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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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
BofA, NFL Negotiation Puts Spotlight on Challenge of National-Local Conflicts
As Bank of America and the National Football League work to hammer out a renewal of an official league sponsorship, talks appear to be focusing on an issue familiar to many properties— national-local sponsorship conflicts.
According to this story from the Charlotte Business Journal, first reported in Sports Business Journal, BofA and the league—more specifically, the league’s 32 individual franchises—are at odds over whether the bank will have the right to use individual team marks on its debit cards.
Filed under: cause marketing, local, negotiating, sports, associations
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
Stop Using Sponsorship As A Political Football
Yet again we’re seeing an unfortunate intersection between sponsorship and politics. In this story reported in the Charleston Daily Mail, the West Virginia Coal Association has indicated that increased environmental regulation may force it to cut back on its sponsorships and charitable spending.
That spending includes sponsorship of the Friends of Coal Bowl—an annual rivalry game between the state’s two biggest college football teams. The association’s seven-year deal runs through 2012. The story quotes WVCA president Bill Raney, saying, “You're taking today and looking at 2012 and we certainly hope we'll be able to do it, but the destiny lies in the hands of the administration in Washington.”
Filed under: sports, government/municipal
Social Media and Sponsorship Join Forces for Marquette Basketball
This past week, Marquette University started posting from a Pepsi-sponsored Twitter account focusing on the home opener for its men’s basketball team.
This development is unique in that very few (successful) forays have been made into the world of sponsored social media.
So far, the only evidence of Pepsi involvement is a Pepsi logo and the text “Pepsi Season Opener” on the Twitter page. There have been no tweets or links posted regarding Pepsi or the sponsorship and the posts have largely focused on information aimed at building excitement around opening night.
If the user’s window is not maximized, the Pepsi logo and blurb receives little visibility, as it is mostly shrouded by text display.
Filed under: digital media, new media, social media, sponsored content, sports, trends, activation
Toyota Goes Extra Mile With Marathon Activation
With the Bank of America Chicago Marathon behind us, sights are set on the next major event on the running calendar: November’s ING New York City Marathon.
Unlike those who are particularly adept runners (my running style has occasionally been compared to that of a Mack truck), I focus not on incredible feats of endurance but feats of sponsorship activation.
One of the best activation examples of the upcoming ING New York City Marathon comes to us courtesy of Toyota.
Filed under: automotive, marathon, sports, activation
When a Sponsor Pulls Out, Who Should Take the Blame?
Even those who don’t follow sports regularly might have heard about the plight of Caster Semenya, the South African track star whose ambiguous gender created a major controversy at this year’s world championships. In the fallout, Athletics South Africa (ASA) bore much of the blame for its bungling of the matter. So it wasn’t surprising when financial services company Nedbank announced it was terminating its five-year sponsorship of ASA’s road running event series. Though the bank has pointed to the declining quality of the events as the primary reason, the Semenya debacle seems to have played at least some role in accelerating the decision.
The reaction in South Africa has been surprising. I would have expected such news to spawn additional criticism of ASA and its leadership. Instead Julius Malema, leader of the youth wing of the African National Congress, called for a boycott of Nedbank. Malema contends that Nedbank is shirking its responsibility to support the South African community and points to this as an example of—in his view—Nedbank’s history of racist policies and practices.
Filed under: international, sports, backlash
What’s a Sponsor?
It was a sad day in the Kapraun household. With the start of the official NFL season I decided to conduct my own unscientific sponsor research. So, last week, during dinner, I asked my husband if he could name any NFL sponsors. He responded by saying “What’s a sponsor?” I was floored. How could he not know what a sponsor is? I was specifically looking for him to name some NFL league sponsors, but I would have accepted team sponsors as well. In response, I named some NFL league sponsors and he said “oh, yeah”, meaning that when prompted, he knew there was an association between those companies and the NFL.
A few days later I asked him if he could name any NASCAR sponsors and he rattled off at least a handful of sponsors including both series and several team/driver sponsors. At that point, I was feeling like not all hope was lost. However, how did the concept of a sponsor get lost between NASCAR and the NFL? Why would he know what companies sponsor one property and then not even understand what a sponsor is when connected to another property?
Filed under: events, NASCAR, pro sports, research, sports, activation
Micro-Sponsorship: Hyperlocal Marketing Could Become Sponsorship’s Laboratory
Hyperlocal involvement is a growing trend in the marketing world, and which could be readily applied to sponsorship as well.
Hyperlocal is, as the name suggests, the effort to focus on extremely local markets. For sponsorship, I apply the term micro-sponsorship to encapsulate both local market activity and sponsorship of small properties that may cover more than a single market.
Sponsorship has in essence always been hyperlocal. For years it has bankrolled local fairs, festivals, sporting events and other endeavors. However, for big name companies, these smaller sponsorships have taken the backseat to platforms that can be marketed nationwide.
Filed under: events, local, sponsorship ROI, sports, trends, activation