AIB #TheToughest

Three years ago AIB had sponsored the Club Championships for 22 years, however awareness was a meagre 15% and the property was ranked 22nd in terms of appeal for Irish sponsorship. The All-Ireland county championships were the dominant interest and AIB was left with a dormant sponsorship acknowledged as the poor relation in the GAA family. AIB too was in a state of flux. As one of Ireland’s largest financial services providers, it was still a long way from earning back the trust crushed by the economic crisis.


In 2013, AIB took a critical look at itself and the property. Although a much loved sponsorship, it was a sponsorship that could work infinitely harder if AIB had the vision and the determination. And so, later that year, AIB coined its new insight; ͞AIB Club Championships – The Toughest of Them All͟, and #TheToughest was born. From there it was a three-year strategy that firstly reinvigorated the disenfranchised hard-core fans. The next step elevated the Club Championships a new level of credibility, earning it the deserved respect of naysayers. And then there was the final phase. The year of 2016. AIB’s aim was to take over the GAA landscape and social media would be instrumental in:

  1. Elevating AIB to the #1 sponsor of all 23 GAA partners
  2. Driving engagement by increasing the overall rate from 4.6% to 5.3%
  3. Increasing awareness and affinity with customers
  4. Reach 100% of the 700,000 GAA fans active on social media in Ireland



For the 2015/16 season, with 23 GAA sponsors vying for the same cluttered space on social and a vision to be #1, AIB had to differentiate itself to stand out and engage meaningfully with fans. One of the core pillars to AIB’s engagement approach was to create a supply vibrant, relevant and shareable content that spoke to fans in a new exciting way. Creating conversations and community management played a key role in building relationships with fans, as did distinctive live match day commentary. Over the forthcoming 365 days, AIB engaged with fans on a daily basis – without fail – through its
sponsorship of the AIB GAA & Camogie Club Championships and the newly acquired GAA All-Ireland Football Championship.


  • AIB is the #1 sport sponsor in Ireland *2016 Onside Sponsorship
  • AIB is the #1 sponsor in GAA *2016 Millward Brown
  • Social engagement rate 5.6% (increase from 4.3%)
  • Over 17 million social media interactions
  • 63% agree AIB understands the essence of GAA
  • 62% talk about AIB’s campaign with friends
  • 53% agree the campaign generated buzz / excitement
  • 56% agree AIB is a company you can trust (+17%)
  • 53% agree AIB is a company that puts customers first (+14%)
  • 48% agree AIB sponsorship makes AIB feel more relevant to them