Entries for the 2012 ESA Excellence Awards have opened, offering sponsorship professionals across Europe an ideal platform to showcase outstanding national or multi-national campaigns.

Organised by the European Sponsorship Association (ESA) and now in its sixth year, they are the only Awards that recognise excellence within the sponsorship industry across Europe. The Awards celebrate campaigns in all sectors – sport, culture, entertainment, media, community and corporate responsibility.

Sponsors, rights holders and agencies are all invited to enter their most successful campaigns, in a bid to be judged the best in Europe. For 2012, ESA has added a new category for companies who have used social media as the main form of communication to reach consumers or business associates directly.

The ESA Awards assess the business objectives, the target audience and the results of sponsorship campaigns, with categories covering Business to Business, Business to Community, Business to Consumer (for event sponsorship, media sponsorship and low budgets), Business to Employee and the Rights Holder Award – the latter to reflect the success of their sponsor partnerships.

Karen Earl, Chairman of the European Sponsorship Association said that the new social media category will suit those campaigns that have most effectively used the medium to engage with their audiences.

“We recognise that social media will play a part in most sponsorship activation but this new category will showcase a dedicated campaign”.

Earl continued that the Awards promoted best practice within the industry from all over Europe and there are opportunities for everyone to be involved, no matter what the size of budget.

She added: “In addition to our nine awards, there is a Multi-National Award to celebrate the best campaign that has been activated in a minimum of three different countries, with at least one country being in Europe.

“Last year Compeed’s ATP World Tour Sponsorship took the Multi-National Award. We also saw a community project from UniCredit in Hungary prove that a carefully thought out, creative sponsorship campaign executed on a small budget, can exceed the objectives set.”

Awards will be judged by an independent panel of European industry experts, and winners will be announced at the Awards Ceremony in London in January 2013. Entries close on the 6th November 2012 and those submitted by 22nd October will benefit from a special early-bird discount.

The 2011 ESA Awards attracted a host of entries from 10 European countries with global and national brands including Aviva, McDonald’s, Telefónica Ireland Ltd – The O2 Dublin and Barclays being crowned winners.

Full entry details are available online at http://www.sponsorship.org/awards-2012/index.asp

For further information about the Awards, contact the ESA office, Tel +44 (0) 208 390 3311 or email awards@sponsorship.org

For further Press information, contact Helen Lamb/ Sue Cunningham ESA on +44 (0) 208 390 3311.

About ESA

The European Sponsorship Association (ESA) represents the interests of the sponsorship industry in Europe. As a membership organisation, its members comprise sponsors, rights holders, agencies, professional advisors and suppliers who operate at a global, pan-European and national level across Europe.

The Association works to raise standards within the industry through dissemination of information, education and training (ESA Knowledge; ESA Diploma) and to promote and protect the industry through its lobbying at national and European level.