June 28, 2011
German automaker Audi is joining American jeweler Tiffany & Co. to sponsor The Foundation Polo Challenge which benefits the American Friends of the Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry and the Polo Training Center of Santa Barbara.
The Challenge brings together the world’s polo elite in Santa Barbara, CA, and will raise funds for the two charities. It will also kick off the 2011 summer polo season and celebrate the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club’s centennial.
“For Audi, cars and the sport of polo are very similar, both heavily relying on performance and precision,” said Andrew Lipman, communications manager of Audi of America, Herndon, VA. “These similarities make Audi’s involvement very natural as members of the Audi polo team will be playing in the match.
“Audi has a rich history of supporting both the sport of polo and UK-based charitable organizations and the brand is honored to lend its support to this event in the U.S.,” he said.
All money raised will support the American Friends of the Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry and the Polo Training Center of Santa Barbara.
Racquing up points
The challenge will take place on July 9 at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club.
World-famous polo players – including Audi Polo Team members Wesley Ru, Marc Ganzi, Juan Bollini and Scott Devon – will be split into three teams playing six chukkers.
After the match, there will be a private, exclusive reception and a three-course luncheon designed by celebrity chef Giada de Laurentiis.
VIP tickets for the challenge include access to the reception and the luncheon, in addition to reserved grandstand seating for the polo matches and a commemorative souvenir program.
The VIP tickets are $4,000.
Club admission tickets are also available at $400. They include a picnic lunch, reserved bleacher seating and a souvenir program.
Tickets are available at the Polo Foundation Challenge Web site.
Polo Foundation home
Audi is bringing in new 2011 Audi A8 vehicles for the occasion, which gives it a chance to market itself to affluent consumers attending the match.
“Audi has been a longtime supporter of polo internationally and is honored to continue this relationship as the sport gains momentum in the States,” Mr. Lipman said.
Audi is not the only brand to take advantage of the growing popularity of polo.
For instance, upscale hotel chain St. Regis is targeting its most loyal St. Regis Aficionados through polo programming meant to drive traffic to exclusive properties worldwide (see story).
The hotel is giving guests the opportunity to experience polo matches in Bangkok, Thailand; Britain; the United States; and Argentina.
St. Regis guests and polo fans, who are typically wealthy individuals, can drink special cocktails, watch matches from the inside of a hospitality tent and participate in other polo rituals.
This is similar to Audi and Tiffany’s sponsorship of polo because just as St. Regis is bringing customers in-house to showcase its features, the sponsors will be bringing their products for guests to look at and possibly buy.
If anything, sponsoring or hosting a polo match will build brand awareness and place them in the forefront of consumers’ minds for already-established brands.
Indeed, as title sponsor, Tiffany has trimmed the challenge's Web site in its trademark blue.
“Audi’s partnerships are always strategic and it is important to us that each one is on-target for the brand,” Mr. Lipman said.
“Polo has always been an important sport which the Audi brand proudly aligns itself with and members of the Audi polo team will be playing in the match,” he said. “Additionally, Audi has a long history of supporting charitable causes both internationally and domestically.”
Rachel Lamb, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York