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Congress Targets the Sponsorship Industry... Again.

by David Rachell
21 05 2012

Admittedly, I’m not a huge NASCAR fan.  For no reason in particular, I just haven’t found the time to embrace the sport.  I’ve friends who glue themselves to the oval church on Sunday’s and swear by the techniques, strategies and powerful athletes that make NASCAR the “it” sport.  Good for them.


The other day, a USA Today article noted that an amendment is in a U.S. House defense committee preventing the military from sponsoring NASCAR and  other such sports.  In fact, they're looking to bar "any professional or semi-professional motorsports, fishing, wrestling or other sports.” 


Last year, I wrote about Minnesota Democrat Betty McCollum attempting to prevent military spending on sporting events. That bill failed.  Now, Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga is sponsoring a similar bill this time with McCollum as the co-sponsor.


Representative Kingston told  USA Today, that he's got to lead by example.  “I love NASCAR,” he says, "but it’s not a good recruiting tool.  Since we have to make some serious decisions in the name of the USA, NASCAR fans will appreciate that.”


Representative Kingston’s background as an insurance salesman for the ag industry qualifies him to make such definitive statements, I’m sure.


The National Guard reports that they quantified over 16,000 leads from their NASCAR relationship in 2008, and nearly 54,000 in 2009.  Kingston claims "the people that go to these events are the type that like to join the Army and very patriotic, but you cannot quantify the results.”


The military claims that with an all-volunteer military, it’s necessary to maintain visibility of their brand and build relationships through marketing to connect with their target audience. Sponsorship has a way of creating high visibility and engaging target consumers through experiences and emotions that transcend advertising.  


So, if you’re going to prevent the military from using sponsorship, why not also prevent the use of billboards,  broadcast or other forms of advertising?  Where’s the quantifiable results that indicates that those forms of advertising are more effective for the National Guard or the Air Force?


I’m all for spending cuts too, but why single out one type of advertising over another? I would guess that the Radio Ad Bureau and the Broadcaster's Association may be protecting the interest of those groups.  But, who's protecting the sponsorship industry?


I believe we must act to establish a professional organization that will advocate on our behalf and support the industry. Remaining silent will only allow opportunities for misperception to continue.  Like now, we have politicians once again misrepresenting the frivolity of the industry without a voice to counter the truth. 


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Categories:   General | industry happenings | Spotlight on Sponsorship
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More on your role as a sponsorship seller

by Stephanie Lochmiller
16 05 2012

Today, we turn our blog over to Gail Bower for her insights into the sponsorship world. Gail Bower is president of Bower & Co. Consulting LLC, a firm that specializes in dramatically raising the visibility, revenue, and impact of non-profit organizations. She’s a professional consultant, writer, and speaker, with more than 20 years of experience managing some of the country’s most important events, festivals and sponsorships and implementing marketing programs for clients. Launched in 1987, today Bower & Co. improves the effectiveness and results of clients’ marketing, events, and corporate sponsorship programs.

Read Gail's Blog, More on your role as a sponsorship seller.

Categories:   General | industry happenings | Marketing | Sponsorship resources | sponsorship sales
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Walk the Talk

by David Rachell
9 05 2012

There have been a number of stories lately surrounding the protest of event sponsors. Companies are being targeted because it seems that what they sponsor and their practices are perceived to be at odds with one another. 


As an example, McDonald’s has been a recent target of protests by British doctors indicating that fast food menus don’t belong in the Olympic Village when so many Britain’s are obese.   In addition, Coca-Cola and Heineken were also pointed out as “bad for you” products that are partners with the Olympics.   According to the Guardian Newspaper, protestors were developing several coordinated campaigns aimed against those companies accused of using the Games to cover up unethical corporate activities.


To the Olympic Committee’s defense, Coca-Cola and McDonald’s have been sponsors for a long time, back to when these products weren’t so bad for you and people weren’t so obese (figure that one out).  To their credit, these companies have introduced programs and products committed to supporting healthier platforms.  And just look at how those active, healthy athletes have been eating McDonald’s food at the Olympic Village for years! (I’ve seen the commercials).


The Olympics represent this coming together of peoples from all forms and ideologies in the name of sport, to achieve and learn from one another and somehow make the world a bit better.  It truly does capture the imagination of millions worldwide and seems to have meaning for most of us.  The Olympic Committee has stated outright that without sponsor funding from McDonald’s and others, the games just wouldn't happen.  So, for better or worse, these groups are insuring that the Olympic “spirit” burns using their corporate dollars to keep the flame going.


The protestors and the Olympics need to keep in mind, however, that sponsorship can be a powerful force for change within the corporate structure.  Sponsorship provides these companies with an opportunity to internally come together under one umbrella.  From leadership down to the janitor, successful sponsorships are based, in part, on how the sponsorship relationship becomes part of the corporate DNA.  The Olympic Committee has the power to assist those brands in reshaping their ideas simply by encouraging the companies to activate their relationship.


So, perhaps because of the Olympic relationship, those companies under protest find an opportunity to make themselves a bit better BECAUSE of their involvement.  Maybe we should be embracing those companies that choose to talk the talk, because that might give them the opportunity to walk the talk, too. 


It’s hard to say.  But, sponsorship is a powerful tool.

Categories:   Elements of a Proposal | industry happenings | sponsorship activation | Sponsorship resources | Sponsorship Valuation
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