Beyond the self-indulgence of sponsorship
Some people think that sponsorship is one big piss-take. Self-indulgent people pleasing themselves by climbing mountains and going on long runs with the audacity to ask others to fund it. The IOC, Coca-Cola, Adidas and Fifa see it differently. So do I.
The majority of us assume the default position of today’s consumer is “I don’t give a shit.”
Smart (or at least observational) brands recognise that people don’t go looking for advertising. They search for entertainment and useful information like sports, music and film, and it’s here – where consumers meet entertainment – that brands can join in and talk to the people they want to target. Well thought-out sponsorships offer exactly this opportunity, and so 2013 will see successful brands diving into sponsorship for one of three reasons:
To tell you a story: If no-one knows who you are – find them when they’re somewhere they want to be (and in a positive frame of mind) and tell them! If you go to M.J. Bale’s website they’ll tell you they offer “supremely-tailored, intelligently-designed garments.” I only know that because the suits the Australian cricket team wear are woven from the backs of sheep who’ve grazed on the turf of the Sydney Cricket Ground. In the words of Richie Benaud: “Marvellous!”
To show you what they can do: For mobile and payment brands,live events and stadia partnerships provide an opportunity for the likes of EE, Orange and Barclaycard to show people what they’re made of at when they are more receptive. Orange came into contact with 140,000 people at Glastonbury each year, all of whom are alert and excited. They want live music, a beer and whatever they can lay their hands on – but they lap up the entire experience. It is their biggest weekend.
So by encouraging people to buy beer, buy tickets, download the festival guide or watch festival highlights exclusively via a mobile device, people see and feel first-hand what’s possible. When they’re excited by it, they share it.
To sell more: Procter & Gamble signed a cheque to the IOC for $100m. They aimed to increase sales of Pampers and Pantene by $500m through sponsorship of London 2012, while Adidas had done their numbers even before London 2012 had started, citing “unprecedented” sales in sportswear linked back to the Games.
So keep your eyes open for those that follow one of those three routes in 2013. But remember to keep one eye out for the piss-takers as well.
Jim Dowling, managing partner, Cake