SPONSORSHIP: Sports arenas and entertainment
CLIENT: Soft drink
PROBLEM: As a sponsor with the majority of professional
sports stadiums, arenas, and concert venues, there was a concern
that the brand was being viewed only as a product to be bought
at the event, rather than as an official sponsor.
METHODOLOGY: Using a single city as a model
market, the sponsor implemented focus groups as well as quantitative
on-site and telephone research among attendees at nearly all of
the available sports, entertainment, and recreation venues, covering
a wide range of events such as basketball, baseball, soccer, concerts,
auto races, museums, theme parks, movie theaters, fairs and festivals.
INITIAL FINDINGS: Preliminary research confirmed
that although the brand was associated with the sport or venue,
the sponsor’s presence was viewed as “wallpaper”
- detracting rather than adding value to the event experience.
More importantly, the company was viewed as supplier rather than
a sponsor, and as unfairly profiting from the venue relationship
by deliberately setting high prices for their product in a setting
where there was no purchase alternative.
ACTION TAKEN: Recognizing a serious problem
in sports sponsorships, the company’s entire sponsorship
strategy was changed to directly respond to the needs, desires,
and emotions of core consumers. Sponsorships that could not add
value to the entertainment experience were dropped, and the money
saved was diverted to on-site activations where the sponsor could
take a leading role in enriching the positive atmosphere of the
FOLLOW-UP RESEARCH: New sponsorship activations
were tested both quantitatively and qualitatively on a regular
basis to determine relevance to consumers and resulting effects
on brand image and purchase intent. In addition, a separate research
project identifying product purchase costs and perceived value
was implemented to search for opportunities to reduce the negative
impact of inflated venue prices.
RESULTS: The sponsor has continued this research
format (preliminary focus groups, re-design of the sponsorship,
and quantitative testing of new programs) as contracts in all
sponsorship areas are presented for renewal.
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