Chapter 11 – Public Relations, Sponsorships, and Direct Promotion
- Understanding sponsorships
A sponsorship involves paying a fee to have the company’s corporate or brand name associated with different events, causes and places. Sponsorships are designed to increase brand awareness, improve corporate image among existing target markets. Below are a few examples of sponsorship opportunities:
- Imprinted on Sports Apparel
The CES trade show is the largest consumer electronics trade show. It is the place where electronics manufacturers display their latest and anticipated future technology (Figure 11.1). In addition to paying for a trade show booth and advertising through the venue, companies sponsor everything from coffee stations, food, bags, mugs, earbuds and all manner of products to create brand and corporate awareness during the show. ‡
Even though sponsorships are expensive, they can be an effective way to signal a successful corporate image. In Canada, companies spent $3 billion on sponsorships in 2018. Over 50% of Canadian sponsorships was for professional sports, followed by amateur sports (18.7%), arts (11%), festivals (8.3%), and causes/non-profit (5.6%) (O’Reilly, 2019). ‡
Scotiabank Arena is an example of a sponsorship of a venue (Figure 11.2). It is the home of the Toronto Raptors of the National Basketball Association and the Toronto Maple Leafs of the National Hockey League. It was previously known as the Air Canada Centre but due to the COVID pandemic, Air Canada made the decision to stop many of their promotional efforts until travel begins to return to normal. ‡
Product placement involves placing products within a video, and are designed to generate exposure, brand awareness, and interest. Typically, a company pays a fee to have one of its products placed in the video that is produced independently from them. Given the number of exposures a company receives with product placement, the cost of a product placement can be less expensive than commercials might cost. Another benefit of product placement is that consumers are often skeptical of advertisements, whereas they tend to find independent videos more believable and trustworthy.
A well known example of a long-lasting product placement agreement is with the Audi Car Company and Marvel movies, which began in 2008 with the first Iron Man movie and continued with The Avengers, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Captain America: Civil War (Sylt, 2019).
Although most product placements appear in television shows and movies, companies are pursuing other options. For example, they are now placing products in streamed videos, computer games, and even books. ‡
When considering a sponsorship or product placement, companies will want to consider whether the target audience of the video or vehicle is similar to the target audience that they are trying to reach and that the values of the cause, place or event are similar to the company’s brand and corporate values (Bishop, 2021). ‡