Each year there are a handful of guest speakers at the IEG Conference that really make an impression on me for a variety of reasons. One of the presentations that stood out to me from the 2009 IEG Conference was a presentation by Liz Cahill, Vice President of Marketing and Communications for Lee Jeans, who spoke about Lee National Denim Day.
What really impressed me was how the program has evolved since 1996. For a program that is fairly extensive, Lee National Denim Day is supported by a pretty lean staff and budget. Basically, the Lee team internally created and grew the program with a lot of hard work, a little bit of luck and some trial and error.
To me, Lee National Denim Day feels authentic, is a great fit with the brand and is a simple concept: wear jeans on a particular day and donate $5. The campaign materials never specify to wear Lee Jeans and the program is more about raising funds to fight breast cancer and less about selling a pair of jeans. With the recent criticism of cause marketing being called “consumption philanthropy”, I would think that the critics would have a harder time finding fault with this program compared to some of the other donation-with-purchase structured programs. more
Today’s coffee lover faces more choices than ever on where to buy their favorite brew, and that has prompted new sponsorship spending on behalf of coffee retailers.
That activity has been driven in large part by McDonald’s Corp., which took on Starbucks Corp., Dunkin’ Brands, Inc. and other coffee retailers earlier this year with the launch of the McCafe coffee line.
Competition also has been fueled by convenience stores, many of which are adding premium coffee blends to their product offering. Coffee can be a profitable item: New Jersey-based Quick Chek reported a 10 percent increase in coffee sales in its fiscal first quarter. more
I wanted to figure out a correlation between sponsorship and gardening. I thought that there must be some sort of relationship. Like, you have to keep your sponsorship “watered” in order to make it grow. Alright, I admit it is a stretch and pretty lame.
What did come to mind is the fact that there doesn’t seem to be a lot of companies within the gardening industry that are active sponsors outside of home and garden shows or industry-related events. There are a few examples, Scotts Miracle Grow’s sponsorship of NASCAR, Hart’s Nursery’s sponsorship of the Oregon State Fair and Fiskar’s sponsorship of Arthritis Foundation Ease of Use Program.
Don’t be fooled, gardening is a big industry. Maybe it is not as big as some industries, but still pretty massive. Gardening is typically a life-long hobby, is a continual learning process and something that takes considerable time and money.
I’ll admit, in the past I’ve not monitored the non-profit space as vigilantly as several other sectors and topics within the sponsorship industry. One reason is probably because I held an ill-conceived misconception that when it came to creativity I wasn’t going to find anything too earth shattering going on there. Well, let me just say the non profit world handed me my butt this week as I spotted two highly creative campaigns integrating two forms of marketing that can be tricky to get a handle on — mobile and guerilla marketing.
UNICEF is upping its technological savvy to appeal to a new generation of donors by adding mobile and web enhancements to its 59th annual Trick-or-Treat campaign (the longest running youth volunteer activity in the U.S.). The mobile element of this campaign incorporates mobile giving via text — phone users text in to donate cash which is billed directly to their phone bill. No muss, no fuss in the form of entering billing info and filling in a variety of personal info fields. UNICEF has also created downloadable activity sheets, fundraising ideas, Halloween party ideas and e-card reminders. These campaign “upgrades” intrigue me not because they consider how a youthful target audience operates (with a cell glued to their hand) — that’s nothing new a million marketers haven’t honed in on before — but because it goes a step further than a text announcement, opt-in or coupon. It connects with a generation being dubbed the most conscious and charitable ever and thinks about how they might want to not just communicate, but also give. Check it out here.
When was the last time you read How the Grinch Stole Christmas? Maybe last night to your child, maybe last Christmas, maybe 20 years ago when your mom read it to you, or—although I certainly hope not—maybe never. Whenever it may have been, most of us know the story line. The Grinch, with a heart “two sizes too small,” looks down upon the Whos in Whoville and is envious of all the fun they seem to be having. He heads down to town on Christmas Eve to steal all their presents and goodies from under their trees. What he ends up realizing is that theft did not ruin Christmas and he too would like to be as happy as the Whos. His heart grows three sizes, he ends up returning all their presents and is welcomed into the community.
So, you ask, what does this have to do with sponsorship? Recent developments may lead the federal government to apply UBIT more broadly to nonprofit sponsorship revenue (read more here). Sounds like the Grinch to me! more
Amid all of the tribulations brought on by a bad economy, nonprofits and their corporate partners certainly don’t need one more. But recessions impact governments too, and can cause them to look long and hard for ways to generate additional revenue to replace tax dollars lost.
So it shouldn’t surprise that the U.S. government is raising the specter of taxing some sponsorship revenue. Specifically, the Congressional Budget Office issued a paper last month titled “Tax Preferences for Collegiate Sports,” which can be downloaded here (http://www.cbo.gov/doc.cfm?index=10055). The document suggests that Congress consider reclassifying certain types of income derived from athletic programs as subject to unrelated business income tax, including income from corporate sponsorship. The justification for doing so is predicated mostly on the commercial nature of sports programs at many universities and the loose connection between those programs and the schools’ educational mission (unrelated business) combined with the significant benefits that accrue to the sponsors.
Although the CBO’s suggestion has many logical underpinnings, there are a number of reasons why it should raise real concern among all nonprofits and their corporate partners. For those outside of colleges and universities who may view this paper as irrelevant to them, let us remind you that the movement to scrutinize all nonprofit sponsorship revenue in the ’90s began with a single examination into the sponsorship revenues of the Mobil Cotton Bowl college football game. A few members of Congress might very well read this latest report and seek to apply its reasoning to sponsorship activities of zoos, museums, charities, etc.
While Independence Day celebrations and other types of community events have long honored veterans, policemen and other first responders, we’re seeing a growing number of properties use those efforts to secure new corporate partners.
Traverse City, Mich.’s National Cherry Festival this year will host its inaugural Heroes’ Day to celebrate veterans and other local heroes. The festival, which kicks off July 4, created the program in part to drive traffic on Monday, a day when attendance typically dips. The festival will recognize vets, policemen and others with a hero medallion that provides free access to a concert as well as discounts at concession stands, local merchants and hotels. more
In a post last week, I posed a couple scenarios where properties had to weigh the costs and benefits of allowing a sponsor to conduct certain activities.
From an outsider’s perspective, offering free samples to attendees or bringing volunteers for a day seems like a winning proposition all around. But the property often breaks even at best.
In this time of economic uncertainty, Bayer and its One A Day vitamins for men are enhancing the brand’s MLB sponsorship. This year will be the second year of the Strikeout Prostate Cancer Challenge in which Bayer donates $10 for every MLB strikeout. It has added additional MLB spokespeople; increased advertising, player appearances and media tours; and included blue wristbands and blue ribbon decals worn by MLB coaches and players on Father’s Day. All this on top of a program that in 2008 generated $328,840 for the Prostate Cancer Foundation, in support of prostate cancer research.
Recently, I shared my thoughts regarding an article in the Stanford Social Innovation Review on the subject of cause marketing. I want to be clear about my position on cause marketing. It is great for society! For all those who suffer from prostate cancer, or any other disease, we need more Bayer’s in this world. The funds generated through cause marketing programs like the Strikeout Prostate Cancer Challenge are vital in society’s ongoing fight against all forms of suffering.
So today I not only salute Bayer for its work, I challenge every other corporation around the globe, if they are not already doing so, to join in the fight against human suffering through cause marketing! more
I listen to so much discourse about the evolution of sponsorship and how it has—and has not—come into its own. From a [official] status symbol to an agent of [financial, societal, experiential] change, the medium continues to mature to reflect the thinking of a new day.
Yet, in years, sponsorship is a relatively immature medium, so what do we want sponsorship to be when it grows up? Should we worry that it will lose its youthful energy? Or do we look forward to the day when it puts away childish things, such as those elements that allow sponsor and property a moment of shared swagger but drive no value for the audience?
I am working with groups and companies in a number of sponsorship sectors right now that are actively, vocally trying to figure out what's next. more