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By Hannah Bowler, Senior reporter

January 5, 2023 | 4 min read

Car manufacturer finds "logical" sponsorship home with UK arts and culture TV network.

BMW has signed a multi-million-pound 12-month TV sponsorship deal for Sky Arts after finding “direct synergy” between the two brands.

UK culture and arts channel Sky Arts has landed its biggest-ever sponsorship deal two years after going free-to-air. A car manufacturer partnering with an arts channel might at first seem like an unlikely pairing but, BMW UK's marketing director tells The Drum "there could not have been a more logical fit".

Sky Arts airs shows spanning Portrait Artist of The Year, a photography competition with Rankin, and a number of acclaimed music documentaries such as King Rocker and Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché. The channel has a more high brow audience compared to other commercial linear channels with its primary demographic ABC1 adults.

The partnership will hammer home the connection between arts and technology with a focus on how both Sky Arts programming and the BMW brand promote innovation, design and sustainability.

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The deal was brokered between Sky Media and media agency Wavemaker. The sponsorship comprises a series of 1 x 15” & 2 x 5” idents voiced by actor James D’Arcy, created by BMW’s retained ad agency, The Marcom Engine (TME).

BMW was searching for TV sponsorship to promote its new electric models the BMW i7 and BMW iX. The car manufacturer needed to find a channel that would resonate with its more affluent and 'refined' audience.

Since Sky Arts is one of the only sponsorable UK channels dedicated to premium arts and culture, BMW said it’s an “obvious choice”. The car manufacturer hopes the partnership will demonstrate how art and technology can be intertwined.

Michelle Roberts, marketing director at BMW UK, says: “There could not have been a more logical fit to showcase the innovation which is built into the BMW i7 and BMW iX.”

The BMW i7, for example, features an ultra-wide 31.3-inch 8K theatre screen which the idents spotlight as a connection to Sky Arts programming. Roberts adds the new BMW i7 provides the “perfect opportunity for passengers to be entertained on their journey with Sky Arts programming.”

Sarah Jones, director of planning, Sky Media, says there is a “direct synergy between the Sky Arts and BMW audiences”. According to Jones, both brands “place a high value on premium quality, meticulous design and cultural experiences.”

“Sky Arts is defined by its unique and imaginative programming,” Jones adds. “So, it’s a really great fit for BMW to showcase the innovative technology that is crafted into its cars, in an entertaining and immersive environment for our viewers.”

The sponsorship idents have already been integrated onto TV and Sky Arts social channels, but in January the two brands will be exploring ways to extend the partnership beyond this first phase.

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