to win the hearts and minds of New Zealanders and mitigate the effects of inevitably sending the well-liked National Bank brand to the glue factory. It’s one mother of a marketing challenge. And the financial vultures are circling. But ANZ, a brand that’s long been at or near the bottom on the customer service/satisfaction league tables when compared to its competitors, is doing everything in its power to better connect with Kiwis by spending up large on above the line advertising, dropping rates, supporting communities, raising funds and snapping up a host of high-profile sponsorships. And it’s added another big one to the list by announcing a three-year deal with the New Zealand Olympic Committee.

The deal was announced at an event in at the Hilton in Auckland this week, and the surprise fireworks display it put on over the harbour to celebrate led to much Twitter speculation about who was behind it. As per, ANZ isn’t saying how much it cost to have its name on the NZOC’s tin. But it did say that it will be bringing the spirit of the Olympics to towns throughout the country by sending a bright blue, London double-decker bus replete with sponsored athletes and former gold medallists Hamish Carter and Sarah Ulmer.

“After welcoming the world to New Zealand for Rugby World Cup 2011, ANZ is now taking New Zealand’s best to the world for the London 2012 Olympic Games,” ANZ chief executive officer David Hisco says. “… “As a company that’s been in New Zealand for about 170 years, everyone at ANZ is enormously proud to help our athletes compete for Olympic gold. The sponsorship will highlight the NZ in ANZ.”

ANZ has also begun its search for New Zealand’s flag envoy, a boy or girl who will travel to London with their parents and present the flag to the Governor-General and the New Zealand athlete who will carry the flag at the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics (nominations can be made at www.anz.co.nz/FlagEnvoy).

The three-year sponsorship will also cover the 2013 Australian Youth Olympic Festival, 2014 Commonwealth games, 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games and the 2014 Youth Olympic Games.

In addition to sponsoring the NZOC for the London 2012 Olympic Games, ANZ will be sponsoring rowers Hamish Bond, Eric Murray and Emma Twigg, as well as cyclist Natasha Hansen.  ANZ will also sponsor swimmers Rebecca Dubber and Cameron Leslie to the 2012 Paralympic Games and through the SportConnect foundation, will also be supporting cyclist Sam Webster.

ANZ has also been heavily promoting its naming rights sponsorship of the Trans-Tasman Netball Championship with a big outdoor campaign (there are also a lot of grassroots funding schemes on offer). And it’s also taken over from National Bank as a major sponsor of Fieldays, New Zealand Cricket and One News.

Last year, ANZ Group increased its spending on the ANZ brand by 54 percent to $30 million, while National Bank spent $4, down from $17 million in 2010. The Nielsen AIS figures also include sponsorship costs.

As for the the rates battle, ANZ National recently dropped the one-year fixed mortgage interest rate to 5.25 percent, its lowest point in 17 years. And as far as community support goes, it has doubled its $500 million worth of discounted mortgage lending to Christchurch residents (those building or rebuilding a property in Christchurch can get a one-year fixed home loan rate at 4.55 percent). It is also offering $1 billion in discounted mortgage lending to help those from the younger generation onto farms. So it’s certainly got all the bases covered. And it helps that the bank reported a $684 million profit for the half year ended 31 March 2012, an increase of seven percent on the preceding half.

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