Last month, Mattel’s American Girl line of dolls caused quite a stir when they unveiled Gwen, a homeless American Girl doll.
American Girl dolls, as I recently have learned, are high-end dolls with even higher price tags and are all the rage for young girls. The Gwen doll in question carries a $95 sticker price.
The Gwen doll certainly helps raise awareness in young children about the plight of the homeless. But despite the doll’s focus on homelessness, no proceeds from the sale of the Gwen doll went to benefit homeless causes.
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.
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. more
I pick on affinity partnerships a lot because, frankly, they deserve it. While many affinity partnerships are worthwhile, many more are not. Note: I’m defining an affinity partnership as a licensing arrangement where a property allows a company to use its brand (name, logo, etc.) and access to its audience to sell a product or service, in return for a royalty and/or a benefit to the audience (discount, donation to the organization, etc.). The most common type of affinity partnership is the affinity credit card, like the thousands offered by Bank of America. That said, there are countless categories that participate in affinity relationships.
Here are the questions properties should ask to decide whether to start (or even continue) to work with affinity partners. more
In protecting their ethics and standards, too many organizations avoid creativity. Like cutting fat and cholesterol from your diet and deciding that must mean flavor is bad for you too.
I am pleased to see GOOD Magazine's partnerships with Gap Inc. and Whole Foods. While you could argue that Whole Foods is a like-minded company that is endemic to GOOD's M.O., Gap surprised me a little bit. In a good way. Sure, they have a history of ethical labor practices (including their response to the 2007 child labor problem in India), but it could be tough for a magazine like GOOD to find truly mainstream partners that are in keeping with their image. more
If you’re reading what I’m reading, you’re seeing a fair number of articles talking about the employee retention challenges lying in front of companies once unemployment starts to go down. (Here’s one of the best ones: “Get A Head Start In The Coming War For Talent”) Specifically, I’ve been struck by those that point to a disconnect: employers are relatively confident in their employee retention abilities while a majority of workers report that they’re already looking for what’s around the bend.
Where there is a disconnect, there lies an opportunity.
Here are two opportunities to use this information to your advantage:
Unfortunately the Australian War Memorial provides another cautionary tale for public-private partnerships. According to this story from News.com.au, backlash has arisen over the sponsorship activity in the memorial, including corporate ties to the eternal flame and to the daily closing ceremony. While I applaud the Australian government for its willingness to engage corporate partners, I’m sorry to see it done in such a stale and unimaginative way. Once again a government entity appears to be looking at its appeal purely in terms of eyeballs, essentially equating itself to a football stadium or a mall.
In this case, visibility MUST go hand in hand with a compelling storyline. Let’s consider a more relevant tie-in for the sponsor of the closing ceremony. At the end of each day’s ceremonies, visitors could be asked to fill out a postcard providing a message of thanks to war veterans. The postcards could be filled out and dropped off at sponsor-branded tables. And, if it wants to put a cherry on top, the company could commit to a small donation to the memorial for each postcard submitted (with both a minimum and maximum threshold).
The memorial gets its money. The consumer gets to participate. The company gets the visibility and a meaningful connection to a cause. It’s not super-sophisticated, but it doesn’t have to be to produce results. Any other ideas?
“Generic” might be having a good run in pharmacies and grocery stores right now, but hotels are looking for assets that differentiate them from the guy down the street.
An article in Monday’s The Wise Marketer highlights a recent study of hotel rewards programs, conducted by Razor’s Edge Business Intelligence. As most of the chains have run their loyalty programs for many years (some more than two decades), Razor’s Edge is predicting that the programs will “move on from simply adding more partners and more benefits toward developing in whole new directions. . . . such as the creation of sub-clubs that appeal to special interest groups (e.g. sportsmen, sports fans, or bikers) or the addressing of environmental concerns.”
One of the first things that I learned when I joined IEG, was the importance of media (and retail) partners to a property. Media and retail partners can be beneficial for a few reasons. First, they can extend the awareness and reach of the property through recognition in media or in-store. Second, their relationships with various companies can provide access to new sponsors. Also, both media and retail partners have assets that can be very attractive to sponsors such as built-in advertising for the sponsor or possibly some sort of POP display or recognition in retail publications. What property doesn’t want to increase the tangible benefits that they have to offer? Lastly, some sponsors (especially new sponsors) are more familiar with media-related benefits, so having some media benefits as part of a package can help ease a company into sponsorship.
If a property can obtain a good media partner, this should help them to obtain other sponsors. Note the word “good”, there are some not so good partners or at least partners that are not a good fit with a particular property. I’ll just quickly mention that there are a couple ways to structure a media sponsorship, one is based on in-kind and the other is a fee deal. Additionally, a property can have several media partners, usually one for each medium.
I will admit I’m conflicted about the new Pause to Support a Cause program launched by the CMO Council and other organizations. The initiative’s goal is to attract consumers to participate in market research conducted by corporations by offering to make donations to favorite causes in return for their participation. (For further information, click here.)
On the one hand, how could I be against any program that has the potential to raise additional money for a host of great causes, some of them clients of IEG Sponsorship Consulting? Yet there is something that bugs me about this effort. more