politics Archives - Power Sponsorship

Why I’m Retiring the Sponsorship Guidelines Database

In 2013, we compiled a comprehensive listing of links to the sponsorship guidelines for many hundreds of corporate sponsors around the world. This took a lot of time and effort, but we did it because I believed it would be an invaluable resource for sponsorship seekers. Fast forward 18 months… Every week, I get an email from my website, telling me about all of the new broken links. Invariably, these are links from my database of sponsorship guidelines. Upon investigation, these links are going dead because – despite the very clear warning that spamming hundreds of these companies with generic proposals will not net you any sponsorship – that’s exactly what’s been happening. This is why we […] Read More

Sponsors: What If You Could Start Over?

It’s still early in the year – the time when people wipe the slate, make resolutions, and dedicate themselves to doing better. It’s when people give themselves permission to start over. What if we applied that thinking to corporate sponsorship? What if sponsors took some time out from dealing with the administration of sponsorship and the improvement of sponsorship, and instead, dedicated themselves to the potential of sponsorship. What if they asked themselves this one question: If you had the same sponsorship budget, but no commitments, what would the perfect sponsorship portfolio for your brand(s) and target markets look like? I do this for my corporate clients all the time. In its formal iteration, it […] Read More

The Other Ambush: Standing Up for What’s Right when Sponsors Don’t

Normally, when the Olympics roll around, I’m having a field day picking apart sponsorship strategies and, in particular, analysing the ambush marketing activities. Truth be told, ambush marketing gets me a bit giddy, lying as it does at the intersection of strategy and troublemaking. But this time around, the ambushers haven’t come to the party like they have in the past. Hell, the sponsors haven’t even come to the party. I can just see all the usual ambush marketing suspects gloating – not because they’ve done something so clever to gain marketing benefit for their brands, but because they’re the lucky ones with no IOC contracts, so they can stay well away from this debacle. […] Read More

Olympic Sponsor Cowardice is Bad for Business

Sochi 2014 is a debacle. The past week or so has been all about the coverage of unfinished hotels, major infrastructure issues, the killing of Sochi’s stray dogs, and ridiculous inadequacies of some of the Olympic venues. But this was a debacle way before all of the “Where the hell did the $51 billion go?” questions were asked. It’s about human rights and Russia’s apocalyptic decision that only heterosexual people have them. This isn’t the forum to debate whether Russia’s LGBT laws constitute a human rights violation – and I honestly can’t see where there’s anything to debate – but there are sponsors involved, and that I’m happy to address. Sponsors didn’t ask for this […] Read More

IOC Gets a Gold Medal for Hypocrisy

“The Olympic Movement gives the world an ideal which reckons with the reality of life, and includes a possibility to guide this reality toward the great Olympic Idea.” – Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the International Olympic Committee In my 28 years in the sponsorship business, I have never seen an organisation as two-faced as the IOC. They’re happy to promote the Olympics as not only a sporting event, but as an idealistic social force in the cultivation of the world and host nations. They position themselves as the bloody UN of sports and proudly blather on about how important and influential the Olympics are in promoting “social responsibility and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles”. […] Read More

How to Manage (or Get Rid of) a Senior Executive’s Pet Sponsorship

In many ways, the Global Financial Crisis was one of the best things that ever happened to the sponsorship industry. As the level of sponsor accountability rose at an astronomic rate, the level of sophistication required rose right along with it. For many companies, it also saw the end of a practice that has been the bane of marketing departments for decades: The senior executive’s pet sponsorship. Note, I said “many”, because as antiquated as this practice is, it persists in some companies. The accountability issue is addressed by a directive (implied or explicit) to find some way – any way – to justify this wasteful expense. If you’re in one of those marketing departments, […] Read More

Olympic Ambush Analysis – Part 7: The Cheeky, the Sneaky, and the Brilliant

While the real ambush marketing news has been about the ridiculous lengths the Games organisers have gone through to thwart ambush marketers, and the negative impact of those activities, strategic ambush has gone on unabated. That butcher who put five sausage rings in his front window learned a big lesson about the cost of national pride, as did that florist who was threatened with a huge fine. But strategic ambushers – the ones sponsors and rightholders really need to worry about – they got the job done without breaking a single rule. There were cheeky ambushers, sneaky ambushers, and brilliant ambushers. We can learn from all of them. The Cheeky Topping the category of “cheeky” […] Read More

Olympic Ambush Analysis – Part 6: I Hope You Don’t Want Fries with That

You can’t get fries without fish at the fish and chips shop in the Olympic Precinct. You can’t get fries with anything else. The only place you can get fries in the Olympic Precinct is at the world’s biggest McDonald’s. Why? Because McDonald’s insisted on having exclusive rights to serve fries. Really, McDonald’s? Were you really that scared that people being able to get a hot chip somewhere else would undermine your brand sanctity? Was it worth it? Because from here, I can’t see how having hundreds of media outlets, and many thousands of social media pundits, taking the crap out of your selfishness is doing a lot for your brand. (Yeah, I know… in […] Read More

Olympic Ambush Analysis – Part 5: Welcome to the Sponsorship Nanny State

McDonald’s is a global TOP sponsor of the IOC. So is Coca-Cola. Cadbury is a Games sponsor. There has been a lot of controversy around these sponsorships, capped off by a riveting piece of propaganda, entitled The Obesity Games. The premise seems to be that Olympic sponsorship is some sort of corporate plot to make our children obese. Seriously, if you listen to some of the commentary around these sponsorships, you’d think Ronald McDonald was force feeding people Quarter Pounders on the way into the stadiums. Except that McDonald’s provides many healthier options, and Coca-Cola bottles water, juice, sports drinks, and plenty of other health-friendly products. And isn’t a small amount of dark chocolate actually […] Read More

Olympic Ambush Marketing Analysis – Part 4: We Own You

In the past couple of days, Lord Sebastian Coe, head of LOCOG, was quoted as saying that people attending the Games should not wear Nike shoes or Pepsi t-shirts, as they would be thrown out by security. He then backpedalled, saying people wearing Nike trainers would “probably” be let in, but ticketholders wearing Pepsi t-shirts will not be allowed entry. LOCOG has further “clarified” that people can wear what they want. But wow, what a pointed illustration of the ugly lengths the Olympic movement would like to go to, in order to protect their fiefdom: We own you. We own what you wear. We own your memories and your ability to record and share them. […] Read More