Just a few hours ago, Super Bowl 44 was played at Sun Life Stadium in South Florida. The stadium was build in 1987, since then it has been called Joe Robbie Stadium, Pro Player Park, Pro Player Stadium, Dolphins Stadium, Dolphin Stadium, Land Shark Stadium and now finally Sun Life Stadium. The recent deal with Sun Life brings in $7.5 million per year. Is it worth it for Sun Life? That’s tough to say, as most ways of calculating advertising and sponsorship efficiency are, well, not quite living up to the highest possible academic standards.
Next year, Super Bowl 45 will be played in Arlington, Texas, in the new Cowboys Stadium. Did you ever wonder what happens to the old stadium of the Dallas Cowboys, Texas Stadium? It will be demolished, most probably in April 2010. Why I am telling you this? Because it also has a lot to do with sponsorship:
Kraft Foods, one of the biggest food companies in the world, will sponsor the demolition and brand it as “Cheddar Explosion”. Kraft will pay $75.000 plus another $75.000 in Kraft products to be given to local charity organizations.
If you compare this to the $7.5 million Sun Life pays per year for renaming a stadium for which only dye-hard fans can still tell you which name it actually has at this moment, I have a strong feeling that Kraft got a better deal. Call it guerrilla marketing, call it creativity, it is a great idea which encouraged me to come up with my five rules for successful sponsorship:
1) Product Relationship
Calling the demolition the “Cheddar Explosion” creates a link between the sponsored event and the product. In too many cases you don’t have this link, which makes the sponsor exchangeable. People just won’t care about your brand.
2) Stand alone
Bring your sponsorship money where the others don’t bring it. For the Texas Stadium implosion I don’t expect any other sponsor than Kraft to turn up, leaving all the attention for them and their products.
Only sponsor where people get to know about it. Sounds like a no-brainer, but here’s the twist: It does not necessarily have to be by direct attention, it can also be via viral marketing channels, etc. Kraft for example launches a national essay contest for children. The winner will pull the trigger of the stadium implosion.
Also appears to be quite basic. All the people active in sponsoring sports will tell you that they do it because sports is an emotional area and they would love to carry over some of that emotion to their respective brand. Watching an explosion is also a very emotional thing, especially if the customers may have memories linked to old stadium, expectations linked to the new stadium, etc. that you may activate just like Kraft does it.
If you sponsor where nobody expects it, you stick out. That gives your brand an awareness you don’t achieve from being the 22nd perimeter advertiser in a stadium or just another one in a long list of naming sponsor for a stadium in South Florida. Unexpectedness creates a “Wow!” effect. On the other hand it may help you to get great deals, as the people and organizations you sponsor in many cases don’t expect a sponsor to approach them. The implosion will cost the city of Irving around $5.8 million. Being the sole sponsor for $150.000 is not a bad deal.
So before you think about standard sponsorship next time check and think about sponsorship opportunities that are more in line with these five rules. It may save a lot of money and be way more efficient.