With a portfolio that ranges from music tours to branded entertainment, The Clorox Co. has long used sponsorship as a go-to platform to connect with consumers and drive sales.

Now the company is taking the marketing strategy to the next level.

Looking to gain marketing efficiencies across multiple brands, Clorox has followed the lead of The Coca-Cola Co. and other active sponsors by creating an in-house entertainment marketing team.

The company launched the team in July—the beginning of its fiscal year—to scout, spearhead and manage sponsorship opportunities that can be leveraged across multiple brands and audience segments.  

“Clorox has been a thought leader in the entertainment marketing space, but our goal is to build on past successes by developing more powerful and efficient integrated campaigns,” said Drew McGowan, senior group manager, entertainment marketing, who spearheaded the new department.

The department oversees mass-market and multicultural marketing programs across Clorox’s portfolio of brands, added McGowan, who manages the unit with Lupe De Los Santos, group manager, entertainment marketing.

In addition to its eponymous bleach brand, Clorox markets Pine-Sol cleaner, Kingsford charcoal, Glad trash bags and other products.

IEG SR spoke with McGowan about the thinking behind the new entertainment marketing group, what Clorox looks for in sponsorship proposals, and other topics. Below are edited excerpts from the conversation. 

IEG SR: Clorox created the entertainment marketing team to gain marketing efficiencies across multiple brands. How did the company previously approach sponsorship?  

McGowan: When a property, record label or TV show has an idea, they might know someone at Clorox to call, or they might call our receptionist and ask for a brand manager.

Each brand has its own strategy, objectives, budget and leadership.  A sponsorship opportunity for Hidden Valley might not be the right fit, but the brand manager might not pass the opportunity to a brand where there is a fit.

That’s not the best way to go. We want to make sure, externally, that people who represent an opportunity know that we have a centralized resource that can look across our umbrella of brands versus an individual brand.

IEG SR:  Other companies also have centralized sponsorship departments. How does Clorox’s approach differ?

McGowan: Other companies have gone down this road, but they’re much bigger players than Clorox. We don’t always have the biggest budgets, and we need to be smart about partnerships and make sure we leverage relationships.

That includes properties or people that we currently work with or have worked with in the past. Even if the fit isn’t right today, we want to keep the relationship going so that we’re able to be as efficient as possible and get the biggest bang for our buck. We can’t afford to make mistakes.

IEG SR: Can you share an example of the strategy in action?

McGowan: This year we tried out a new partnership with Univision and the H20 Music Festival in Dallas and Los Angeles.

Univision took a multicultural approach to the event. Each festival had Mexican bands as well as mass-market acts. There were regional Mexican bands that were followed by Snoop Dog and John Legend. That was based on Univision’s insight that Hispanics and Latinos aren’t tuning into just one type of music. They came up with the brilliant idea of bringing Hispanic and mass market acts together on one stage.

We activated the sponsorship across a portfolio of brands including Kingsford, Clorox, Pine-Sol and Fraganzia, which is a new brand. If the entertainment marketing team didn’t exist, I’m not sure the program would have happened.

IEG SR: What do you look for in sponsorship proposals?

McGowan: Properties that reach out to us need to have an in-depth knowledge of our brands and consumers. We don’t have the internal resources to look at every proposal. I wish we did, but we just don’t have that much bandwidth.

My advice to anyone looking for a sponsorship opportunity is to know as much as possible about our brands, who they target, what we have done before from an overall marketing perspective and what our retail partners are doing in that space. Those are important considerations that help get your foot in the door.

Too often I get proposals that are extremely generic. It looks like they didn’t even bother to go to our web site, let alone do deeper research. I get 15 to 20 proposals a week, and 95 percent are off base.

One of the things that I love to do is start small. If you come to me with a deal that is too good to turn down, we can start small and build the relationship.