AGAINST THE TIDE
Who: BNY Mellon, Cancer Research UK and Oxford and Cambridge University Boat Clubs
Objective: For five years, global investment bank BNY Mellon and subsidiary Newton Investment Management have supported rowing in the UK through the annual Oxford/Cambridge boat race on the Thames. For BNY Mellon, the sponsorship is an opportunity to use its role as a supporter to change the game of corporate sport sponsorship. “It was a way of use our resources to help solve difficult problems and we wanted to use a sponsorship that could affect change and inspire other companies around the world to use sponsorship in the same way,” Asmita Kapadia, head of corporate communications at BNY Mellon, says. This year’s Cancer Research UK Boat Race took place on 2 April in London.
Strategy: In order to change the paradigm for sponsorship, BNY Mellon has focused on its five-year long sponsorship of the annual boat race. In 2015, the company focused on equality in rowing. It worked to ensure the women’s race was held on the same tidewater as the men’s race for the first time. Having achieved an “even keel,”
according to Kapadia, for the men’s and women’s crews, BNY Mellon turned its sights to the 2016 race. Last year, the firm focused on effectively donating its headline sponsorship to existing race charity Cancer Research UK (CRUK). With CRUK named as the headline sponsor again in 2017, this year’s race sees BNY Mellon and Newton bring its investment expertise to bear. A new London-wide initiative, Cascade,
will bring together what Kapadia calls “heavyweight investors” to raise money for cancer research. Bringing the heavyweights of the university rowing scene and the London investment community together, CASCAID will involve four new challenges, one of which is a challenge for a crew that will row the 65 miles across the Irish Sea.
Rationale: “We’re a company striving to do different things and with our sponsorships, we have always tried to do that. It was a great day on Sunday bringing both the men and the women together on the same tideway, and being able to contribute to fighting cancer for Cancer Research UK. That we’ve been able to do that, makes us proud,” Kapadia says.