Sponsorship of events is a giant business because it can be a great way to generate exposure for a brand that, if properly done, generates sales and develops customer loyalty.
I saw it work firsthand some 30 years ago, when I helped develop an event sponsorship for client L'eggs pantyhose. Those were the days of women coming into their own in sports and fitness, when it had become acceptable – or even fashionable – for women to sweat. We organized a nationwide series of women-only road races – the L'eggs 10K Series. The program cost about $250,000, but it generated several million in publicity and cemented the loyalty of countless active women.
That sponsorship tie made sense.
I've seen so many other sponsorships that make little or no sense. If you have to think about why a company or brand is sponsoring an event or program, then it probably isn't a good fit.
But I read today in The Wall Street Journal online about a new sponsorship that made so much sense I had to laugh out loud. As we approach the Fourth of July, we also draw closer to the annual rite of gluttony – the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island. It garners news headlines far beyond the metro New York area; it's become a national – or perhaps international – news story.
Every year, when we see the news coverage of guys stuffing themselves with hot dog after hot dog, we gag at the thought of eating so much. Our stomachs ache just watching someone like Joey Chestnut down 68 hot dogs (with buns) in 10 minutes. Ugh!
So what better brand to become the sponsor of this annual pageant of piggery than Pepto Bismol? Actually, according to the Journal story, the brand will be sponsoring the Nathan's contest, which is part of a national series of eating competitions under the banner of Major League Eating.
Over-stuffing yourself with Nathan's hot dogs and Pepto Bismol – what a perfect match.