Sponsorship on the up but be wary of unexpected outcomes
Research published in Marketing Week indicates that Brands are spending more on sports sponsorship, as a way of ‘driving emotional attachment’ while marketing budgets are under close scrutiny.
This finding is backed up by PwC who is claiming that ‘the sports industry will receive more from sponsorship than gate receipts by 2015’.
From a brand manager’s perspective, it has always been a challenge to show how a sponsorship deal can equate to a credible impact on a brand in sales terms. Accepting that not everything done in the name of marketing communications has to lead to more profits, historically there has been a gap in the measurement of added value. Sponsorship has always been an important component of the brand mix, and if brands and their agencies are finding that it is having more impact on consumer behaviour patterns then that is great.
Perhaps the measurement of the value of sponsorship is finally losing its stigma. Some years ago I worked in the marketing team for a PC Manufacturer. Like many brands at that time we were proud shirt sponsors of a Championship Football Club, which entitled us to a variety of merchandising and home ground advertising opportunities.
When I asked my MD what did we actually get out of the relationship he proudly directed me to his archive of yellowing newspaper cuttings from the sports pages of the tabloid press. A couple of season’s back the team had been triumphant against a top-notch Premiership side in a notable cup competition. The sight of the mud streaked, blood stained footballers hugging themselves in ecstasy while their vastly more experienced and expensive opponents clutched their heads in agony was truly heart warming.
‘Look at all this coverage’ said my boss,’ we could never afford to buy this much newspaper advertising space on our own’.
Some time later we received a letter from a supporter of the club in a plain brown envelope. The PC enthusiast had somehow managed to get himself selected to take part in a photo shoot for a lads mag. By coincidence, two attractive models shared the fan’s love of the team (and of our brand) and were pictured in various states of undress with the supporter. He proudly wore his shirt as the two models proceeded to show a close interest in the young fan.
The fan thought that this valuable exposure of our brand was worthy of a donation by us to recompense him for the experience, as all the readers of the magazine would be going out to buy one of our PCs having seen the effect that the brand had on the models in the photoshoot (remind you of a recent deodorant campaign?)
Against the odds he had worn his football shirt out of a sense of duty- and had kept his head while all about were losing theirs…..
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