Which sponsor of the Melbourne Cup won in the Buzz Stakes? Actually – none of them. The buzz was won by an outsider – Sarah Jessica Parker. When brands pay out big for sponsorship, they don’t like to be hijacked, although in this case it was done in the nicest possible way. When SJP decided to launch her new film in Melbourne during the Spring Racing carnival she should have spoken to the big brands who were Melbourne Cup sponsors. If they were smart, she would have found some extra sponsor dollars to make her trip even more worthwhile. In terms of the official sponsors activating their brands none did as well as Sarah Jessica on the day.

Melbourne Cup Sarah Jessica Parker Wordcloud

Well… that’s not quite true. SJP won in the Twitter stakes but overall it’s clear that Emirates made the running and that their sponsorship of the Cup brought them unrivalled coverage. The chart below shows Twitter popularity, within Australia, during the period. Mentions of just “Emirates” alone dominated everything except the Kardashian divorce.

There was a different story when “Emirates” was mentioned in association with “Melbourne Cup”. In that context it didn’t top the charts, losing out to Kardashian, “fashion” and even “Crown” on Oaks Day. Crown appears to have done remarkably well, although the analysis of what truly belongs to Crown the sponsor and not more general usage would require more work. In this analysis we have attempted to eliminate the most common “wrong associations” with “crown” but it is not perfect. (The chart includes “Coles”, mentioned in conjunction with “Melbourne Cup”, just as a normalising observation. It didn’t count highly which must please the sponsors.)

Melbourne Cup Sponsors Twitter Sarah Jessica Parker

Across all sources – blogs, news, forums and Twitter the Kardashian Effect dominated. It turned out that Kardashian + Melbourne Cup was a brand association which was beyond challenge by the official sponsors, as can be seen below.

Melbourne Cup Kardashian News All Sources Popularity

But let’s get back to the main story. Sarah Jessica Parker If we look at the share of voice in Twitter – in association with “Melbourne Cup” – then SJP came out ahead on the leader board over the period. Crown and Emirates were a tie, thanks to a strong Oaks Day performance by Crown, and surprisingly AAMI (sponsoring Derby Day) beat Myer overall in tweets. Of our local celebs Jennifer Hawkins ran at the rear of the field.

Melbourne Cup Sponsors Versus Stars on Twitter

Over 14 days we can see that Sarah Jessica obliterated the other celebrities in Twitter, going through the roof with her movie launch timed to take advantage of the Melbourne Cup carnival. Kardishian made a move from behind, but couldn’t hold the run, and the rest of the celebs settled at the back of the field.

Melbourne Cup Celebrities Sarah Jessica Parker Twitter

SJP also dominated the Share of Voice in Twitter, and proved her staying power in the limelight.

Melbourne Cup Celebrities Share of Voice Twitter

However among the celebs there was a surprise result – a dark horse. When the analysis looked at other media – blogs, news, forums – local footballer Harry Kewell made a late strike and scored a winning goal over all the international celebrities. Remember, this is specifically when his name was mentioned in association with the Melbourne Cup. The difference in ranking between Twitter and the total coverage is quite surprising.

Jennifer Hawkins takes a leap up, as does Nicoletta Romanoff.

This means that when it comes to activating brands during such events the brand sponsors and owners need to understand which channels are effective with which audiences and for what purpose.

Melbourne Cup Celebrities Blogs News Forums Ranking

For example in News, Harry Kewell took an early lead, surrender it to Dita Von Teese, was briefly overrun by Jennifer Hawkins, and then pushed through the pack and took the lead all the way to the post, almost, where he was pipped by Kardashian.

Melbourne Cup Celebrities News PopularityConclusion

Expensive sponsorships need careful brand activation before, during, and after the sponsored events. The sheer power of personalities, and where they interact, is obvious from this analysis.

What’s not so obvious is whether the brands made the most use of their associations and the locations in the social web where their brand personalities play to most advantage.

Do you remember with which brand or sponsor Harry Kewell was associated, and if none why not?

Did Crown make the most of SJPs twitter dominance in attracting her to Oaks Day – or who did actually attract her to Oaks Day?

Walter @adamson