Last week I had a conversation with a colleague, Daren Watkins. I wanted to share some of our conversation because I think some of his challenges and hopefully his successes may be relevant to a lot of properties.
Watkins is the special events coordinator for the Real. Texas. Festival. in Mesquite, TX. His sponsorship career started four years ago with the first Real. Texas. Festival. Watkins has been with the Festival from the beginning and is responsible for the establishment and success of the Festival. Watkins secured 17 sponsors the first year of the Festival, including a presenting sponsor. His sponsorship program has since grown to more than 20 sponsors.
The Festival is a two-day event in April that features live entertainment, a car show and a rodeo. The Festival now attracts close to 25,000 attendees. more
I was telling the story this week about one of my first jobs, which was in the telecommunications industry. Before starting my career in sponsorship, I was in the public and government relations department. My first task of the day was to arrive at about 6:30 a.m. and read eight newspapers, cut out any article that mentioned our company from every section of the paper, tape each clipping to 8.5’ x 11’ paper, make 30 sets of copies and hand deliver them to the desks of the senior execs by 8:30 a.m. (The execs did not want to wait for the press clipping company, which would not usually deliver till afternoon.)
As you can see, there was nothing electronic or instant about this process. This story also dates me and clearly illustrates a time in business when electronic communication was nothing like today. more
If you’ve heard an IEGer on the speaking circuit in the last couple of years, you may have listened to one of us talk about how sponsors need to move from the idea of “sponsored by” (translation: we wrote a check) to instead communicate a “provided by” message and feeling (translation: we get you and want to improve your experience).
Harris Bank has taken this idea and woven it seamlessly into its overall positioning in ads, and other marketing messages, for its sponsorship of The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival® presented by Harris (the popular holiday event took place November 21-22 here in Chicago). Harris’ tagline—“We’re Here to Help”—has been the centerpiece of a fantasy ad campaign that has featured Harris Bank signage helping people avoid awkward situations, take advantage of split-second opportunities, and avoid bodily harm. more
Marketing gimmicks are alive and well and appear to be working for some brands. In Lesa’s recent blog covering the ANA Annual Conference, Eric Schmidt, chairman and CEO of Google, spoke about Evian’s commercial/video featuring babies on roller skates.
He stated that on YouTube.com, the videos had received 30 million views. The campaign does make great use of the web and online content includes interviews with the babies, clips from casting for the video and Facebook pages for the babies. The campaign has certainly caught on and reportedly has delivered business results for Evian. The video is insanely cute and very viral, but at its core, it is a gimmick. more
There’s an aisle in just about every Walgreen’s and CVS in the US that my friends and I like to call the “Cheesy TV Aisle.” It’s that awesome aisle where you can learn everything from how to “set and forget” your way to a perfect roast, “bump it” to give your hair that sexy volume and “sham-wow” yourself out of a mess. To date, I’ve used this aisle primarily for two reasons: to kill time while my prescriptions are being filled and/or as a great place to pick up gag gifts for care packages for friends. Here’s the really funny part about all of this: three of these said, “Cheesy TV Aisle” products either have posted or are on target to rake in sales of $300 million or more. (And that is the sound of my jaw hitting the floor followed by the sound of me slopping down a serving of humble pie). more
I attended the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ Midwest Conference on Philanthropy yesterday and although the content of the conference was not sponsorship focused, there were some insights that were very relevant to sponsorship.
The opening session was led by Adrian Sargeant, the Robert F. Hartsook Professor of Fundraising at Indiana University. Even though the content of the session was focused on driving donor loyalty, there were several topics covered that are pertinent, and three that I would like to highlight. The concepts of retention and defection, lifetime value, and value segments all have a place in sponsorship. Because of the limited information available on some of these topics within fundraising, during his research Sargeant turned to insights developed on the consumer side.
This weekend’s rivalry matchup between my alma mater, Northwestern University, and their in-state rivals, the University of Illinois, reminded my sponsorship-geared brain of an interesting deal signed by another Illinois institution, State Farm Insurance.
Last month, State Farm signed a multi-year deal to present a rivalry series between Arizona State University and the University of Arizona.
Although seemingly unremarkable (sponsors already present football and basketball rivalry games and weeks on television networks), this relationship is deceptive in its breadth and depth. more
See Episode 1 for information about this blog series.
Motel 6’s Great Teddy Bear Roundup
Before: This week, Accor North America’s Motel 6 and Studio 6 brands launched the second annual Great Teddy Bear Roundup. This program asks people to donate new teddy bears at Motel 6/Studio 6 drop-off locations. The locations then deliver the teddy bears to local law enforcement, fire stations and hospitals that use the teddy bears “to comfort children experiencing stressful or traumatic situations.” The 2008 campaign yielded 10,000 teddy bear donations across the country. This year, the local police or fire department in the community where the most donations are made will also receive $6,000. Read the Motel 6 press release here.
Because audience data is crucial to properties’ ability to sell and renew sponsorship, I’m always intrigued to see creative ideas for obtaining such research.
We recently heard from Jeff Springut of Springut Group, producer of many events in Rochester, N.Y., on how he collected demographic info from attendees at this summer’s Party in the Park concert series and the Big Rib Bar-B-Que and Blues Fest.
I have no problem admitting I love partaking in some Real Housewives of Orange County viewing (or Atlanta, New Jersey, New York City, hell, it could be The Real Housewives of Des Moines and I’d probably watch). However, it is definitely not the first thing I bring up as conversational fodder when attempting to convey my personality and what I stand for. So, when I read today that Sprint is signed on as a sponsor of Bravo’s fifth season of The Real Housewives of Orange County,I was a bit… well, stunned I guess.
For starters, here are the deets of the deal; Sprint will receive: