Skip to main content

Get Sponsored By Following the Lead of OK-GO and Others

The youngest person ever to attempt a solo crossing trip to the South Pole on snowshoes, the bass player for Kanye West’s touring band, Tony Stewart’s left side tire changer, a participant at a Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure event and OK-GO all share something in common; they want to be or are being sponsored.

Each of these examples offers lessons for a charity that wants their cause marketing to get sponsored, too.

OK-GO is sponsored because it brings a wild amount of creativity to its music and music videos. Chevrolet sponsors OK-GO’s latest music video of its song, x, because the band consistently turns out the most downloaded music videos on the Internet. And we all go to watch their videos because of OK-GO’s wonderful power-pop sensibility and a visual approach to music videos that you can’t find anywhere else. These guys are both rock and roll and nerds. The result is that their videos are the craziest kind of eye candy you’ve ever seen in a music video. And all of us respond. The video was released to YouTube on Feb 5, 2012 and it has already passed 10 million views.

Tony Stewart’s left side tire changer is sponsored because he has unusual media access. As of this writing Stewart is in first place in the NASCAR standings, so every time he heads to the pits during a race the TV crew is there. In NASCAR racing, the left tires wear faster, so the tires on that side get changed more often. Moreover it’s easier and safer to put a TV camera on the left side of the pits. So the left side tire changer shows up more often in NASCAR TV coverage.

Kanye West’s bass player is sponsored because he performs in front of thousands of people every night of the tour. But it’s not the number of people that counts so much as it is the concentration of the fans. While Kanye sells millions, only the most hard-core and passionate fans come to his live shows. For the right kind of sponsor Kanye West’s audience is hard to get anywhere else. By sponsoring Kanye’s bass player they can tap into West’s authenticity without having to pay the price that the star himself would garner.

A participant in a Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure event is sponsored because of emotional connections. When your sister, who beat breast cancer, asks you to sponsor her, it’s all but impossible to say no.

And the teenager soloing across the Antarctic landscape? Well I made that up. Or rather, I don’t know of such a person. But what a story it would be! Such a person would get sponsored because a successful assault on the South Pole would be inherently inspirational and almost certainly harrowing.

Inspiration, emotion, carefully targeted audiences, access to the media, and unusual creativity are all smart ways to ensure that your cause marketing gets sponsored.


Popular posts from this blog

Three Ways to Be Charitable

I’ve spent a big chunk of my career working with or for charities. Many of my dearest and ablest friends are in the charity ‘space.’ And the creativity and problem-solving coming out of the nonprofit sector has never been greater.  Although I’ve had numerous nonprofit clients over the last decade or so, I haven’t worked in a charity for about 12 years now, which gives me a certain distance. Distance lends perspective and consequently, I get a lot of people asking me which charities I recommend for donations of money or time. My usual answer is, “it depends.” “On what?” they respond. “On what you want from your charitable activities,” I reply. It sounds like a weaselly consultant kind of an answer, but bear with me for a moment. The English word charity comes from the Latin word caritas and means “from the heart,” implying a voluntary act. Caritas is the same root word for cherish. The Jews come at charity from a different direction. The Hebrew word that is usually rendered as charity is t…

Top Eight Cause-Related Marketing Campaigns of 2007

Yeah, You Read it Right. It's a Top 8 List.

More cause-related marketing campaigns are unveiled every day across the world than I review in a year at the cause-related marketing blog. And, frankly, I don’t see very many campaigns from outside North America. So I won’t pretend that my annual list of the top cause-related marketing campaigns is exhaustive.

But, like any other self-respecting blogger, I won’t let my superficial purview stop me from drawing my own tortured conclusions!

So… cue the drumroll (and the dismissive snickers)… without further ado, here is my list of the eight best cause-related marketing campaigns of 2007.

My list of the worst cause-related marketing campaigns of 2007 follows on Thursday.

Chilis and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
I was delighted by the scope of Chilis’ campaign for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. As you walked in you saw the servers adorned in black co-branded shirts. Other elements included message points on the Chilis beverage coas…

Five Steps To Nurture a 30-Year Cause Marketing Relationship

Last Monday, July 22, 2013, March of Dimes released the annual results of its campaign with Kmart... now in its thirtieth year... and thereby begged the question, what does it takes to have a multi-decade cause marketing relationship between a cause and a sponsor?

In the most recent year, Kmart,the discount retailer, donated $7.4 million to the March of Dimes, bringing the 30-year total to nearly $114 million. March of Dimes works to improve the health of mothers and babies.

Too many cause marketing relationships, in my estimation, resemble speed-dating more than long-term marriage. There can be good reasons for short-term cause marketing relationships. But most causes and sponsors benefit more from long-term marriages than short-term hookups, the main benefit being continuity. Cause marketing trades on the trust that people, usually consumers, put in the cause and the sponsor. The longer the relationship lasts the more trust is evidenced.

There's also a sponsor finding cost that…