SBJ/January 9-15, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Helios Partners, GlideSlope pair for joint venture

International sports marketing agency Helios Partners and boutique sports consultancy GlideSlope are forming a joint venture called HGS that will advise corporate clients marketing sports globally.

The joint venture comes a year after the two agencies partnered to become the Olympic agency of record for Dow Chemical.

Chris Sanders, Helios’ chief operating officer, and Dave Mingey, GlideSlope’s founding partner, said the joint venture will look to support other companies with limited sports experience as they develop international marketing efforts.

The partnership offers different advantages to each agency. Helios will benefit from the brand consulting expertise of Mingey, who developed Johnson & Johnson’s Olympic marketing campaign in 2008, and his fellow founding partner Eric Guthoff, who oversaw J&J’s activation in Beijing while working for IMG. GlideSlope will benefit from Helios’ established reputation in the Olympic world, where it helped Acer negotiate its Olympic sponsorship, and the connections of its top executives, Terrence Burns and Chris Welton, who previously worked for Meridian Management, the International Olympic Committee’s marketing arm.

“We offer a collective of professionals that come from a very diverse background,” Mingey said. “You’ve got bid-city stewards, leaders that have been at key properties like the IOC, global PR leaders, agency leaders.”

Mingey said the fact that neither agency buys media, represents athletes or has a hospitality group means that HGS will serve as a “neutral adviser” that helps companies identify experts to work with in those areas of their sponsorships. “We don’t see ourselves competing with the IMGs and Octagons,” Mingey said. “In many cases, our goal is to work with them to help the client with understanding what [those agencies] have to offer.”

In some cases, the agencies will pursue clients individually. In others, they will work together as HGS.

Sanders said that Helios, which is owned by French media and event company the Amaury Group, and GlideSlope will split revenue generated by their partnership.

GlideSlope will continue to operate independently in the United States. It is now consulting for Pepsi, The North Face, Johnson & Johnson and Citi.
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