Advent Calendar Activation: MCFC’s 1 Sponsor Shareable Entertainment vs Team Sky’s Multi Partner Prizes

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Driving engagement through the festive season with an advent calendar countdown is an obvious way to serve fans property-related content on a regular basis – and teaming up with sponsors to open those daily doors is another no brainer.


But is the smartest seasonal tactic to work with a single sponsor across advent, or to include as many commercial partners as possible within your celebratory countdown?


One 2015 example of the former approach sees Manchester City link with sponsor Nissan on its YouTube based daily calendar comic clip content.


Whilst the latter tactic is adopted by cycling’s Team Sky whose website calendar is a convergence of all the UCI Pro Team’s partners
City’s approach is primarily focused on shareable entertainment.


Each day the Manchester City is releasing a new Christmas comic  clip on its YouTube channel.


In what seems initially largely like a logo-badging exercise, Nissan features prominently on each daily Christmas clip and effectively acts as the initiative’s title sponsor, but most of the content itself has little relevance or connection to the automotive sponsor.



The clips featuring players from both the men’s and women’s teams being seasonally silly and  making festive fools of themselves.


The objective here is a daily dose of comic club entertainment to engage fans, boost YouTube subscriptions (the club’s current subscriber is 515,871), and drive social sharing so that the initiative is amplified by fans.


The films feature many aspects of the club – from the stars and the women’s team, to the development squad and the fans.


Day 1, for example, features a comedy Christmas jumper race between players Yaya Toure and Gael Clichy (and encourages fans to buy a Christmas jumper and help young people change lives through football as every MCFC Christmas jumper sold sees City Football Group donate £5 to Cityzens Giving).



While Day 2 stars sees women’s team players Toni Duggan, Jill Scott, Demi Stokes and Daphne Corboz take on the pudding shot,



and Day 4 sees members of the development squad take on the Harlem Globe Trotters in a skills competition.



On the other hand, Team Sky’s online advent calendar is essentially a more sponsor-led, prize-based competition calendar that doubles as a list building mechanic.


Each day a new window on the digital calendar is unlocked to reveal a clue or a question, couple with a linked list-building mechanic.


Participation is incentivised with daily prizes that are largely directly dominated by commercial partner products and channels.
From a standard ‘signed Rapha jersey’ prize draw for those supplying their contact data on Day 1 and Day 2’s quiz question to win a pair of partner Oakley’s riding glasses, to Day 5 offers the chance for those entering their details to win a Muc-Off Ultimate Bicycle Cleaning Kit and Day 7’s offer with a promotional code that drives players to the website of Team Sky’s Official Vitamin and Supplement Suppliers Healthspan Elite ( to redeem their a 20% reduction off the entire range to ‘have a healthier New Year’.


Most windows in Team Sky’s daily docket directly link to individual sponsors – both in terms of the content and the prize gift incentivisation.


While Team Sky’s calendar comes equipped with a prominent social media ‘share’ button’, there is little incentive to do so – especially considering that most windows offer a single or a limited number of prizes thus actually discouraging sharing.




Adopting a property advent calendar is a fairly straightforward yuletide engagement tactic, but finding the right advent approach depends (obviously) on the property owner’s objective.


City’s aim seems primarily focused on offering club-based shareable entertainment that appeals to a mass audience, while Team Sky’s is a gift-giving engagement exercise more tightly aligned to cycling performance and its sponsor’s commercial spaces.


Both aim to boost subscriber numbers and list-building, but while the former might perhaps the former might be more successful in helping expand a fanbase, the latter’s benefits may lie in rewarding and tightening existing relationships with already committed cyclist followers?




Manchester City Advent Calendar:


Team Sky Advent Calendar:




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