Tag Archives: modesty marketing

“Sponsor our event, but you might have to wait five years”

Yesterday marked the 25th Anniversary of the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau Big Wave Surfing Event at Waimea Bay on the North Shore of Oahu in Hawaii. The event featured an elite group of surfers invited to compete in 25-40 ft. surf while a crowd of thousands watched from the sand, along with millions watching live on television and the web. Along with the surf and sun, Quiksilver is able to generate a tremendous amount of media coverage and ad space by presenting this specialty event.

Seems like a perfect scenario, right? Well, here’s the kicker. Although the event has been around 25 years, it has only actually run eight times. The contest is put on call every winter and will only run if perfect conditions align. As contest director George Downing famously stated, “the Bay calls the day”, making for years of waiting and close calls. From a sponsorship point of view, I wonder how difficult this makes it for organizers and corporate sponsors, having to be ready with a solid program at all times four months out of the year. Of course this must be tough logistically, but is it not also tough to keep past sponsors and gain new ones without any guarantee that the event will happen?

However the other, potentially beneficial, side of this “problem” is that the long waiting period adds a different value to the event. Although sponsors may not receive billing every year, they are aligning themselves with one of the most mystical and prestigious surf events in the world. Understandably the wait and anticipation creates a serious buzz amongst the demographic set that a sponsor would want to reach. This anticipation and level of viewership might be dulled if the contest were to run every winter season.

Understanding that the event could go years with out running, yet has all the power and stigma of any other professional surfing event, do you think sponsors come flocking or are more apt to hold back?

For more info on this event check out:

http://live.quiksilver.com/2009/edie/live.php?btn_live=_over

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Football and French Fries?

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McDonald’s recently signed on as an official primary sponsor of the Football Association of Thailand (soccer), in a deal valued just below $1,000,000. including cash for equipment, uniforms and travel. The total value also included meals from the quick service chain for the athletes. Now, it’s no surprise to see McDonald’s sponsoring sports, as they have long been a supporter of sports and athletes around the world. What spurred me to write this post was their continued inclusion of in-kind goods as part of the sponsorship.

Ever since 1968 when McDonald’s had hamburgers airlifted to France for homesick U.S. Olympic athletes, the idea of providing meals as part of their sponsorship has been an integral part of their plan. This plan has taken action in many ways, from providing meal vouchers to youth leagues around the world, all the way to building a custom McDonald’s in Beijing solely for the 2008 Olympic athletes.

While these sponsorships have been in place, so has a similar menu, known best for burgers and fries. At times people have questioned McDonald’s value as an athlete food source due to this fact. However, now providing more nutritious options for their customers and athletes alike, perhaps their sports sponsorships will make more sense in the eyes of fans around the globe.

Based on what you know about McDonald’s, let me ask you all a question:

Is the fact that their sports sponsorship program gives meals to athletes more beneficial now that they take a stronger stance on social responsibilty via healthier menu choices?

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2009 National Arts Marketing Project Conference

This past Saturday Performance Research was happy to attend the National Arts Marketing Project Conference held in Providence, Rhode Island.  Bill Doyle, industry guru and VP of Performance Research was present to take part on the panel titled “A Glimpse Behinde the Curtain: How Corporate Sponsors Think, Decide, and Execute.”  Besides Bill, the panel included Alice Sachs Zimet of Arts + Business Partners, Stephen Prostano of Silver Bridge Advisors and Kerri Cleghorn of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.  Each of the speakers captivated the nearly 200 attendees in the room,  speaking about individual experiences and sharing professional insights on the nature of corporate art sponsorship.

Click the pics below for more info!

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Sponsorship of Volunteers?

volunteer

Well, I guess we have the volunteers, but how about some more sponsors?

Over the past few years certain numbers have been dropping all around us. But while incomes, employments rates and budgets have been on the decline, it’s surprising to see that one number is actually up. We are referring to the increase of volunteers in the United States. Whether or not people are volunteering more due to compassion during a time of economic struggle is up for debate, but the fact is that there were 61.8 million people with documented volunteer hours in the U.S. last year, one million more than the previous year.

Seeing how volunteerism is more prominent than ever, it seems a perfect opportunity for sponsors to offer support to the people and groups who are donating their time and energy to a cause. A sponsor could make arrangements to be present at events, whether it is a beach cleanup, a community program aimed to mentor youth, or any of the thousands of volunteer opportunities available to the public. In doing so, the sponsors are supporting the individuals volunteering, in turn adding value to the cause as a whole. Some forms of support that a sponsor could offer would be donating funds, giving out their product for free, offering discounts on product, or perhaps providing food and drinks for the volunteers.

By sponsoring the volunteers a company would touch each person individually, helping them feel appreciated and accomplished. Also, the sponsor would look good in the public eye through this act of community support. As volunteering continues to grow, let’s hope that sponsor support can keep in step. By the looks of it, all sides will benefit. What do you think?

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Performance Research Study Rings True at Corporate Sponsored Events

“As Consumers Change the Way They Spend in Tough Economic Times, They Expect Corporate Sponsors to do the Same” was the title of a March 2009 press release issued by Performance Research. The release, which included data from a Performance Research online survey conducted amongst a sample of American consumers, highlighted the American perspective on corporate sponsorship spending in the midst of troubled economic times.

barandarrow copyThe results of the survey offered some critical opinions of corporate spending on sports sponsorships. While 23% of respondents agreed that companies should spend less on sports sponsorships, an even greater number respondents (48%) said that they actually become angry when discovering that a corporation has a hospitality or VIP box at a sporting event.

A recent article published in the New York Times indicates a growing trend in the methods of “Stealth Spending” given current consumer attitudes towards corporate spending on sports sponsorships, supporting the findings of the study conducted by Performance Research. The article references the U.S. Open Golf Tournament, held on Long Island earlier this summer, and discusses how the companies sponsoring corporate hospitality tents kept a low profile throughout the event. While in previous years, many corporations paying for these tents – including Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and Morgan Stanley – went all out on both spending and logo branding, this year a more tentative approach was taken in their sponsorship activation. While spending may or may not have been cut back, more noticeable was the removal of branding. According to The Times, this was evident in the lack of banners, logos on shirts, branded merchandise and other items that may be considered over the top or lavish. While the brands did spend some cash, they kept themselves away from public criticism as they continued their sponsorship in private, reaching only the clients they chose to entertain.

high quality logoThis image of “Stealth Spending” that The New York Times presents when discussing this year’s U.S. Open runs parallel to the idea of “Modesty Marketing” suggested by Performance Research just a few months ago when presenting our study at the 2009 IEG Annual Sponsorship Conference. The majority of respondents in the Performance Research study agreed that in today’s economy, it is more important than ever for companies to appear humble (64%). The consistency between the aformentioned results and the actions at the event show how the corporations are listening to the public. By paying for the events, but not widely promoting the fact, the corporations are able to maintain a sponsorship marketing program while managing to look more conservative in the public eye.

It is good to see corporations embracing the market shifts described in the Performance Research study. It will be interesting to see how public opinion on corporate sponsorship spending is affected by future shifts in the country’s economy.

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