Dear Fans, Companies Think You’re Stupid

There is a “Coke ad” that did the rounds a few years ago Facebook and Twitter. It’s a collaboration between a few people, including mystery artist, Banksy. The language is rude, but if you can handle the f-word, you should stop and take a look at that “ad” now.

If this sentiment is true of advertising – and I think if we allow ourselves some objectivity, we know it isn’t far off the mark – it’s 100 times truer for sponsorship.

What sponsors are buying when they invest in a sponsorship is the privilege to connect with people through something they have already decided they care about. Those fans don’t owe sponsors anything. The sponsors owe the fans. They owe them respect for the experience they’re trying to have. They owe it to the fans to make that experience they love better, not worse, not more cluttered, not more invasive.

So, I thought I might give this a go. Like the above-mentioned ad, I’ve approached this from the point of view of the frustrated fan – a point of view we should all take more often – and if we listen to them, they don’t see sponsors in a positive light.

There are more and more great sponsors that are doing our industry proud – making those experiences much better, and making the fans big winners in these commercial deals – but we have yet to reach the critical mass. To many people, our industry still seems selfish and bloodless – a point brought home not long ago when a friend of a friend asked what I do. When I replied “corporate sponsorship”, she said, “So you’re pretty much the devil incarnate.” Nice.

With my heart on my sleeve, here is my attempt to reflect that frustration for our industry and maybe, just maybe, remind sponsors what it’s like to be without a commercial agenda… a person… a fan.

(Please note, the language is a little colourful, but not as much as the Banksy ad. Also, if you’re from a non-Rugby nation, that’s a rugby ball on a tee.)


Companies think you're stupid


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