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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.


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