What do the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, Invesco Field at Mile High and the AT&T Lodo Music Festival have in common? Those of you who answered, “Places of entertainment,” congratulations – you are wrong. The correct answer is “Events sponsored by big name companies.” If you got the answer right, give yourself two points and a big pat on the back.
While these names have been mentioned time and time again, I had not quite understood the extent of sponsorship advertising until I printed off an article from the New York Times Web site, and found that my printer-friendly version was brought to me by Starbucks.com. It appears that for every moment in life there will be some company there to bring you the memory. Sponsorship is important for companies and the public alike, however, when does it cross the line from beneficial to absurd?
Sponsorship spending has seen a dramatic increase in years past. In 1997, companies in North America spent $5.4 billion dollars to sponsor sports, entertainment, causes and events. In 2002 that number leaped to $9.5 billion. The reason? Sponsorships allow companies to get their names out and develop a rapport with a large target market. It makes sense that a company would want to spend its money and focus its efforts where it could reach a large group of people.
But now we are seeing corporate names popping up everywhere. From stadiums to web articles, the public can never get away. It is time that companies realize the ludicrousness of sponsoring some events and items, and focus their advertising elsewhere.
Some companies are already taking the initiative to stop senseless sponsoring. Qwest, for example, pulled back on their sponsoring of The International, a golf tournament in Castle Rock. Instead of preceding “The International” with the Qwest name, the company dropped the title and played a less evident role in the event. Other companies are also realizing that putting a name on every event that comes up is not necessarily a solid move. These businesses are being much more selective on the events and sites that carry their name.
Also, not every sponsor is bad. Yoplait has been sponsoring the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation’s Race for the Cure since 2001 and this year hopes to donate $2 million. These types of sponsorship prove that a company can help out an event while at the same time promoting the name.
Sponsoring is not something that should disappear. However, it is something that should be kept in check. When a company sponsors every stadium, event and article, the effect is lost. People become sick of the name drops and are less likely to view that company in a good light. And when corporate names show up on printer-friendly versions, it is laughable. How do you take a company seriously that is willing to spend money for a name on your homework article?
Hopefully, businesses will follow leaders like Qwest and Yoplait in selecting sponsorship activities. Until everyone gets the memo, we might see that our drink from the drinking fountain is sponsored by Aquafina. I would finish this article, but my sponsor would like to say a few words…