The Crypto sponsorship landgrab

Crypto. has been one of the biggest spenders in the sports sponsorship market over the last three years, putting its brand to properties including FIFA World Cup, F1 and the Aston Martin team, UFC, Australia Football League and the naming rights to the Staples Centre in Los Angeles – amongst others.‘s awesome head of […]

Attentive reach and emotional impact

In our post of Jan 3, we explored the relevance of sponsorship to the concept of attentive reach.  But we also asked an unresolved question around the relationship between attention and emotional impact which we’re returning to here. In our post, we looked at the growing focus on attentive reach, which has been brought on […]

A brief history of sponsorship

The whole sponsorship thing feels very modern – but its roots go way back. We explored the roots and the close connections to philanthropy in an earlier post. So for now, we thought we’d simply tell a story, a brief history of sponsorship. Over 2000 years, execution has changed substantially, but its core purpose has […]

James Williams on sponsorship

Coca Cola and the Olympics is sport’s most enduring commercial relationship. But how does it work on the inside? How relevant is the Games to today’s Coke drinker? Is the Olympic TOP programme still fit for purpose? And how can the IOC balance its promises around sustainability with the reality of hosting massive, multi-sport events, […]

Sport’s leadership crisis?

One of the points made by ex Coke man James Williams, in his excellent interview for Unofficial Partner Episode #301 was to argue that the IOC should be more pro-active in setting a progressive  framework to enforce improvements in Olympic sustainability in Games delivery. We’ve always recognised huge value in host cities using their bids […]

The sponsorship case for Green Football Weekend

The inaugural Green Football Weekend took place over the first weekend of February 2023 and cemented its fixture on the UK football calendar. Over 80 clubs took part in the inaugural GFW, including all the EPL, an amazing feat in itself – added to which the support of Sky and BT Sport made GFW1 unmissable. If it […]

The Secret Lives of Sports Fans

If you’re interested in the psychology of fandom, it’s worth taking a look at Eric Simons’ ‘The Secret Lives of Sports Fans‘. Simons is a journalist, author and diehard Cal Golden Bears fan who approaches the subject by trying to understand a number of his own experiences as a fan. What he calls The Secret […]

Sponsorship 101 : Sponsorship rights

#2  in our Sponsorship 101 series aims to give a broad base understanding of sponsorship rights. When you think about the enormous range of rights-holders out there, from airports to zoos, it’s easy enough to imagine the enormous range of sponsorship rights which rights-holders can offer in their sponsorship package. We’ve worked with hundreds of […]

Can sponsorship deliver attentive reach?

There’s probably no better time to talking about sponsorship and attentive reach than in the days after a World Cup Final. But first kudos and appreciation to Tim Cairns, who recently directed us to the term attentive reach – a term which has been growing slowly in currency over the last three years. What does […]

The power of broadcast sponsorship

Sponsorship Rocks Not that we spend all Christmas watching TV – far from it. But a post on broadcast sponsorship does still seem somehow more fitting at this time of the year. We used to see broadcast sponsorship mainly as a media buy – but that changed with the innovation of creative bumpers branding from […]

The role of emotion in sponsorship

The Psychology of Sponsorship #5 The 5th in our series of posts on the psychology of sponsorship looks at the role of emotion in sponsorship. All these posts have largely revolved around the momentous realisation over the laast 20 years that decisions and judgements are more ruled by emotion than rationality. Pioneers in neuroscience and […]

Sponsorship perception : Coca-Cola & COP

The genie is out the bottle We weren’t alone in calling out the negative implications of Shell’s sponsorship of British Cycling last month – although perhaps in a small minority for taking a purely sponsorship lens to the issue. One reason for our focus on this story was our belief that public perception of sponsorship […]

The practical guide to sponsorship ambush

Here’s our essential guide to sponsorship ambush. From the outside, it’s a scary subject. The large rights-holders talk a good game on sponsorship ambush and rights protection. Sponsors demand it. Because at every Olympics and every World Cup, there are a host of irritating minor infractions : brands taking advantage of the timing of a […]

Sponsorship ambush : the bottom line

(For most businesses, self-ambush is the greater risk) The FIFA World Cup in Qatar is rapidly approaching and as always conversation turns to ambush, as we eagerly anticipate Nielsen’s media release on how adidas and Coca-Cola were bumped down the sponsor recall list by the sponsorship ambush of Nike and Pepsi. And Etihad of course. […]

Binet and Field and Sponsorship Marketing

Back in August, and not for the first time, Byron Sharp chose to  undermine two voices which threaten his dominance in the field of marketing effectiveness –  Les Binet and Peter Field. Our post, highlighting the ways in which sponsorship aligns with Byron Sharp’s new model for marketing, was well received – so we’re doing something […]

British Cycling’s shell game

British Cycling and Shell’s announcement of their eight year sponsorship hasn’t landed well.  According to the PR, British Cycling and Shell will share a commitment to ‘supporting Great Britain’s cyclists and para-cyclists through the sharing of world-class innovation and expertise; accelerating British Cycling’s path to net zero; and helping more – and wider groups of […]

Sponsorship’s transition to net zero

2022 was heralded as the year of action in our collective journey to net zero. Enough talking, time for action. And it’s true that we’re beginning to see larger actions from governments and corporates than in previous years, such as Biden’s landmark Inflation Reduction Act. But what will sponsorship’s transition to net zero look like? […]

A simple masterclass in B2B sponsorship

About a month ago, we came across what is truly a straightforward masterclass in B2B sponsorship. The podcast, Renegade Marketers Unite, is highly recommended – energetically hosted by  Drew Neisser. The interviewee is Cognizant CMO Gaurav Chand. Gaurav talks fluently, copiously and pragmatically about Cognizant’s sponsorship of F1 and the PGA. Gaurava comes across as human, […]

Getting your sponsorship to net zero

So, just to dispense with the pun, this isn’t about netting zero revenue. Net zero for sponsorship is a fairly simple ambition to describe for rightsholders: no sponsors who are major polluters, zero pollution through activation and ideally, positive environmental impact. This post is a simple kickstart to planning to minimise the carbon impact of […]

A bold vision for club activism

Allen Herschowitz, founder and president of the Green Sports Alliance, was early in identifying the potential of sport to play a leading role in addressing climate change. The ambition conjures up the image of fans across the world adopting more sustainable behaviours with the encouragement and support of their heroes. But is fan action the […]

Procurement and Sponsorship : Survey

Marketing Procurement continues to move beyond cost savings and avoidance, to adding value to internal clients. According to WBR Insights 2018, priority KPIs were improvements in marketing ROI, agency performance, brand consistency and innovation ahead of cost savings.  Meanwhile, while investment in sponsorship continues to grow, governance of sponsorship continues to challenge. WBR 2017 Marketing […]

Sponsorship strategy hacks

There’s no substitute for doing sponsorship strategy properly – and our post Eight steps to great sponsorship strategy is about the best online guide there is. But as sponsorship consultants, we know there are a few hacks that take you very close, very quickly. We rarely shortcut our own process, but we do use these […]

Sponsorship strategy and brand fit

The Psychology of Sponsorship #4 The 4th post in our series on the psychology of sponsorship looks at sponsorship strategy and brand fit – and specifically to answer four questions. What is brand fit? How is congruence relevant to sponsorship strategy? What influences our sense of brand fit? How can I improve my sponsorship brand […]

The Sinek Qua Non of sponsorship

The Psychology of Sponsorship #3 The third post in our theme of the Psychology of Sponsorship explores how sponsorship narrative can be strengthened by understanding the nature of psychological attribution.   Simon Sinek’s ‘Why?’ framing of business purpose reminds us nicely of a simple psychological truth : we all seek meaning, we’re meaning-makers. We make […]

Google search: sponsorship evaluation

We ran a Google search : sponsorship evaluation the other day – to see what’s new. How brands evaluate is fascinating and in a sea of sameness there is some stand-out practice – it also reflects trends in technology and brand focus. The results were illuminating – largely for the wrong reasons. The sponsorship industry […]

5 Principles of Sponsorship Evaluation

Evaluation drives analysis and reflection - which drives improvement

Here are our five principles of sponsorship evaluation –  the product of over 20 years of client work. Businesses offer many weak excuses for not conducting sponsorship evaluation, but perhaps the most annoying is the belief that proper evaluation’s impossible – or at the very least in the too difficult box.  This belief is based […]

Why sponsorship?

Why sponsorship as your marketing strategy? As we wrote in our post Great Sponsorship Strategy in 8 Steps, the first step towards great sponsorship is to define your strategic challenge. But this exercise in itself links to a fundamental question: why sponsorship as your marketing strategy? To ask this question is perhaps a discriminator for […]

Would you buy this?

Although our soon-to-be-published survey into the relationship between Procurement Teams and Sponsorship Practice suggests that Procurement is not heavily involved with sponsorship measurement, this post is aimed primarily at marketing procurement. The biggest con in sponsorship evaluation Despite the pandemic, many sponsorship research agencies are still doing a roaring trade in nonsense. For many years, […]

Adding value to fans

Adding value to the fan is a mantra of sponsorship nowadays. A mantra that emerged in response to sponsors who viewed sponsorship only as an opportunity for brand exposure. But those times, the times of ‘badging’, have largely gone. So why revisit? Because mantras outlive their purpose. And because we collectively now have a deeper […]

Partnership with Purpose

This post, Partnership with Purpose, explores the implications for sponsorship and partnership practice in a landscape in which social and environmental action, and business contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals are increasingly important. A bit of historic context We’re so used to the concept of shareholder primacy that it’s strange to remember that the idea […]

The psychology of sponsorship engagement

The Psychology of Sponsorship #2 So a second post on the theme of the psychology of sponsorship, this time looking at the factors which influence sponsorship engagement, and how we build relationship with an audience. And once again it’s a question of marrying academic research and theory with the experience of sponsorship practice and an overlay […]

Great sponsorship strategy in 8 steps

There’s certainly no shortage of posts out there on the web talking about sponsorship strategy. In fact, in the context of sponsorship, the word strategy is used pretty indiscriminately in general, and even here by HBR, as a sophisticated-sounding way of saying ‘this is how to go about sponsorship’: a primer, in other words. The question […]

Byron Sharp and Sponsorship

Amazingly, the relationship between Byron Sharp and sponsorship has not had much airtime, despite the fact that How Brands Grow has preoccupied the world of marketing for over a decade now. Despite resistance from the marketing community to the provocative rubbishing of many core marketing concepts, its message – a reappraisal of marketing 101 – […]

FIFA’s new sponsorship : all structure, no strategy

The latest changes to FIFA’s sponsorship strategy are eminently sensible. The growth in popularity and commercial value of both the women’s game and gaming represent untapped potential for FIFA, who have been struggling for a number of years to grow the quantity and quality of their sponsors. The new commercial structure aggregates the verticals of […]

Legacy Sport

It’s curious that the term sponsorship legacy can either mean a meaningful contribution to the world that outlives a sponsorship – or a sponsorship that’s outlived its purpose. Legacy’s a funny word – both good and bad. A meaningful leave-behind or meaningless and left behind! Legacy Sport, which I’ve just read, refers to the first, […]

Do I need a specialist sponsorship consultancy?

As a specialist sponsorship consultancy, we’re in a narrow competitive set. While there are plenty of individuals with experience to spare and share, there are few organisations established purely to solve sponsorship challenges. There are many large agencies which offer consulting services, but the consulting for these businesses is generally considered a loss leader, to […]

So your sponsorship evaluation budget is tiny…

Why are sponsorship evaluation budgets so tight? There’s not an agency that doesn’t subscribe in principle to the importance of sponsorship evaluation – but relatively few brands that set sponsorship evaluation budgets commensurate with investment. Of the brands which evaluate, the majority rely either on syndicated rightsholder research or run moronic surveys of the kind […]

The two tropes of sponsorship measurement

Sponsorship measurement has always been a strangely mute discussion area within the world of sponsorship – which has been largely dominated by two tropes. It’s not helped of course that the larger agencies productize their services into standard formats – syndicated reports, global panels and dashboards such as Nielsen Fan Insights – because their business […]

What is sponsorship?

The following article first appeared as the conclusion to the Redmandarin publication ‘Defining Sponsorship‘. It provides a clear analysis of the roots of what sponsorship and sound sponsorship strategy is all about and is helpful both for students and practitioners. So where to start? The only definition that’s readily available is from the European Sponsorship […]

Sponsorship measurement and logic models

We won’t pretend : this article on sponsorship measurement and logic models fails every element of originality except one. It’s 99% based on a great article from Financier Worldwide by Paula Papp, Laura Petschnig and Kalina Kasprzyk from Frontier Economics on measuring innovation. The parallels are overwhelming so we’ve wholeheartedly plagiarised their article, with great […]

Sponsorship portfolio strategy

This article springboards off a great article by Francis Dumais, who identified six major variations of sponsorship portfolio strategy.  Francis took the term sponsorship strategy and applied it very legitimately to the strategic choice facing brands around how they choose to structure their sponsorship investment, across portfolios or single properties.  Each of these alternatives represents […]

Learnings from Olympic sponsorship consultancy

We chose to specialise in Olympic sponsorship consultancy because the scale of the undertaking ensures that the partnership has the full attention of the business – and sponsorship has the fullest application across the business. We published Working the Olympics in 2012 – based on our experience with ten Olympic partners and interviews with a […]

‘The biggest mistake was to call it sponsorship’

Michael Payne has been at the forefront of the sports marketing industry for over thirty years – having lead the global marketing effort for the Olympic Movement for more than two decades as the IOC’s first Marketing and Broadcast Rights Director, generating more than US$15 billion in broadcast and marketing revenues. On leaving the IOC, […]

The psychology of sponsorship

The Psychology of Sponsorship #1 Most books on sponsorship make large assumptions about the psychology of sponsorship. Back in the day, the phrase ‘brand value transfer’ was thrown around liberally to explain how sponsorship works, with no little authority, of course! But in the last 10 years in particular, our understanding of the emotional processes […]

The majority of sponsorship doesn’t work

The following text is from an interview with Martin Lindstrom for the book ‘Defining Sponsorship‘. Martin is a ‘brand futurist’, the CEO and Chairman of LINDSTROM company, and Chairman of BUYOLOGY INC, advising companies including Nokia and McDonald’s. His brand-building shows attract 800,000 people across the world. He has written many books, including ‘Buyology‘. ‘The […]

Sponsorship as ‘social object’

Mark is a recovering adperson who now writes and talks and works independently under the banner of HERD Consulting, helping people and organisations and their collaborators come to terms with our social or HERD nature. Prior to HERD Mark held senior positions at Ogilvy Group Worldwide and the radical creative co-operative St Luke’s. This interview […]

Purpose-led sponsorship

Purpose-led sponsorship is a recurring theme on this blog, and reading Trinity Mirror’s new study on consumer trust last week reminded us our blog on purpose in 2014. The study reports the unsurprising figure of 43% of consumers claiming to mistrust brands and 69% claiming to distrust advertising.  There’s nothing particularly noteworthy there but more interestingly, the research […]

Conjoined twins?

Sponsorship and philanthropy – conjoined twins? There’s an industry mantra dating back to the 80s, that sponsorship is a commercial means to a commercial end. In the 80s, of course, it was a useful line to avoid approaches being routed to ‘community giving’; nowadays, it’s the logical defence against accusations of profligacy. But like any […]

I instantly recognised Haribo

This is extracted from an interview with Professor Simon Chadwick, for our publication ‘Defining Sponsorship’. Simon Chadwick was Chair at the time of Sport Business Strategy and Marketing at Coventry University, where he was also Director of CIBS. At Leeds University, S gained a PhD in sponsorship in football. He is now the world’s first […]

Timo Lumme from Working the Olympics

The following interview was first published in Working the Olympics. It gives an excellent overview of the value of the IOC for major corporates and offers, typically of Timo, a very insightful and pragmatic assessment of the challenges of Olympic marketing. Timo is the Managing Director of IOC Television & Marketing Services – the broadcast-rights marketing […]

Ubiquity is the real elephant in the room

The new Lib-Con government is talking a big game on the topic of binge drinking. How this impulse manifests itself remains to be seen, but we are right to be twitchy about the recommendations contained in the Health Committee First Report on Alcohol (HC151) and the prospect of alcohol sponsors being told – you’re barred. […]

The Olympic story

Brand storytelling is back – bigger than ever. First time around for me was business author, Tom Peters. His original pitch was about corporate myth-making: the conscious creation of those symbolic stories which so effortlessly epitomise an attitude or a principle: Lou Gerstner forcing the IBM Board to abandon the powerpoint in favour of the […]

Sponsorship as organisational change driver

For Redmandarin, a full 90% of client briefs relate to deepening brand engagement. This might be expressed as repositioning, shift of audience focus, reappraisal, building NPS or advocacy, but, ultimately, it comes down to people feeling warmer about the brand But there’s another objective which surfaces much more rarely – organisational change. And sponsorship’s potential […]

Sponsorship : self-ambush is the greatest risk

Extract from Working the Olympics, 2012 Rights protection is a critical issue for Partners – but more so for the IOC and OCOG: when your primary sales asset is a logo – you need to take good care of it. As a consequence, the domestic brand protection teams are virtually the first in operation and […]

The fuzzy space of Olympic ambush marketing

Where is the boundary between communal and rightsholder IP? This interview was first published in ‘Working the Olympics’. This interview tracks Jim’s experience of Scotia Bank sponsorship through Vancouver 2010. Ambush marketing was not his intention : rather, to explore the boundaries of rightsholder and communal IP. Jim Tobin, now retired, was Director and Head […]

Our definition of sponsorship

 Nobody scrolling down Interbrand’s list of the world’s top 100 brands can fail to be struck by the huge and obvious role sponsorship plays in building brand equity. And yet the world of marketing has always struggled to find an acceptable definition of sponsorship. Most definitions lean heavily on the definition ratified by the International Chamber of […]

‘just the guy who ponied up the money’

First published in Defining Sponsorship, Tony Ponturo’s interview was seismic in the powerful way it articulated the change in consumer attitudes – expressed with Tony’s trademark candour. Tony Ponturo is the founder and CEO of Ponturo Management Group, LLC; a consulting, management and investment company in media, sports and entertainment. Previously he was President and […]