While corporate sponsorship has been the mainstay of growing financial support for many American pastimes, corporate sponsorship of fine and performing arts has somehow been left behind as more and more money is being spent on everything from Pro Football to the Olympic Games.
Audiences and sponsorships are well documented in sports, but until recently, little has been known about Arts audiences. How do they compare?
Over one-half (56%) of those with an interest in the Arts say they would "Almost always" or "Frequently" buy a product sponsoring Arts or Cultural events over one that does not. In contrast, according to previous Performance Research studies, only about a one-third (36%) of NFL fans, one-third (34%) of America's Cup yachting enthusiasts and less than one-fifth (17%) of the 1996 Olympic Games audience chose products based on their sponsorships. (The highest sponsor loyalty numbers have traditionally been seen in motorsports, where as many as 72% claim to preferentially select sponsors' products)
Even more revealing was that almost one-half (48%) of Americans with an interest in Art and Cultural events indicated that they hold a "Higher" trust in companies that sponsor these events compared to those who do not, while only 16% of Olympic Games enthusiasts claim a "Higher" trust in their sponsors.
What does all this mean for corporate connoisseurs? For those brands marketing to a more refined audience, there is ample opportunity. According to the nationwide study, this new breed of art and culture consumers sketch themselves as "Family oriented", "Active", "Mature", "Fun loving", "Traditional", and "Socially liberal". They can best be described as married (58%), middle income ($30-$60K), baby boomers (average age 47) with a penchant for traveling. These consumers with an interest in the Arts are brand loyal purchasers that appreciate corporate involvement and are not yet inundated by the advertising and sponsorship clutter so apparent in other pastimes.
So has the picture been painted? ..... Does this study predicate a corporate free-for-all in sponsoring events such as last season's Philadelphia Cezanne exhibit or Boston's Opening Night at Pops?
Not necessarily. Although most forms of advertising used to promote corporate art and cultural sponsorships are widely accepted, the audience did have their "beaux des Arts" standards, particularly eschewing affiliations with alcohol, beer, and tobacco companies. Curiously in addition to the above "sins", in a list of over twelve possible promotions, "Lobby based auto displays" were specifically identified as "Inappropriate" in the world of art and cultural sponsorship.
Performance Research measured the nationwide art and cultural audiences in an independent study of over 600 respondents ranging from occasional (1 per year) to frequent (5 per year) visitors of Museums, Galleries, Performing Arts or Cultural Events.
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