What consumers think about sponsorships

Brent Barootes, president of Partnership Group, shares new research into the public's perceptions of sponsorship investments from brands.

Donating prizes, giving cash to organizations and offering discounts on tickets and merchandise are the top three methods consumers rank as the most appealing way a brand can promote a sponsorship.

That’s one of the findings from the 2014  Consumer Sponsorship Ranking, which is being revealed Wednesday by Brent Barootes, president of Calgary-based Partnership Group, during FFWD Advertising and Marketing Week at the Tiff Bell Lightbox. The survey of 2,005 Canadians gauges the public’s perception about sponsorship, providing valuable insights for brands trying to create affinity with consumers.

For instance, the most sponsorship dollars is spent on sports, at nearly 50%, while spend on fairs, festivals and municipal-owned properties such as hockey rinks and public parks is the fastest growing sectors in the industry, Barootes tells MiC. However, more consumers in the study said they would both pay more and be more likely to conduct business with brands that sponsor causes.

And respondents didn’t seem to mind a brand tooting their own horn about the causes and charities they sponsor, with 49% saying they would feel more favourable to a brand that promotes the affiliation themselves, compared with 30% who said they would feel more favourable towards it if the cause or charity thanked the company. Another 21% were indifferent.

Respondents were also asked their opinion of companies sponsoring municipalities. While 86% said companies should be able to sponsor public spaces like hockey rinks and recreation centres, 78% said there should be no preferential treatment for these sponsors and 72% said they believed if a corporate sponsorship of a municipality is awarded a contract, they like that sponsor might not have won in a fair way. This shows skepticism toward municaplities gettting sponsorship by corporation, Barootes says.

Other highlights from the study include:

  • Molson and Visa were tied as the brands seen as the most active Canadian sponsors. However Visa was the brand most-mentioned by respondents, across all industries
  • The Terry Fox Run is the single-most mentioned charity run/walk/fundraiser event in Canada.
  • The Montreal Canadiens are considered the most prestigious sports team in Canada
  • The importance of the Stanely Cup increased from 24% to 29% in this year’s survey
  • The top four industries believed to be very supportive of events and causes remained the same as last year’s survey: banks, breweries, energy and soft drink cos and sports equipment cos.
  • The top four industries for sponsoring events and causes remained the same: banks, breweries, energy and soft drink cos and sports equipment cos.

The study was completed between April 29 and May 15 of 2014 and included 2,005 online interviews, with a target sample representative of Canada’s overall population. Barootes will present more findings from the study during a morning session of the The Institute of Communication Agencies-run FFWD Advertising and Marketing week.