To promote healthier environments for kids at sport, the ACT Government has launched the Gamechangers initiative as part of its Healthier Choices Canberra program.
We all do what we can to protect the children in our lives, but there’s one way children are being targeted on a daily basis we tend to forget about: marketing.
One of the big ways marketing reaches children? Through sports sponsorship. Sport, in general, is a big part of our culture, with the potential to influence hundreds of thousands of kids. In Canberra alone, more than 50,000 children play organized sport outside of school, so this makes junior players an attractive target market. Unfortunately, companies that promote junk food to children invest heavily in this space. They recognize the value of a captive audience to promote their brand and associated products to.
The influence that this type of marketing has on the consumption of unhealthy food and drinks by children is of such significant concern that in 2010, the World Health Organization developed guidelines aimed at reducing the impact on children of junk food marketing. In Australia, more than 1.25 million children are involved in sports programs and potentially exposed to marketing messages by junk food companies.
To promote healthier environments for kids at sport, the ACT Government has launched the Gamechangers initiative as part of its Healthier Choices Canberra program. Gamechangers will work closely with both sporting clubs and Canberra businesses to increase healthier sponsorship opportunities for junior sports.
Gamechangers builds the capacity of local junior sports clubs to build positive sponsorship relationships with businesses that share their values for supporting healthy kids. It engages eligible businesses and connects them with sponsorship-ready sports clubs. As a participating business, you can increase your visibility in the community and support our smallest stars to become your biggest opportunity.
Graham Catt, CEO of the Canberra Business Chamber, is hoping to see plenty of Canberra businesses sign up to be part of Gamechangers. “We are hoping to see businesses get involved with sporting clubs in a way where they can provide support, not just money but passion and energy, finding ways to help the sport club prosper, help those kids out on the field really enjoy their sport and the benefits of being part of a sporting program. It can be a win-win for everyone. “
One of the first local businesses to come on board is mobile and web development company Tiparra – this local business may not be a household name but you’ve probably used one of their creations, like the Check In CBR app.
Most of their marketing in the past has been through traditional advertising on digital channels, but CEO James Hodge said they started looking into sponsorship opportunities over the last year, taking on a game day sponsorship package with the Brumbies.
“We’ve seen from our Brumbies arrangement that when we put in for a tender, or when we’re talking to somebody, the fact that they’ve heard of us at the rugby or that they’ve seen our ads online, it just gives some credibility to what we’re doing. “
While sponsoring a professional sporting team may be out of scope for many, the community sponsorship pathway through a program like Gamechangers offers a variety of options which are achievable for businesses of any size.
Having grown up in Canberra playing plenty of junior rugby union, and now with two daughters involved in junior sport themselves through calisthenics, James started considering junior sport sponsorship as another advertising avenue. He saw time and again how the calisthenics club would rely on selling chocolates or running a sausage sizzle for fundraising – and thought there had to be a better way to support them.
“Being in business particularly, time is something you don’t necessarily have a lot of, but sometimes you can contribute in other ways,” he says.
Through the Gamechangers initiative, eligible businesses like Tiparra are given a profile of clubs that are sponsorship ready, and then it’s up to them to decide on who is the right fit. The details of the sponsorship relationship is up to the business and the junior sports club to develop together.
“For us, it’s about getting our name out in the community in a positive way. It can certainly never hurt for your company name to be positively associated with a sporting team, ”James says.
“There are kids that are playing sport now, and the parents may end up being your clients or know someone who’s going to be your client, or someone who might lead to a potential opportunity. And we could also be exposing our company name to a new generation of potential clients, but also a market that we might never otherwise reach. And if you’re not out there, being in the right place, then you’ll never capture that. “
Is your business ready to be a Gamechanger? Sign up to offer your support at health.act.gov.au/gamechangers