#BTSIA SHORTLIST FOCUS: #Manarama National League

20 Mar 2019

By: Sport Industry Group

Brand: Vanarama /  Prostate Cancer UK
Rightsholder: Vanarama National League
Agency: Alpaca Communications
Entry: The #Manarama National League
Category: UK Campaign of the Year in association with SMART Group / Event or Competition Sponsorship Award in association with CSM Live

Tell us about yourselves…

“We’re the UK’s leading vehicle leasing company, and we’re the title sponsors of the best division in the country, a division loved by the most devoted fans in football; the Vanarama National League.

"Last year we did something that’d never been done before, inspired by men everywhere and one man in particular, we rebranded a national football league mid-season. In September 2018, the fifth tier of English football – The Vanarama National League – became the MANarama National League.

"Inspired by one man’s story, and the bravery of the one in eight men that will be diagnosed with Prostate Cancer in their lifetime, we gave up our naming rights to put Man before Van.”

Why do you think you made the shortlist?

"Like Bill Shankly’s famous statement "some people think football is a matter of life and death. I assure you, it's much more serious than that" the MANarama campaign combined the devotion National League fans have for their division, with a message that really was a matter of life and death. Together with Prostate Cancer UK we made real football fans think about something far more important than football, in a way that had never been done before.

"The emotive nature of the campaign meant that it earned attention, we didn’t need to pay for it. Beyond our sponsorship of the league itself, this was a low budget activation, that relied on word of mouth and nimble PR tactics. 

"MANarama and its message were genuinely famous (for a bit) receiving international media attention, with a reach of more than 2 billion people, trending organically on social media and endorsed by some the UK’s best-known celebrities."


What made this campaign memorable to work on?

"Beyond the relentless “I think you’ve made a typo @BBCSport” tweets that were a joy to behold (and kind of the point of the whole campaign) this campaign was about something more than disruptive marketing techniques. 

"More than 11,800 men die from prostate cancer in the UK each year – that's one man every 45 minutes. It’s also the most common cancer in men, with over 330,000 living with and after the disease in the UK. This campaign mattered, and resonated on a personal level with many of our staff, our customers and fans of the league."


Who’s your MVP?

"Kevin Webber.  Kevin was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer at the young age of 49. Despite minimal symptoms, his cancer had already spread to other organs and in 2014 Kevin was told he could have as little as two years to live. Since then he has helped raised thousands of pounds for PCUK.

"Before the campaign Kevin visited Vanarama HQ inspiring staff and hitting home how important it was to raise awareness of this deadly disease.

"In support of the MANarama campaign and in the build-up to Non-League Day Webber had completed seven walking marathons in seven days as he visited 10 National League clubs, delivering captain’s armbands featuring the charity’s logo that were worn on Non-League day, where the MANarama campaign came to a close."


How do you plan to celebrate?

"Harder than eVANder Holyfield, with the grace of VAN Persie and the responsible drinking capacity of Michael VANgerwen."



Prostate Cancer UK: Gary Haines, General Manager and Seren Evans, Community Fundraising Manager.

Vanarama: Paul Cable, Chief Marketing Officer, Daryl West, Head of Social Media & Sponsorship

Alpaca Communications: Sam Batey (Account Executive), Ryan O’Leary (Senior Account Executive), Jasmine El-Gabban (Account Manager) Peter Elms (Director)

The BT Sport Industry Awards are the largest commercial sport awards in the world and an unrivalled showcase for the best of the sector’s output. This year’s Awards will see the industry come together for its night of the year on Thursday, 25th April at Battersea Evolution.