Adam Roland is the Founder and Director of Heavyweight Sports, a marketing PR agency focused on sports based in both London and Manchester.
Adam will be speaking on the panel ‘Personality Profile – How bookmakers use the ambassadorial role to reach an audience’ at Betting on Sports this month (15th-16th) alongside Stuart Tilly of Argyll Entertainment and BetonBrazil, and the boxer David Haye.
SBC: Hi Adam, can you introduce Heavyweight Sports to SBC readers, what you do and the company’s history?
Adam: Heavyweight was founded in 2006, to create multi -platform sports marketing and PR campaigns that resonate across traditional, digital and of course, social media.
We create and also help to amplify PR and marketing campaigns with sports brands and bookmakers including Sky Bet, 188Bet, Unibet, Bet Victor, Coral, Paddy Power, Betfair, Jockey Club, and Skins.
SBC: You’ve worked some memorable campaigns such as Bendtner’s Paddy Power pants and the rainbow laces one too. Which have you enjoyed the most?
Adam: We’ve been really lucky to create some truly ground-breaking work. They’ve been a lot of fun but often have helped create a wider debate not only amongst fans but also players, pundits, the wider media and also governing bodies.
Naturally I’m always pleased when our campaigns deliver for our clients, whether that’s SkyBet RoboKeeper and Perfect Penalties, or Bendtners Paddy Power Pants, but the key is, they create significant traction and consumer engagement across social, digital and traditional media.
SBC: You first got started on this career path working at talkSPORT as Head of Sponsorships and Promotions, what did you learn here and how different is the playing field now?
Adam: At talkSPORT we devised the first bookmaker deals, where bookmakers’ spokespeople could play a live role within the editorial. This was at a time when bookmakers were a restricted category so couldn’t advertise. We navigated these restrictions by creating content lead deals that saw clients contributing to and enriching the content and these deals are still very popular nearly 16 years on.
At Heavyweight, we realise the value of great ideas that are transferable to help create engaging, exciting, relevant content for our clients and their audiences- like Ruby Walsh’s Car Jump with Paddy Power and Matt Le Tissier’s Robo Keeper with Sky Bet. We are then able then to disseminate the content across multiple platforms that not only drives client brand fame but also customer acquisition and engagement.
The playing field is hugely different now; a lot more players in the market with many more opportunities across media and sport. All of these create their own exciting opportunities and of course equally exciting challenges.
SBC: Which single piece of advice would you give to a brand when deciding upon an ambassador?
Adam: We’ve negotiated, managed and leveraged numerous brand ambassador deals over the years for our clients. From Alan Shearer to Goran Ivanisevic, from Sir Ian Botham to Ricky Hatton, from Michael Owen to Jeff Stelling and various others.
I would say clients should think carefully about what they want to get out of the relationship. From there you can start planning requirements and start working transparently with the ambassador to ensure they are achievable. Simply badging a sports name to a brand just isn’t enough, clients should really think hard about how they intend to make the deal sweat across multiple platforms.
Once you’ve hit this first base you can then start maximising and really building on the relationship, so both parties tangibly benefit. The real work begins when the deals have been done. As well as brokering these types of deals we always sweat the deals hard; this is where both clients and celebrities can really make it work and importantly have some fun.
SBC: You’re going to be on a panel alongside Stuart Tilly of BetonBrazil and the Hayemaker himself. Excited?
Adam: Of course! Betting on Football is a great conference with some great debate and discussion but I doubt I’ll be disagreeing with anything David says.