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GEMS are made under pressure (and when you partner with the Comrades Marathon)

Last week in Johannesburg, in a proudly Flash Sponsorship brokered deal, SA’s largest restricted membership medical scheme, with over 800,000 principal members and more than 2-million beneficiaries, the Government Employees Medical scheme (GEMS), was announced as the first in a number of new partnerships with the Comrades Marathon, the world’s oldest, largest and most famous ultramarathon.

“Today was a great day.” says Richard van der Schyff. “This was a combination of pressure, patience and perseverance, culminating in the amazing launch that we witnessed earlier. Two proudly South African brands finding common ground & partnering for the greater good is always a satisfying result.”

“We are delighted for our client the Comrades Marathon, who like all of us, experienced the most extreme pressures during & after the Covid-19 period. The strength of the brand however, was demonstrated when we renewed seven partnerships during this period. We are well on our way to assisting the Comrades achieve their full commercial potential & this deal is a major contributor.”

“Interestingly, one of the most frequent comments / questions I get at the moment ” says Flash MD Richard van der Schyff is “How is business?  Post Covid, with events back in full swing and fans back in the stadium sponsors must be flocking back to sporting events?”

“On the one hand, that is partly true. But on the other hand, the GEMS deal wasn’t easy & the process took nearly three years to conclude. So today’s announcement does not tell the full story in terms of how long the deal cycle is at present. Our economy remains in recovery mode, and brands are still feeling the pinch. Add loadshedding, rising diesel costs & poor service delivery across the board into the mix and we have to be cautiously optimistic.”

“And we are always optimistic! In the build-up to the 2023 race, which takes place on the 11th June 2023 (now only 12 days away), this partnership speaks volumes. The word that comes to mind is “pressure”, something that we South Africans operate under at all times. And under all these external pressures we face, we will still find a way to do the things we love & celebrate the life we live. And that’s why brands will always be attracted to iconic sporting events such as the Comrades Marathon which has been running for over 100 years and still going strong.”

The 96th Comrades Marathon will be the 48th Down Run on Sunday, 11 June 2023, starting at the Pietermaritzburg City Hall at 05h30 and ending 12 hours later at the Hollywoodbets Kingsmead Stadium in Durban, covering a 87,701km distance.

Watch it on SuperSport – The main SuperSport feed, taking in the entire race day from 5am to 6pm, will be broadcast on SS Variety 4. Another feed, focusing on the women’s race, will be carried on SS Variety 2 from 5:15am to 11:30am

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