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Brands love sponsoring stuff.
You name it, they sponsor it.
Of course some sponsorship is both commercially valuable and creatively powerful – or at least one of the two – however there are a lot of times where the impression you are left with is it was done because the CEO likes it.
There’s two ways you can tell.
1. They run ads that say, “The passion [insert athlete, sports team, band, etc] has for [insert activity], matches the passion we have to make to make the best [insert cars, food, drink, chocolate].
2. They do stuff like this:
What the fuck?
Photocopier machines. Basketball players. The line, “Giving Shape To Ideas”.
It feels like some weird school exam where they shove a bunch of random words together and your task is to find how they interconnect. Except in this case, they don’t.
As much as our job is to make the uninteresting, interesting – that doesn’t mean you have to go to such ridiculously bad extremes.
Years ago I was approached by a photocopier company.
While they knew who they needed to target with startling clarity, their approach – which basically swung wildly between facts about their reliability or contrived razzmatazz – just wasn’t cutting it.
Our approach was to start from scratch.
We spent a bunch of time with their salesmen, clients, office workers, secretaries and from all that a fucking awesome insight came out.
“The only reason people know the brand of the photocopier they use, is if it breaks down all the time”
It was with this – and the fact they were quantifiably more reliable than all the key competitive brands – that we ran a campaign entitled “Introducing the photocopier you’ll never know the name of” … and you know what, it worked gangbusters.
I’m not saying this to be a smug bastard, I’m saying this because if the purpose of communication is to try and help sell stuff on behalf of our clients, it’s not necessary to go out and sponsor a basketball team, nor spend copious amounts of cash on an outdoor billboard [errrrm, especially not spend copious amounts of cash on an outdoor billboard], it’s simply knowing who you need to talk to and what will influence them.
Not over the top.
Just the most basic principles of communication practice.
As I said, sponsorship can be great – especially when it enables you to ‘lock out’ competitors in high-sales environments – but there are far too many deals that have seemingly been done for no other reason than to satisfy ego or self interest … and while I don’t know the intricacies of the Konica Minolta / Basketball deal, I would give anything to see how they are going to evaluate the return on their investment, but then I have always enjoyed reading fiction.
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