Latest Thinking from IEG
IEG’s sponsorship experts provide unique perspective on the latest industry developments, news and trends. These posts will make you think, challenge conventional wisdom, give you new ideas, and spark discussion.
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Izod and Indy Will Be Interesting Partnership To Watch
Media reports indicate that the IndyCar Series will announce its first title sponsor in eight years with a Thursday announcement that Phillips-Van Heusen Corp.’s Izod brand has purchased naming rights.
Much of the current commentary around the deal involves speculation of how much Izod is paying. The Indianapolis Star quoted the series’ sales rep, Zac Brown of Just Marketing, as saying the “asking price” was $10 million a year to be allocated across IndyCar and its media partners.
Conventional wisdom says that no property is getting its asking price these days. And that $10 million starting point is down from where it was three years ago, when an exec for a company that had been pitched the series title at that time told me IndyCar was seeking $15 million a year for 10 years, not including TV ad buy commitments.
Filed under: fashion, sports, activation
Power to the People: Democratic Sponsorship
If you read my posts often enough, you know I’m constantly waxing poetic about how important integrating the consumer into the sponsorship experience is. So it should be no surprise that upon hearing about Stephen Colbert’s, “Colbert Nation” top sponsorship of the U.S. Speed Skating team (if you haven’t already, check out my colleague Rob Campbell’s blog post here) and FanCar’s unique sponsorship opportunities around Sprint NASCAR cars; that I am ready to hand out two big, fat gold stars for fan integration.
Filed under: digital media, entertainment, new media, selling, sports, activation
Sponsorship Research and Measurement
The topic of sponsorship research has been on my mind lately. Sponsorship research can help both properties and sponsors with their decision making. There are many applications for sponsorship research. It can be used to determine the fit between a property and a sponsor; it can be used by a sponsor to measure an audience’s response to its sponsorship and activation programs; it can be part of return on sponsorship or ROI exercise; a property can use information garnered from research to demonstrate to its sponsors some of the benefits of the partnership; and it can be used to track trends or changes related to the sponsorship. Some properties and sponsors have the luxury of hiring an outside research agency. However, a lot of properties and sponsors have never conducted any research, or the property or sponsor conducts its own research (which is preferable to not conducting any research).
I would encourage sponsors and properties that don’t do sponsorship research to consider it, but there should be a clear purpose to the research, and the findings should be actionable, otherwise the results will be disappointing. Although the findings won’t be as specific, as a first step, a property or sponsor could consider using syndicated third-party research such as Scarborough or MediaMark (MRI).
Filed under: agency, research, sponsorship measurement, sponsorship ROI, activation
Signage as a Sponsorship Benefit (It isn’t as Boring as you Might Think)
Signage as a sponsorship benefit is often written off. When you compare signage to sponsorship benefits like VIP hospitality, mailing lists and sampling, it doesn’t seem as relevant or meaningful. Also, if you consider the per impression or per person value of signage, it is often on the lower end of the value range (although those impressions can add up). Additionally, signage has gotten a bad rap because, at times, it has been overused, poorly placed or is just not very creative. Plus, signage is hard to leverage and is considered “old school”. A sponsor or property rarely receives recognition around a great sign. However, as much as we would like to think otherwise, a lot of sponsorship packages started as primarily on-site signage or other visibility elements. I definitely don’t think that is what we should go back to, but I would like to make a case for signage as a sponsorship benefit. Signage has evolved a lot, the definition of it has changed, and if done strategically can be a great benefit as part of a sponsorship package.
Filed under: arts, associations, cause marketing, events, music, sports, activation
Aon Takes Man U Sponsorship to the Field
Imagine my surprise when, sitting in the salon waiting room, a blog post appeared. Someone before me had left behind Q, Aon’s employee magazine (Q3 2009 edition). The bright cover depicts children playing soccer and the headline "UNITED IN 2010: AON AND MANCHESTER UNITED" along with a call-out saying there is a team poster inside.
Above and beyond that poster is a case for a sponsorship the likes of which we rarely see. While Aon's core business is not sponsorship or even marketing (it's risk management and human capital consulting), they give their employees solid background on the reasons for the partnership, including business objectives, value drivers and ROI case studies. Particularly impressive is an interview with Charlie Armstrong, senior director, advertising & global branding for AIG, to "find out how the current sponsor leveraged its opportunity to build brand and grow AIG's business."
Filed under: international, pro sports, sports, activation
Spreading Some Sponsorship Love – Monster and the NFL Score a Touchdown
Something was recently brought to my attention by one of my loyal blog readers (who has no problem shooting me straight): I am a perpetual Negative Nelly in my posts. Yep, just one cynical, critical consultant throwing stones at just about everyone and everything. Thing is, when you make your living spotting potential sponsorship red flags and helping people improve their sponsorship program, you become trained to look for problems and admittedly, can overlook the good stuff.
Being a big-time believer in karma, I’d like to put something good out there too. So, this post is a step in the direction of setting my sponsorship karma right, I am actually going to talk about someone doing something well.
Filed under: entertainment, pro sports, selling, sports, activation
Close, but Not Quite a Great Activation Program
An article that appeared in the Detroit Free Press (10/17) about the Ford Taurus Game Day House Party sparked my interest. To summarize the article, Ford partnered with HouseParty.com (a cool idea, but a terrible website, very amateur looking and slow loading) and Ford dealers to throw house parties for groups of guys across the U.S. as they watch football. The house parties were designed to promote the launch of 2010 Ford Taurus. The campaign was expected to reach about 20,000 people at 1,000 house parties. According to the article, the hosts of many of the parties would get to test drive a Taurus for the day and hosts also received a party pack that included banners, thunder sticks and a DVD featuring Fox Sports commentator Michael Strahan. Representatives from local dealers were sent to talk to hosts about the Taurus. The campaign was promoted on websites including FoxSports.com and in print. Ford received 6,000 applications. There is also a contest component and the winner will receive a new Ford Taurus. The House Party is part of a larger campaign that Ford is launching to link the Taurus with pro football. Ford did a similar campaign during American Idol for the Fusion.
Filed under: agency, NASCAR, sports, activation
Siemens UK Outfit Puts Together a Classic
The sheer volume of sponsors doing sports/cause cross-property promotions means the approach is no longer trendy. Rather, it’s become a new classic—the sponsorship equivalent of “Jackie O” sunglasses or leather motorcycle jackets.
I came across an example yesterday that struck me for how textbook the activation seems—and I mean that in a good way. Siemens sponsors both the Great Britain Rowing Team (GB Rowing) and The Stroke Association in the UK. Siemens is activating them both simultaneously, with a cross-property platform called Stroke for Stroke, which challenges the public to row 10K—inside or outside—to raise funds for the cause.
Having looked at the components online and the supporting press, it seems to me that Siemens and its partners are working from a very smart little checklist of how to set these types of promotions up.
Filed under: cause marketing, digital media, hospitals and healthcare, nonprofit, non-traditional categories, olympics, sports, strategic philanthropy, activation
Reporter’s Notebook: New Spending; Successful Activation Program
Through my conversations with sponsors, properties and reporters, I frequently come across new spending and activation programs that don’t make it into IEG Sponsorship Report. Below are three recent examples.
Aaron’s, Inc. boosts sponsorship budget 10 percent. The limping economy has prompted renewed interest in rent-to-own, dollar stores and other types of retailers that cater to low and middle-income consumers, and that has led to new sponsorship spending by players in those categories.
For its part, Aaron’s largely focuses on motorsports properties, and to a lesser extent properties located near its Atlanta headquarters. The company earlier this year renewed its title of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and Nationwide Series races at Alabama’s Talladega Superspeedway, a property it has sponsored since ’02.
Filed under: entertainment, how to get sponsorship, motorsports, music, NASCAR, activation
Go For Sponsorship Gold: One Simple Rule
Remember the Golden Rule (for those academics reading, you may be more familiar with it as the “Ethic of Reciprocity”)? Something to the effect of “do unto others as you’d have done unto you” (not sure if I got that exactly right, I’d be overstretching it to say I’m the most virtuous person), but I’ve always loved the zen utility of being able to answer every question or solve every problem with one simple tenet.
So what’s the Golden Rule of sponsorship? If, as people, we’re supposed to treat others how we want to be treated, what as sponsorship pros is the golden statute to employ? Now, I’m no Buddha and I don’t claim to have the mystical, sage wisdom of the ages, however, I have seen a lot of sponsorship – good and bad – and while it may not be sexy, I think it comes down to this: enhance the consumer experience.
Filed under: branded entertainment, digital media, entertainment, fashion, activation