Who is speaking at SponsorLive?

Culture makes hearts beat together. Who doesn’t want the brand to be part of moments like that?

Double winner of The European Sponsorship Association’s (ESA )Best Music and ESA Best Arts & Culture awards Hege Irene Asplund  is responsible for Cultural Sponsorship at OBOS. OBOS is the biggest property developer in the Nordics and Hege will be presenting their Something Is Happening at Ulven partnership with the Norwegian Opera & Ballet.

Read here the full interview with Hege about the secrets of winning two international awards.


Congratulations on winning the European Sponsorship Association Arts & Culture Award and also the Music Sponsorship Awards with your campaign “Something is happening at Ulven”. Can you tell us about this sponsorship and also a little about the OBOS company?

Thank you! We were nominated together with several other very good projects. To be judged this way by acompetent jury is incredibly inspiring. It is also very inspiring to get an insight into the other cases.

So, what kind of organization is OBOS? OBOS is Norway`s largest cooperative housing association, and the largest property developer in the Nordics. We have been a household name since 1929. OBOS is a cooperative owned by our around 520 000 members. Our main objective is to build good homes for our members, and our membership program is well known in Norway. Memberships are even given as gifts to kids when they are baptized, as seniority counts when you want to buy an apartment from OBOS.

OBOS builds homes, but in addition to this we want to take responsibility for what we call the life between the houses. And we sincerely believe that a city with a rich cultural life is a good place to live.

OBOS is a proud sponsor of The Norwegian Opera & Ballet and has been so for more than two decades. Every year we sell between 40 to 50 000 discounted tickets to opera and ballet performances to our members, we arrange Christmas concerts to our members at the Opera, and we also invite almost 1500 children from primary and secondary school classes to ballet performances there.

It seems to be a very new and creative way of mixing art with a building site. Was it a hard decision to do things this way?

Well, this project came to life because of the pandemic. The orchestra, the dancers, and the singers where also working from home, singing, and dancing in their kitchen. With the Opera House`s long-term planning and full calendars in an ordinary season it would never have been possible to do this, both timewise and coastwise. But here we got a once in a lifetime opportunity.

OBOS is currently building a large house project at Ulven in Oslo. As we say in the title; Something is happening at Ulven. This is an old industrial area. Close to main roads and with no identity as a residential area. The area is being transformed, from concrete, gravel, and industrial buildings into a huge area where people will create a new frame for living. In this area, OBOS will also move its head office in a couple of years.

This area, Ulven, is not very known to people in general, so we had to create awareness, curiosity and had to give the public an opportunity to experience a flavour of the rise of Ulven, a new district in Oslo. In short, give the place Ulven a positive identity.

And as I first said, this was under the pandemic. We all missed the opportunities to visit theatres, concert halls and opera houses. And we know from our data that our members embrace this. In total we sell more than 300 000 tickets in total to our members every year to cultural events.

This knowledge combined with inspirations from artist from all over the world who in the beginning of the pandemic came out onto balconies and roof terrace to entertain, brought the idea to life. The answer on your question is therefore no. When an opportunity like this comes your way, you take it.

Do you sponsor other things?

OBOS is one of Norway’s largest sponsors. We have partnerships within the culture field, sports, and CSR. We have, for example, name sponsorship for one of the major football leagues in Norway, we sponsor several festivals,theatres, and humanitarian organizations.

Do you feel that arts & culture sponsorship offers you something different from sports sponsorship for example?

I will definitely say yes to that question. In sports, we often create activity before a match or a competition e.g., and the agreements often consist of a lot of logos around the arena or the slope, while in culture we create an experiencetogether with the object. For example, we produce a concert together. I dare to say that culture makes hearts beat together. And that is what we always try to achieve? Who doesn’t want the brand to be part of moments like that?

I will say when it comes down to it, it’s how you do the activating of the sponsorship in culture versus sports thatprobably makes the biggest difference.

Can you tell us of any results, did you sell any more property as a result or have conversations with stakeholders such as local government, investors, or potential employees of OBOS?

If I bring you back to the beginning of our conversation, I explained that that what we wanted to do was to create awareness, curiosity and to give the public an opportunity to experience a flavour of the rise of Ulven. In short, give Ulven as a location a positive association. All the elements of this event have for sure raised the public’s awareness and curiosity for Ulven and has given Ulven a more positive association in the minds of the public. I also think the long-term effects of the event will further increase the positive results.  We do know that 61 % of the population in Oslo is positive to OBOS for offering this free digital concert. And even though this was a project mostly designed for external target groups, we gained a lot of internal pride and positiveness for the area Ulven through this activity. Which is important for us since we are moving the head office of OBOS to this area in three years’ time.

This project is part of a long-term job. But just like when we build houses, we must start with a foundation wall. That is what this project was.