Gone are the days of sponsors throwing money to rights holders purely as a badging exercise. Now it is all about cleverly linking unique experiences to the sponsoring brand to create optimum, memorable engagement. Simple logo plastering is out. Authenticity is the name of the game.
As events and sponsorship management professionals it is crucial for us to strike a balance between pleasing sponsors and providing the ultimate experience for attendees, ticket holders and guests. How can we incorporate a brand’s story while staying true to the event aesthetic? Can we utilise our sponsors’ mission to provide tangible value to busy delegates? How can we stand out in a meaningful way amongst all of the other noise going on?
These questions are front and centre every time we search for, sign or incorporate a new sponsor into a project – and we know we aren’t alone! Recent pondering has led us to curate this short and sweet list of a few stand-out sponsorships in action:
1) JOB SEEKER DISCOUNT TICKET SPONSORSHIP
The British Museum and Goldman Sachs teamed up to provide £1 tickets for job seekers during the Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum exhibition in 2013. A simple yet effective way to encourage those that may not be able to afford a full-price ticket to access the arts, while giving your sponsor’s name a warm glow in the hands of the receiving ticket holders.
2) 4G FARM ANIMALS MEDIA PARTNERS
Artist Hank Kruger was commissioned by EE, Glastonbury’s then festival technology partner, to decorate and install life-sized, cow-shaped charging stations at the world-famous music festival in 2014. Kruger has been involved with the festival since 1980. An incredibly fun way to co-mingle long-standing vendors, sponsors and interactive art to provide a valuable service to festival-goers (instead of bombarding them with marketing literature).
3) IDENTIFYING THE PERFECT CORPORATE FIT
When the V&A was given unprecedented access to the David Bowie Archive in New York to curate the first international retrospective of his extraordinary career in 2013, it recognised the need to present Bowie’s music with the same care as physical artefacts and recreate the sound experience of a live performance. The Museum developed an exciting partnership with state of the art audio specialists Sennheiser, to provide the 4th dimension for the exhibition – a sonic landscape that provided an additional form of interpretation to the exhibition – truly sound and vision. David Bowie is afforded Sennheiser the opportunity to share globally its long-term goal; The Pursuit of Perfect Sound. Sennheiser have supported the worldwide tour with close to 2 million people having now seen the exhibition, which just opened in New York, in keeping with Bowie’s wishes for its finale. A great example of in-kind support and meaningful product placement. Revel’s Sophie Blake worked on this partnership during her time at the V&A, and she now brings those razor-sharp skills to our commercial strategy outfit.
4) EVENT SPONSORS TAKING THE HIGH ROAD
The Olympic Games are a money-making machine. Lavish TV contracts and 13 top sponsors place almost $900 million into the International Olympic Committees’ account. With a global audience and such large sums of money in play, you would think sales messaging would be at the forefront of a sponsors’ mind. However, Procter & Gamble has taken a different approach with its award-winning “Thank You, Mom” campaign. Launched in 2010 and still running strong, this partnership has brought people together, inspired inclusion and used this grand stage as a platform to be a force for good all while showing support to their largest sales demographic, the mums of the world. Added to the cash investment, P&G stock the Olympic facilities, vending machines and provide industrial laundry care for athletes (think of all that sweaty spandex!). This excellently shows the ability sponsorship has to key into emotions whilst leveraging real connections that bring long-term brand loyalty to a target audience.
5) PRACTICAL SERVICES, SPONSORED
At the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Tennessee, insurance firm State Farm set up the #HereToHelp Lounge and provided festival goers with a wide-variety of practical services to show they care. AC for the overspent, WiFi and charging for the unconnected and free vehicle assistance for those locked out or needing a jump. All this free of charge!
6) BRANDING GOING BIG FOR THE GREATER GOOD
Foreign exchange company Travelex has partnered with the National Theatre for 16 years. This pioneering sponsorship programme came about as the NT recognised high ticket prices were a barrier to first-time attendees and that regular patrons would attend more frequently were lower price tickets available. Thanks to Travelex, almost half the seats for a range of new productions are just £15, thereby democratising culture by making it more accessible to everyone. Over 1.3 million Travelex tickets have been sold since it began. The NT’s neon tower being lit up with Travelex’s logo of course gives great brand exposure and this partnership is widely recognised as a brilliant example of arts and business working together to mutual benefit.
7) SPONSORS COMMITMENT TO COMMUNITIES
When research by the FA showed that only 41% of girls aged 10 play football, compared to 95% of boys of the same age, Scottish energy company SSE saw an opportunity to support change in communities. Instead of seeking massive exposure through national team sponsorship, they jumped at the chance to affect the lives of their customers on a grassroots level. SSE Wildcats: The FA Girls’ Football Participation Programme provides a safe environment where girls new to football can engage in sport, develop fundamental skills and build confidence. So far, 64 clubs across England have benefitted with plans to create a further 800 centres in 2018. Promotion of social change and gender equality is creating a real connection for SSE. Whilst sponsorship of national adult teams gives mass-brand exposure, we like this one precisely because it doesn’t do that. In an age where women’s sport is finally starting to receive the mainstream attention it deserves, these are exactly the sorts of moves that should be made. We say, game on.
This list is just a drop in the bucket when it comes to examples of how to creatively weave sponsors into an event or campaign, but each campaign stood out to us as having distinct ingenuity.
To learn more about our background as a bespoke and consultative events and sponsorship management company, please view our client portfolio. If you like what you see, give us a shout. We are always ready for creative sponsor-friendly collaboration!