Dear Sponsors, Fans Don’t Owe You Anything

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.

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 it’s still not the norm. 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.

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 always see sponsors in a positive light.

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



Need more assistance?

You may also be interested in my white papers,  “Last Generation Sponsorship Redux” and “Disruptive Sponsorship: Like Disruptive Marketing, Only Better“. I’ve also got self-paced, online sponsorship training courses for both sponsors and rightsholders. Get the details and links to course outlines and reviews here.

Rightsholders, for all you need to know about sponsorship sales and servicing, you may want to get a copy of The Sponsorship Seeker’s Toolkit 4th Edition.

If you need professional assistance with sponsorship, I offer sponsorship consulting and strategy sessions, sponsorship training, and sponsorship coaching. I also offer a comprehensive Sponsorship Systems Design service for large, diverse, and/or decentralised organisations.

Please feel free to drop me a line to discuss.

© Kim Skildum-Reid. All rights reserved. To enquire about republishing or distribution, please see the blog and white paper reprints page.

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