Sponsorships on the Rise

Quick – can you name the top U.S. companies that use sponsorship as a critical part of their marketing programs? If you chose soft drinks, beer, and automobiles you hit it out of the park. In 2011, PepsiCo has the largest sponsor in the U.S., spending an estimated $340 – $345 million on event sponsorships. Pepsi is flowed by Coca-Cola at $265 – $270 million, making the soft drink industry the largest user of sponsorships in marketing campaigns.

Not far behind is Anheuser-Busch in a mega deal as the official beer sponsor for the NFL, a deal costing an estimated $50 million per year for the next six years. AB’s current spending is estimated between $255 – $260 million.

According to IEG, a sponsorship research and consulting firm, the number of companies spending at least $15 million on sponsorships stands at a count of 86 firms, an increase from last year’s 77 firms. There were 44 companies that increased their sponsorship spending, and only seven companies that decreased spending.

With the Summer Olympics starting soon, look for large corporate sponsors to own the different venues. Among the official sponsors are Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Panasonic, Proctor & Gamble, and more.


Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss how sponsorships fit into the promotional mix.
  2. When are sponsorships effective, and not effective?
  3. Divide students into teams. Have them develop a list of the 10 top sponsorship companies.
  4. Have students come up with a list of the top events these companies might sponsor.
  5. Compare the student list with the article list. Discuss what makes sponsorship a good fit for these companies.
  6. In teams, have students choose a product that is not commonly thought of as an event sponsor (ex: toilet paper or baggies). Next, have students develop a sponsorship opportunity for this company.
  7. What is the target market for this product? Why does the event fit?

Source:  Ad Age Daily, 5/1/12

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