In step with IEG’s projection that North American companies will increase their spending on marathons and running events by 2.5 percent in 2009 (to an estimated $86.1 million), I had the pleasure of participating in an inaugural half marathon event on November 22nd.
The first-time event—the Women’s Running magazine Women’s Half Marathon to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society—was held in St. Petersburg, Florida. While I was first and foremost there as a charity runner, I had plenty of time on and off the course to check out the sponsorship activity. While my running resume is by no means prolific (especially compared to IEG’s resident ultramarathoner Shan Riggs), I have participated in enough races of varying distances, sizes and sponsor profiles to know the drill. 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
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. more
P&G has stepped up sponsorship activity around its Cincinnati headquarters, signing title of Memorial Day weekend’s Taste of Cincinnati and expanding its partnership with last month’s Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon.
The soap giant activated both deals with a handful of brands, each of which gained ownership of an on-site proprietary program. For example, the Taste of Cincinnati featured the Pampers Stroller Speed lane, the Bounty Quilted Picker Uppers cleaning teams and the Old Spice Swagger Zone, a special seating area where attendees could watch Cincinnati Reds games on a giant TV.
At the Flying Pig Marathon, P&G’s Tide used branded laundry carts to pick up clothing discarded by runners, Old Spice High Endurance deodorant awarded a prize to marathoners who ran the last mile the fastest, while Mr. Clean sponsored the Clean Your Clock fastest split-time award.
The strategy makes a lot of sense: In addition to promoting its hometown presence, P&G was able to make a more meaningful connection with its target audience by integrating its products into the fabric of each event. The multi-brand strategy also allowed P&G to spread the cost of the sponsorships over multiple budgets.
Way to go, P&G. more