For me, New Year’s Day consists of not much else than watching college football. But, as I reclined in my seat for hours on end to celebrate the beginning of 2013, I found myself taking notice of the bowl game sponsors. How were they using this pricey sponsorship as an opportunity to market themselves to the audience?
While some brands seemed to think that slapping their name and logo on the bowl would be enough to get them all the new awareness and patronage they could handle, others opted for a more engaging approach. Here are a few techniques I noticed during the games that could help ensure your next sponsorship brings the kind of result you want it to.
- Use the event as a content creator – Generating branded content around the larger experience is a great way to get more out of a sponsorship and connect with the audience. Capital One did this by creating a competition called the ‘Mascot Challenge’ which pits schools against each other for a fun and humorous battle for mascot supremacy. This idea works because it gets students and other spectators involved with the game, and the BCS series as a whole, while allowing for an entire advertising campaign to run around it.
- Have a call-to-action – You have the eyes and ears of a large audience. What do you want them to do? The Outback Steakhouse wanted people to eat at their restaurant. So, they created a special promotion around their bowl sponsorship. Depending on which team won their game, the restaurant gave one of two appetizers to diners for free. This is a simple, practical idea to get butts in the booths. Consumers respond to incentives. Why not offer them one?
- Promote early and often – Your sponsorship may only cover a 1-day event. That’s no excuse not to use it as a marketing tool for as long as possible. Discover, sponsors of the BCS championship game, decided to reveal the game logo in January of 2012. Making it known early on that you are sponsoring a major event can get your brand noticed well in advance of the actual event, and help create buzz to build on as the date approaches. Creating content that can be delivered as a ‘big reveal’ can bring the attention of many more eyes (as was the case with this logo unveiling).
Sponsoring an event can be a worthwhile way to build awareness for a brand. Sell too hard and you risk annoying your audience. But, take an approach that seeks to enhance the overall experience, and your investment will pay off.