Special Report: Event Marketing

By Oct 01, 2002

Traveling Salesmen

Events let consumers touch brands

By Matthew Kinsman

Event marketing is expensive, time consuming, and — in an age when ROI is king — difficult to measure. So why is it dominating promotion marketing and overshadowing media advertising?

Because events can strike an emotional chord with a jaded, media-saturated consumer audience. Events offer a face-to-face interaction with a brand, can be tailored to an audience or venue, give marketers control they can’t get with in-store campaigns, and let marketers do things they can’t do on TV.

Take Richard Branson’s striptease in Times Square.

The Virgin Group ceo took center stage for the July launch of Virgin Mobile cellular service. Virgin pumped its “Nothing to hide” theme (no hidden fees or contracts) by hiring the cast of Broadway smash The Full Monty to strip to a strategically placed cell phone. Branson himself stripped aboard a giant cellphone hung in front of the Virgin Megastore in Times Square.

“The combination of p.r. and events is a powerful tool,” says Brenda Ross, Virgin vp-brand marketing and communications. “We’ve been in the game for a while and we’re seeing other companies jumping onboard. It’s about combining traditional marketing [reach and frequency] with guerrilla marketing to give consumers a feel for the brand.”

Now that such stunts are common, expect pressure to build over the coming year to justify spending and show impact on sales.

“People are losing confidence in traditional media,” says Brad Bryen, president of New York City-based US Concepts (which handled the Virgin Mobile effort). “Marketers want to reach customers directly and make it a tactile experience. [Events aren't] theoretical reach; this is the real thing.”

“Events are the final frontier,” claims Paul Builter, director of account-specific marketing at Clarion Marketing & Communications, Greenwich, CT. “There’s nothing left to do on TV. The Internet hasn’t panned out the way everyone thought it would. And retail … no matter how much we talk about co-marketing, it usually moves slower than we’d like it to.”

Event marketing has become a key to brand strategy. That has boosted the profile of agencies specializing in events.

“When I started 20 years ago, we were the stepchild [of the promotions business],” says Gary Reynolds, ceo at GMR Marketing (PROMO’s 2002 Agency of the Year). “Now we’re getting invited to the table along with the ad agencies — and sometimes getting offered a better seat.”

For some, events are a primary piece of their media mix. “Companies are starting to use us as they would media,” says Market Reach president Jim Tighe. The Stamford, CT-based agency handled a summer tour for Yoo-hoo chocolate drink to support its first under-the-cap promotion, Pick Your Own Stinkin’ Prize. “We asked our ad agencies to promote the contest with all the event marketing that we’re already doing,” says Yoo-hoo marketing director Kristin Krumpe. Bochanis Rogan Zoom, Wilton, CT, developed creative, Market Reach executed on-site. A tricked-out garbage truck (painted in Yoo-hoo colors, with a party lounge on top) toured venues hosting Warped Tour and Pop Disaster Tour concerts, which White Plains, NY-based Yoo-hoo sponsors.

Packaged goods brands may fare better in the retailer’s parking lot than with a P-O-P display. “Some marketers are taking dollars away from in-store and setting up shop themselves in the parking lot,” says Bryen. Rimmel London takes its Coty Cosmetics bus to college campuses on weekdays and Wal-Marts on the weekends. Two double-decker buses house interactive kiosks and a London-style disco; make-up consultants give visitors a personalized shopping list of Rimmel products. The fall tour produces double-digit sales gains of Rimmel products for up to eight weeks after a store visit. US Concepts handles.

The Oscar Mayer Weinermobile still draws a crowd 65 years after it began prowling America’s highways. “Everyone at some point has seen the Weinermobile and has a fond memory or story about the encounter,” says Russ Whitacre, mobile marketing manager for the Oscar Mayer Division of Kraft Foods. “It’s a very tangible and personal experience.”

Events even lure couch potatoes. Turner Classic Movies (TMC) runs a Sing-A-Long tour to tout its annual July 4 showing of The Wizard of Oz. This year (its second), the tour hosted giant screenings in parks in 11 cities. Radio station tie-ins used Wizard of Oz trivia contests to give away a loaded picnic basket to take to the event; Turner staffers hosted games such as Tic Tac Toto and Twister before screenings. The Atlanta-based cable network doesn’t sell ads on-air, but it did recruit 17 sponsors for the tour, including Coca-Cola. Javelin, St. Louis, handles for Turner.

Weinermobile got a contest overlay with Talent Search, which lets kids sing the Oscar Mayer jingle to audition for a TV spot or public appearance. (The first winner sang on live TV during the Super Bowl halftime show, sponsored by Oscar Mayer.)

The pendulum swings

The popularity of event marketing has always ebbed and flowed. “We saw a spike in the early ‘90s when everybody did a concert or some kind of beach tour and thought they’d automatically get NBC to cover it and 40,000 people would show up,” says Jamie Wark, president at Event Management & Promotions, Los Angeles. “That didn’t last too long.”

But strategic thinking and integration have made events smart marketing. That portends more growth as events serve as a touch point for other promotional tactics (such as sampling and contests). The trick is tying in sales performance.

Discovery Channel kicks off a tour this month for its Monster Garage show, whose guests assemble outrageous vehicles from scratch. The tour will show fans the wacky vehicles are for real. The tour tested this summer in Sturgis, SD.

“We’re considering a sponsor and maybe some product giveaways,” says Eileen Ratnofsky, director of program marketing for Discovery Channel, New York City. “An event brings a lot of potential partners to the table.”

Integration lets brands sustain an event. Avon, New York City, this summer launched the first mobile campaign in its 116-year history. The Avon Let’s Talk Tour hosted makeover stations and the An Avon Beauty in You sweepstakes awarding a weekend in New York City (with a day at the Avon Salon and Spa, dinner, and a Broadway show). The tour makes 65 stops before it wraps up in November. CMI, East Rutherford, NJ, handles.

“Running a sweepstakes with the tour gives us the opportunity to follow up with consumers,” says Debbie Coffey, Avon executive vp-public relations and promotions. “You can get great feedback after the event. It doesn’t get any clearer than that to see what’s working.”

In June, Sony Online Entertainment, San Diego, embarked on a four-month road trip for its EverQuest online game. A 26-foot trailer with Sony desktop PCs let consumers try out the game. Sony got four million viewings during the 10-city tour, with stops from San Francisco to Eden Prairie, MN, in venues such as county fairs and colleges. “Our goal was to show EverQuest to a more mainstream audience,” says Lisa Leyba, product marketing manager. “By holding people’s hands we can alleviate the intimidation factor that online games sometimes have.”

Smaller events could be the future. “Most people want to go to a safe, established venue like The Taste of Chicago, which draws two million people,” says Brad Carsten, senior partner at Javelin. “The problem is, the number of big venue choices are dwindling. I think we’ll start seeing more brands doing mobile tours, or doing smaller events but more of them. Marketers are breaking down into commando units. The big divisions just aren’t working anymore.”

A crowd of one (to one)

Events reach a smaller audience, but give a hands-on experience. Take Bosch Power Tools: popular among professional construction crews (its core market), but low-profile with consumers.

“We’d done business through our distributors, so we never really had a direct influence on the end user,” says Doug Shaffer, manager of marketing events for Broadview, IL-based Bosch. “In our business, tool touches equal sales.”

Bosch’s two-year-old Big Blue Launch tour, has three 30-foot “workshops on wheels” that let participants try tools, with stops at industrial accounts, job sites, trade shows, and consumer venues from Home Depot and Lowe’s Home Improvement to Motorcross and NASCAR races. Attendance varies from a few hundred to 2,000 people, depending on the location. But in true targeted fashion, it’s not the mass that counts.

“We might go to a job site and only get 300 people, but 150 could actually buy something,” says Shaffer. “At Home Depot you’ll get a lot of foot traffic, but they might only come in to buy a plant.” Bosch adds five vehicles for 2003 via Pro Motion, St. Louis.

Procter & Gamble will finish its eight-month-old 2002 ThermaCare Tour supporting heat wraps that launched early this year. The tour “goes where people experience pain,” says North American brand manager Brian Nichol. The first leg (dubbed the Winter Wave) went to ski resorts and has since expanded to PGA Tournaments and gardening clubs. Clarion Marketing & Communications handles.

Some consumers make it all the way onto the tour bus as road crew. Nintendo held auditions for gaming enthusiasts to join its Street Teams, and Yoo-hoo drafted its two top fans to pilot the garbage truck. The recent college grads pestered the company long enough that Yoo-hoo signed them as spokesmen after graduation.

Oh yeah: ROI

An expensive tour that reaches a limited audience begs the question: Does it pay out?

Yes, say 47 percent of marketers who believe events provide the best ROI of any promotional tactic. That’s from a survey of 124 marketing and sales execs conducted last fall for events agency George P. Johnson, Auburn Hills, MI. The survey, conducted by Intellitrends, found that events beat out advertising (cited by 32 percent), sales promotion (29%), and p.r. (15%) when it comes to best ROI. “We couldn’t find any good data on event marketing, so we decided to develop our own,” says Johnson vp-marketing Michael Westcott.

The survey found that 50 percent of healthcare marketers plan to boost event spending, 45.8 percent of automobile executives, 46 percent of media, 36 percent of technology, and 30 percent of consumer electronics.

Still, there’s no formula that shows how events equal sales. “That worries executives who come from an advertising background,” says Builter.

“We’re trying to bridge traditional measurement with our own proprietary techniques. But in the end, you have to rely on perspective and gut feel,” says Reynolds.

It helps to set clear objectives before hitting the road. For its Jammin’ with Jolly Rancher tour, Hershey measures brand awareness by collecting the number of impressions generated and converting it to a numerical value.

“This gives us an idea of where the audience is and who’s seen the tour,” says Hershey spokesperson Susan Karli.

Legos’ Bionicle tour, on the other hand, aims to connect with trend-setting boys at skate parks and BMX championships; crews tally feedback from kids onsite.

Turner looks for an emotional payoff to its Sing-A-Long tour.

“I don’t think there is an actual metric you can apply to a program like this,” says Cathy Boardman, director of affiliate marketing. “For us, it’s just the recognition. This may sound sappy, but when you see a 75-year-old man with his granddaughter in his lap, singing along, that’s pretty cool.”

Despite the warm fuzzies, marketers will be asked to do more as events get increasingly sophisticated. Tours will need to show a measurable impact on sales. That will accelerate the trend toward integration as marketers load more tools onto their trucks and make events a sales pitch, not just a party.

And a few of them still might do it naked.

Help Wanted

How to avoid field staffing gaffes

By Jeffrey Miller

It’s the face that matters. After you’ve toiled with the tent and tweaked the vehicle, the last task is hiring the crew. Do it right: Their one-to-one interactions can give consumers a longer-lasting impression than any TV spot or sweepstakes.

Don’t just call a local staffing agency and request bodies. Consumers won’t listen to a suburban housewife laud the latest styles in athletic footwear or an 18-year-old surfer lecture on the benefits of fabric softener.

Here’s some advice to consider before your next event.

Select the right supplier

Staffing, modeling, and temp agencies are not created equal. Temp agencies follow strict federal and state laws that prohibit clients from requesting staff by gender, age, or race. (You can make those requests at smaller modeling and event-staffing shops.) For a multi-market program, find a local supplier in each city; they typically know their staff better and can respond more quickly to problems. Some firms provide field managers; be clear about your need for them.

An event-marketing agency can save you time and headaches on a big tour. Most have existing relationships with suppliers (and know which ones are reliable). Event-marketing shops also can provide field or market managers for constant supervision and to handle staff transportation, product training, product inventory management, and event reports. Check an agency’s credentials carefully to match their skills to your management needs.

Train, train and retrain

Field staff are your brand stewards; they have to be able to answer consumers’ questions. Prepare clear, detailed information on the product and your company. Try role-playing and live training at an actual event. Use training sessions to weed out staffers who won’t do well in the field. An attractive person may catch the consumers’ eye, but good salesmanship is far more valuable.

What’s it gonna cost me?

Have an idea on three things before calling a supplier: number of hours in the field; a budget range for staff; type of staffers you need. Knowing this improves your negotiation stance. Hourly rates generally range from $18 to $30; managers make an average $750 to $1,200 per week.

Consider a pay-for-performance deal. Credit-card marketers often use this, paying vendors only for completed applications at a pre-agreed rate. Most agencies shy away from pay-for-performance, but if it’s done right it can benefit you and your shop.

Since most events are short-term, the best agencies, field managers, and staffers rotate from campaign to campaign throughout the year. To get on their calendar, plan ahead. Book field staffers four to eight weeks in advance. It’s worth it.

Jeffrey Miller is director of event marketing operations at Seismicom, Chicago. Catch him at jeffrey@seismicom.com.

Yours, Mine, and Ours

Top spenders share sponsorship secrets

By Brian W. Kelly

Marketers are taking a harder look at how they use events to activate their sponsorships. That’s especially true among top-spenders like General Motors and Coca-Cola, whose practices set an example for other marketers.

U.S. companies are spending more than $9.5 billion on sponsorships this year, up 2.9 percent over 2001, per sponsorship consultancy IEG, Inc., Chicago. The growth rate has slowed — spending rose 6.9 percent last year — but any growth is significant in light of widespread budget cuts.

Sponsors spend an average of $2 to $2.40 on related promotions for every $1 spent on rights fees, per IEG. Marketers are scrutinizing how to make the most of that investment.

General Motors is “trying to get more focused on what we do and how we do it,” says Steve Tihanyi, GM’s director of marketing alliances and regional operations. “As we evaluate properties, we look at three key things. One: Can it provide a foundation for good p.r.-based activities? Two: Can it create good, vibrant product experiences? And three: If appropriate, can it help us create great advertising? We’re using these pillars as the basis for how we’re deciding to do things.”

Coca-Cola (which partnered with Detroit-based GM to sponsor the Olympic Torch Relay for the 2002 Winter Games) struggles with the same ROI issues.

Top Ten Spenders
Amount Company
$190-195M Anheuser-Busch
$175-180M Philip Morris.
$150-155M General Motors
$115-120M Coca-Cola
$110-115M PepsiCo
$95-100M Nike
$95-100M DaimlerChrysler
$80-85M Eastman Kodak
$70-75M Ford Motor
$65-70M McDonald’s
Source: IEG Sponsorship Report

“Hopefully we’ll do more and spend less,” says Chuck Fruit, Coke’s senior vp-worldwide media and alliances. “We’re convinced that sponsorships — especially sports sponsorships — can be a critical component in our marketing mix. But we’re taking a more disciplined approach to how we activate them.”

Atlanta-based Coke builds a “fan experience” around its sponsorships. Take the Olympics, where a top-tier sponsorship can cost upwards of $50 million: Coke built venues to host fans for pin-swapping and sports games.

“Setting up an area where fans can trade pins, or find out what it’s like to run the luge or shoot hockey pucks at a goalie — that’s the sort of thing we try to create,” says Fruit.

Pepsi-Cola Co. seeks to leverage every aspect of its sponsorships. “Events that aren’t going to allow us to leverage them in a huge way aren’t events we are going to pursue,” says director of marketing Stacey Reichert. “We try to leverage numerous parts of the marketing mix — product sampling, tie-ins to trade activity, market research at events. We think big.”

GM’s long purchase cycle gives it a different perspective from CPGs. The automaker uses sponsor-related events to draw consumers more deeply into its “purchase funnel,” says Tihanyi. “How do we get people interacting more deeply with product, to create opportunities for people to go back to the dealership, and to get our dealers more connected into the relationship?”

The Olympic Torch Relay helped bring consumers into local dealerships. Consumers who were chosen to participate in the relay (via a nomination process run by GM and Coke) gathered at a local dealership.

“The people who ran with the torch would come to the dealership in their running suits, with family members and reporters,” says Tihanyi. “It became an event at every dealership. You’re giving people a whole different kind of exposure to the product. Maybe people aren’t in market yet, or aren’t GM buyers, but you’re getting them exposed to the product.”

Philip Morris has the toughest task among the Top 10 spenders to leverage its sponsorships because tobacco activities are so tightly regulated. PM is the second-largest sponsorship spender overall, but its flagship brand Marlboro can only have one sponsorship. That increases the importance of PM’s own events to maximize its reach to its core audience, smokers over 21.

The 1998 Tobacco Settlement Agreement was designed in part to “reduce the visibility of tobacco in this country,” says Billy Abshaw, manager of media programs for New York City-based Philip Morris USA, Domestic Tobacco Division. Restrictions dictate the number and type of sponsorships as well as activities and signage at venues. “Still, we’re able to find ways to identify and grow equity in our brand,” says Abshaw.

Marlboro has sponsored Indy team Team Penske Racing since 1990 and hosts adult smokers at Indy races. Unrelated events tie back to a general racing theme: Its Racing School promo gives away approximately 700 trips annually to one of three different racetracks (located in Homestead, FL, Pikes Peak, CO, and Fontana, CA) via drawings at Bar Night events in adult-only bars and clubs. Winners attend a racing school and learn how to drive racecars. Chicago-based Entertainment Marketing, Inc. handles.

After consumers certify they’re over 21 and a smoker, they play bar games to win a trip or smaller prizes such as boom boxes, T-shirts, or hats (logo-free, of course). Marlboro also gives away annual trips to about 300 consumers to one of three Party at The Ranch vacations (also via EMI) at Crazy Mountain Ranch in Bozeman, MT, or White Stallion Ranch in Tucson, AZ.

Looking ahead

Top marketers plan to hone their sponsorship-related events without cutting spending.

“We’ll certainly continue to invest in sponsorships that are multi-year, and make sure that we’re spending the dollars to activate them,” says Pepsi’s Reichert.

Adds GM’s Tihanyi: “It’s not about cutting things, but about focusing our efforts better. Promoters and event organizers need to realize that we have a much better understanding than we did even five years ago of how things can really work for us. I’m just not paying for something I don’t feel has any value to GM.”

To improve ROI measurement, GM is building an evaluation model that “assigns value to the assets of a promotion” with respect to GM value, not marketplace value,” Tihanyi explains. A complementary ROI projection model shows how an event impacts all levels of the purchase funnel. “We can make very good assumptions on what our long-term and short-term sales will be. We’re trying to bolster the science part of it, but you need to have a vision of the market dynamics and what a certain sponsorship can do for you.”

Reichert, for Pepsi, agrees: “Sponsorships, at some point, are live events and that’s where the art comes in. We don’t have a formula — we approach each sponsorship as something new that must be tackled in an innovative way.”

One-Man Brand

When a brand owns an event, should it share?

By Kelly Shermach

Early last month, Augusta National Golf Club made a kind of history: It released IBM, Citigroup, and Coca-Cola as sponsors of its 2003 Masters golf tournament.

The decision to fly solo with an affair the size of the Masters rarely happens. Observers credit Augusta’s deep pockets as it weathers charges of discrimination.

The Augusta, GA, club shed its sponsors after women’s groups pressured IBM to withdraw from the tourney because Augusta National has no female members. Coke and Citi reportedly also had conversations with Augusta National’s management about alleged discrimination. Augusta National executives had no comment.

“The owners of the Masters don’t need to partner with anybody. They’re not going to pander to anybody,” says Scott Becher, president of Sports and Sponsorships, Miami Beach, FL. “[Still,] I can’t think of another event that doesn’t need the money.”

Most event owners rely on partners’ marketing dollars to boost visibility. Fees are almost always part of a tie-in, although in-kind services can play a big role. ESPN’s X Games VIII (2002) were sponsored in part by AT&T, whose donation of telecommunications service was just as attractive as hard dollars.

JPMorgan Chase barters with partners to cover costs of its Corporate Challenge, a five-kilometer race for employees of registered companies. For nearly two decades, The New York Times, American Airlines, and Tiffany & Co. have traded resources for signage at races and on t-shirts. (The Times contributes two full-page ads, American tosses travel vouchers into the winner’s circle, and Tiffany’s designs racer awards.) This year, Coca-Cola Co.’s Dasani water and Fortune Magazine joined as sponsors. JPMorgan handles deals in-house.

Joint Checking

Companies that own events can leverage partners’ media spending to increase awareness and reach, and borrow equity from partners’ brands, since joint marketing implies mutual endorsement. A lesser-known brand extends an event owner into niches, and creates a new buzz for the brand.

“The challenge with any evergreen property is keeping it fresh” says Dave Hedrick, vp-promotional marketing for Warner Bros. Consumer Products, whose Taz Atti-Tour pairs Looney Tunes’ classic characters with popular activities and personalities to become more relevant to kids.

Burbank, CA-based Warner Bros. enlisted Wal-Mart Stores as a partner on the 19-city extreme sports tour with BMX bikers, skateboarders, and inline skaters performing and conducting clinics for kids alongside amateur competitions, video games, music, and autograph signings.

Warner Bros. tested the concept in May 2001 in Los Angeles, then slated a multi-city tour. “Cost analyses determined what would deliver the biggest reach based on budget and demographic targets,” says Hedrick.

Costs ordained the number of markets; Wal-Mart helped determine which locations. Other sponsors included Bravo Foods (Looney Tunes Slammers flavored milk), Akklaim, AOL, and Warner Bros. Theatrical.

Sponsorship “helps us cover some of the marketing cost, and provided another way to associate the characters with brands that kids know,” Hedrick says. Partners sampled attendees, and got “presented by” status.

In April, Intel Corp. touted the retail availability of laptop PCs with mobile Intel Pentium 4 processors by hosting events around New York City (September PROMO). It brought on board SoBe energy drinks and Giant bicycles — “brands complementary to the mobility push,” says Chris Katsuleres, consumer events and sponsorship manager at Santa Clara, CA-based Intel.

Giant literally extended the reach of mobile messengers wearing PCs, propelling them farther than they’d get on foot; SoBe sampled products. Intel drew younger consumers, an important audience for SoBe and Giant. Agency GMR Marketing, New Berlin, WI, tapped 150 paid college students (via partner agency Cornerstone Promotions Group, New York City) to be sure the active-lifestyle elements would spark an emotional connection among young, cool consumers.

Two brands, one position

Gum maker Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co. has moved beyond media ads since a 2000 mandate from ceo Bill Wrigley to weave Wrigley brands into the fabric of everyday life. Last fall Wrigley relaunched Orbit sugarless gum, off shelf in the U.S. despite success in the 1970s. Sampling was critical.

Wrigley tapped GMR to re-introduce Orbit “within a contemporary and fashionable context with a retro kick,” says GMR vp Steve Jarvis. Enter Vespa scooters, recently reintroduced by Piaggio USA. (Style-conscious publications lauded Vespa’s updated, modern appeal.) “We thought Orbit could borrow some of the ‘cool’ equity of Vespa, and Vespa could borrow some of the media and grassroots-event clout that was planned for Orbit,” says Jarvis. Ad shop BBDO changed a TV spot to include a scooter, and sampling crews traveled by Vespa, dressed as characters from the spot (September PROMO). Vespa contributed a fleet of scooters and accessories.

Whether marketers share their event or fly solo, the bottom line is to build the brand’s reach and image. The right partnerships, negotiated clearly and with well-defined objectives, can enhance an event’s message and amortize costs. A mismatch, on the other hand, could give consumers the wrong impression of your brand.

If you can’t play together in the sandbox, you can play alone in the sand trap.

The Contrarian Ponders

Is it all just for show?

By Jim Holbrook

George Carlin once said, “It is a time when there is so much in the show window and nothing in the stockroom.” Why do I feel like he could have been talking about event marketing?

I was brainstorming with several agencies and someone said, “I have a great idea! Let’s do a mobile marketing tour.” Everyone in the room thought it was a great idea. (Well, except me.) The mobile marketing bandwagon was really rolling. Have events become the default marketing plan?

George Carlin aside, listen to what marketers are saying: “ROI.” “Payout.” “A common language between the cmo and the cfo.” And this trend makes me scratch my head, too. How can you financially justify event marketing? Reaching 200,000 people costs a million bucks, for a cost per contact of (warning: higher math ahead) $5 per and a CPM of $5,000. Think of the dialogue on this one:

CFO: So you’re going to forego the efficient spot-media buy to put a couple of trucks in some parking lots?

CMO: That’s right.

CFO: And it’s going to cost roughly $5 to reach each consumer? Versus about four cents per consumer via an FSI?

CMO: That’s right.

CFO: Wait’ll I tell the ceo….

There must be some rational justification. Eighteen of this year’s Reggie Awards finalists (including the Super Reggie winner) had an event component. These guys must know a thing or two about ROI. I can’t picture them wasting money.

Look at the film category — usage flat to declining, retailers controlling the shots, private label up, digital photography growing. Both Kodak and Fuji have mounted events. Fuji’s Picture of America tour reached over 100,000 people. Kodak’s new Kodak Sings the Blues in Black & White pushes black & white film via The House of Blues. Both sound on-strategy and interesting to consumers, but is it better than doing something with Wal-Mart or Walgreens?

In the end, I realize that event marketing takes exception with the cfo’s thinking. Events aren’t efficient. They’re expensive. And the liability is pretty high, higher than a TV spot.

But smart marketers know consumerism isn’t a spectator sport anymore. To really persuade consumers, you have to get up alongside them. Word of mouth is the best form of marketing (for a product that performs). Well, event marketing is mass word of mouth. From the lady sampling Vienna sausage in aisle three to the backstage blitz at a Britney Spears concert, marketers are sidling up to consumers and seducing them. Seduction isn’t working in the family room, so we have to take it to the streets.

Basing your marketing plan on pure efficiency may make the cfo happy, but in the end it will fail. Reaching out to consumers — instead of just reaching them — is the effective solution these days.

Jim Holbrook, president of Zipatoni, would love to hear from your cfo. He can be reached at jim@zipatoni.com.


IEG SponsorDirect, Tarrytown, NY, lists properties in search of corporate sponsors. For information on these and others, go to iegsponsordirect.com.

Property Description Property Type, Location, Dates Sponsorship Price Range* Current Sponsors
Alamo Bowl Televised to 6 million+ households during ESPN’s Bowl Week; features college teams from the Big Ten and Big 12. Generates the second highest average rating (4.53) of all 15 ESPN games, with an average annual attendance of 61,035 and offers more than $3.5 million in measurable media value for the title sponsor in the game broadcast alone. Sports, San Antonio December 28, 2002 $$$$$$ (Title Sponsorship) American Airlines, ESPN, Miller Lite, SBC Southwestern Bell
ArtWalk A year-long program ending in a two-day showcase of the best original art in the San Diego/Tijuana region, attracting 65,000 attendees. Works are displayed in outdoor venues, galleries and businesses. Performers provide entertainment. Sponsorship programs are customized for year-round participation and visibility. More than 100,000 copies of the Annual ArtWalk Magazine are distributed in 90 local Starbucks. Fair, San Diego April 26-27, 2003 $$ Cox Communications, Fashion Valley, Hawaiian Airlines, San Diego Magazine, Starbucks
Black Heritage Art Show Offers an audience of 35,000 college graduates ages 35-57, average household income $160,000: portion of proceeds benefits at-risk inner city youth in African-American Visual Arts Assn.’s America’s Promise initiative and Art is the Key Youth Mentoring Program. The show is the Mid-Atlantic region’s largest ethnic event held during Black History Month. Festival, Baltimore January 31-February 2, 2003 $-$$ Baltimore Sun, Bank of America, Octobergallery.com, Pepsi-Cola, Radio One, Upscale magazine, WBAL-TV
Bon Jovi World Tour 2003 Bon Jovi’s newest album will be backed by an international tour; starts Jan. 3, with 40 shows in 30 North American markets over 12 weeks with 600,000 attendees. A media and promotion campaign will launch approximately six weeks prior in each market, including print, radio, and TV. Media mix will vary by market, and top $1.5 million. Performing Arts and Entertainment, International begins January 2003 $$$$$$ N/A
City of Los Angeles Marathon The largest marathon in the western continental U.S. with 22,000 participants. Can sponsor: six-month L.A. Roadrunners training program, three-day Quality of Life Expo (80,000+ attendees), Carbo Load Dinner, Acura L.A. Bike Tour (17,000+ participants), Official Charity Program (raised $2.5 MM for 50 non-profits in 2002), Wheelchair division, 5K Run/Walk (4,000+ participants), and the Los Angeles Marathon. Sponsors can get stand-alone presence with live TV coverage. Sports, Los Angeles March 2, 2003 $$$$ – $$$$$ American Airlines, City of Angeles Medical Center, Gatorade, Gatorade Energy Bar, Honda, Robek’s, Salonpas, Saucony, Sparkletts Water
Columbus Blue Jackets 750,000 hockey fans include 14,000+ season ticket holders (over 60% with annual income of $100,000 and more than 70% business professionals). Sponsorships integrated with in-building, in-arena, and in-market elements; promotions designed to drive traffic, create new revenue opportunities, or build retail loyalty. Sports, Columbus September through April $$ – $$$$ Anheuser-Busch, Bank One, Nationwide Insurance, Ohio Health, Pepsi, Pontiac-GMC
Fair Saint Louis Three-day fair combines live music and entertainment with air shows, educational activities, food, and fireworks, for 1 million attendees. The Fair Saint Louis Foundation contributes to St. Louis community initiatives (Lighting of the Eads Bridge, creation of the Mississippi River Overlook, and Riverfront Promenade). Over 6,500 volunteers produce the Fair each year. Fair, St. Louis July 4-6, 2003 $$ – $$$$ Ameren UE, Bank of America, Budweiser, Coin Acceptors, Emerson, The Boeing Co., U.S. Bank
Florida State Fair Twelve-day celebration in Tampa with daily parades, horse shows, livestock competitions, roving entertainers, concerts, and food. More than half a million attendees. Fair, Tampa February 2003 $$ Budweiser, Concessions by Cox, Florida Lottery, Health Expo, Kitchen Craft, Pepsi-Cola, Publix Supermarkets, Wipercheck, Zephyrhills Spring Water
Hyperflite Youth Flying Disc Championships Numerous p.r., advertising, marketing, entertainment, and event opportunities through local, regional, national, and international promotions. Sponsors get promotional opportunities through celebrity touring team appearances, TV and print coverage, and Hyperflite’s Web site with sponsor links. Sports, National Ongoing $$ N/A
Love Our Children USA A national, non-profit organization dedicated to redefining child abuse through aggressive public awareness, education, and advocacy. Goal is to stamp out child abuse by creating public awareness through educating parents and the public. Cause, National Ongoing $$ – $$$ ConEdison
Monterey Jazz Festival Three-day event with affluent, educated, and dedicated fans. Sponsors can display and sell products or services during shows. Presenting and official sponsors get prime seats (unavailable to the general public); year-round exposure in ads and Web site; invitations to private parties and the VIP Artist Bar. Sponsorship dollars invested in the Festival’s international, national, and regional jazz education programs. Category-exclusive slots available. Festival, Monterey, CA September 2003 $$ Microsoft, Monterra Wine, Peet’s Coffee & Tea, San Francisco Chronicle, See’s Candies, Tower Records, Yamaha Instruments
National Cherry Festival With an attendance of 500,000, the week-long festival has 150 sponsorable events including: Music shows, sporting events, rides, pie-eating contests, and airshows by the U.S. Navy Blue Angels. Festival, Traverse City, MI July 5 – 12, 2003 $$$ CenturyTel, Northwest Airlines, Passageways Travel, Pepsi-Cola, Traverse Bay Entertainment
New Jersey State Barbecue Championship A three-day, open-air festival with 20,000 attendees, featuring championship barbecue competition, live cooking demos, celebrity guests, and food and beverage. Competition sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society and officiated by representatives of KCBS reps and volunteer judges. Grand Champion is eligible to compete in the invitation-only world championship, the American Royale, held annually in Kansas City, MO. Festival, Wildwood, NJ July 11-13, 2003 $$ Bic SureStart Utility Lighters, Bud Light
Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation Department Part of the 31st-largest metropolitan market in the U.S. with three million tourists in 2000. The Department offers seasonal special events, festivals, and year-round sponsorship at family-oriented programs and events. Also home to several athletic venues with naming rights opportunities. Gov’t/CVB, Virginia Beach, VA Ongoing $ – $$$ Atlantic Financial Federal Credit Union, Chick-fil-A, Coca-Cola, Gatorade, Pet Supplies Plus, Pizza Hut, WCMS-FM
Quick Chek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning The three-day festival bring 165,000 fans family-friendly entertainment and a concert. Middle- to high-income households, families with children, and empty nest families; brands can boost revenue, launch products, and generate leads. Regional and national promotion extensions, entitlements and title opportunities available. Festival, Readington, NJ July 2003 $$ – $$$ Anheuser-Busch, GPU, Quick Chek
Speed National Tour by COSI Science Center A 6,000 square-foot traveling exhibition taps consumers’ fascination with speed, and uses modern transportation to teach aerodynamics, friction, momentum, and acceleration. Connect via ads, marketing, and hospitality benefits in tour markets. COSI Columbus, (one of the largest science centers) takes SPEED to California Science Center, Boston Museum of Science, Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, Franklin Institute of Science, Science Museum of Minnesota, and more. Museum Exhibition, National Through 2005 $$$$ – $$$$$ National Science Foundation
The Orchestra PartnerShip A collaboration of the 34 largest symphony orchestras in the U.S. gives uncluttered, cost-efficient national marketing to attractive, hard-to-reach audience. Programming options appeal to mature patrons and growing segment of younger attendees. Sponsorships can include all 34 orchestras or select markets. Performing Arts and Entertainment, National Ongoing $$$$$ – $$$$$$ First USA
Treadway Racing Indy 500 winner has a 70 percent top-10 finishing rate. All events broadcast on ABC or ESPN. Sponsorship includes extensive hospitality package in each race market, plus use of team’s Indianapolis Motor Speedway luxury suite for the NASCAR Brickyard 400 race, USF1 Formula 1 race, and the Indy Racing season finale at the Texas Motor Speedway. Sports, multiple U.S. markets Year-round $$$$$$ (Title Sponsorship) Airlink AEI, BG Products, Coca-Cola, Firestone, Meijer
Verizon Music Festival The 2002 tour — four-city, multi-day celebration of diverse genres and artists — attracted 35,000 attendees per market. Each festival is customized to the city’s musical interests. Features both marquee and emerging talent, including R&B, Latin, world music, soul, and jazz. Tour stops for 2002 were New York City, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Tampa Bay. Sponsors may help determine performer lineup. Performing Arts and Entertainment, multiple U.S. markets September through November $-$$$$ Verizon
Warren Miller Film Tour Reaches 150+ cities with more than 70 percent of the audience returning each year and, for 52 years, has run high-energy live theatrical events. Reaches upscale young and active audiences year-round. Recognized worldwide, national in scope, expertly executed on a local level. Sponsorships range from comprehensive national partnerships to regional and local sponsorships, plus niche and highly targeted custom programs. Performing Arts and Entertainment, National October-December $$$$ – $$$$$ Nissan, Ski magazine, Skiing magazine, Sony
World Wildlife Fund — Pennies for the Planet program Environmental education fundraising program encourages kids to learn through community-based, environmentally inspired activities. Launched in 1994, children from kindergarten to high school have raised over $400,000 for conservation. National and local platform for sponsors. Cause, National Ongoing $$$$ (Title Sponsorship) Bloomingdale’s, Breyer’s Ice Cream, Delverde, First USA/VISA, The Dixie Chicks, Yahoo!
* $$$$$$ = $1MM+ / $$$$$ = $250,001-$1MM / $$$$ = $100,001-$250,000 / $$$ = $50,001-$100,000 / $$ = $10,001-$50,000 / $ = $10,000 and under.
Price Range is for Sponsor or Official Sponsor status unless otherwise noted.
SOURCE: IEG SponsorDirect
IEG SponsorDirect is an online sponsorship marketplace that lists thousands of properties in sports, events, arts, entertainment, media, causes, attractions, and nontraditional segments. More information at iegsponsordirect.com or 866-955-4357.