I had the great pleasure of being in the Superdome for the Saints game yesterday for their game against San Francisco for the top of the NFC . (Awesome game, unfortunate last :02).
I was surprised to see that the Fan Impact Play was sponsored by Waitr, a food delivery service that went public at the end of 2018 and less than a year later is about to have its stock delisted for trading below $1 per share (they’ve lost almost $900M in value). So, for investors, football isn’t the only thing providing high blood pressure in the Superdome. I can’t imagine how upset their shareholders must be to sit in that dome and watch that logo go up on the big screen as their stock goes down.
I’m all about big-name sponsorships when you have a big enough budget to support the spend and you are sure that your target audience will see it. Contrast the waste of Waitr’s money with the way Rouse’s Grocery uses their Saints sponsorship. On the way into the dome, each of us was handed a stadium approved clear bag with the Saints logo and Rouse’s logo on it. Smart marketing move. We have to use clear bags to go to the game and they would make good totes during a trip to the grocery store. Very on-brand.
Or consider the way Hancock Whitney uses their sponsorship as the official bank of the Saints. At one point during the game, fans are encouraged to hold up their Hancock Whitney debit card while the camera pans the arena highlighting these fans and then choosing one to win a prize. Fans want to get an account at the bank so they can have the only card with the Saints logo, the opportunity to be on camera, and the chance to win prizes. Definitely a win/win.
Rouse’s can determine their results by the number of bags issued, bags used in their store, and see their bags out in the community. Hancock Whitney can measure the return on their investment (ROI) by accounts opened and cards used. Since the bank makes money every time the card is used, there is a true equation of the number of dollars spent on the sponsorship and the number of dollars earned by the cards.
When you are considering a sponsorship, there are a few options for your consideration:
1. You are donating to a worthwhile cause that you support and believe in the work they do to improve the world. This option is charity and it doesn’t matter about return on investment.
2. You are providing funds because of what you get in exchange – tickets to an event, etc. This option is about ego and quid pro quo so there probably isn’t an ROI beyond what you receive.
3. You are investing in marketing and looking for a return on that investment.
So every time you are offered a sponsorship opportunity, ask yourself what you, and your shareholders will get for this investment. If there is a true return on investment then you know the answer of whether or not this is a donation or an investment.
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