September 9th, 2010
We were recently at a sponsored event that was hosted by a world renowned art museum and showcased the talents of several remarkably gifted musicians.
One sponsor, clearly still living in the land of magical thinking, elected to give away an ordinary solid-color t-shirt emblazoned with nothing but their logo and slogan. Instead of positioning the sponsor as an in-tune patron of the arts, the t-shirts commercialized and tarnished the event while awkwardly positioning the sponsor as ‘out of touch’ and ‘out of place.’
Abusing your logo and slinging together a trite tag line do not constitute a sponsorship strategy. It’s unlikely that your name alone inspires much impassioned support. Here’s a simple test… If you wouldn’t tattoo it on your own flesh, don’t waste the money emblazing it on a t-shirt.
Who you allow to sponsor your event and what you sponsor impacts your brand. Your brand’s story is reinforced or diluted by your real-life, day to day, actions, decisions, products, events, partnerships, sponsors…..
Allowing lackluster intrusions negatively impacts your event experience, cheapens your brand image, and devalues the return on investment for sponsors. When it’s clear that a sponsor can’t wrap their head around the inherent meaning and value of a particular event or organization, they reduce sponsorship to obnoxious noise and unwanted advertising
Event sponsorship demands far more than just banners, logos, and neon lights.
If your sponsors don’t passionately share your philosophy, get your values, relate your purpose, or connect with your target audience, it’s time to re-evaluate your sponsorship criteria.
An exampleof an event with well-paired sponsors is Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest. This year, Nathan’s was sponsored by Heinz and Pepto-Bismol.
Pepto-Bismol actually went on to host an official Major League Eating follow-up tour with the winner of the Nathan’s Famous contest, which they detailed via their facebook fan page.