Sponsorship: Show Respect

In the lead up to the Olympic Games there has been much talk in the media about Telstra’s clever advertising that implies they are an official sponsor when in fact they are not. 

If you’re not familiar with the campaign, Telstra launched a ‘Go To Rio’ marketing campaign which promotes the ‘Olympics on Seven’ app and features the famous Peter Allen song ‘I Go To Rio’ playing throughout. 

The AOC commenced legal action against Telstra wanting them to pull the ads because they felt the ads mislead the public into believing they were an official sponsor of the Olympics when they are not. They have made it clear that Telstra is in no way associated with the Olympics, the Olympic athletes or the Olympic Committees. Unfortunately the AOC lost its federal court case against Telstra so Telstra is now free to run the ads with the AOC having to pay their legal costs. Telstra has since amended their ads to stipulate they are not an official Olympic sponsor.

So why is Telstra trying to jump on the Olympics bandwagon? The story goes that Telstra was the one to sever ties with the AOC last year. Is it a way of gaining favourable exposure without the financial outlay? Is this clever advertising or a slap in the face to the actual sponsors of the event. As it happens, Optus is an official sponsor. Is this fair to Optus? 

In the public eye its probably a case of ‘they’re two big companies, they'll sort it out’ and ‘who cares about the sponsors any way, we just want to watch the Olympics.’ What a lot of people don’t realise is in a lot of cases the sponsors make things happen. They may play a part in getting the athletes to Rio, for providing uniforms, funds for accommodation and the list goes on. If this were a tale of two small businesses battling it out would we be more sympathetic to the business that was in Optus’ shoes? I think regardless of whether you are a small business or a large corporation, the same rules apply. 

I mentioned in a previous post that sponsorship dollars are extremely hard to come by and as such the terms of the sponsorship should be respected. This is no different. If Telstra wanted to be seen as affiliated with the Olympics then they should have continued they’re relationship with the AOC. The Olympics is a time of setting aside differences and all nations coming together to compete for their countries so shouldn’t businesses take a leaf out of this book and show each other respect when it comes to fair business practice?

What Am I Watching?

I was recently watching an episode of My Kitchen Rules and was really taken aback by the aggressive product endorsement. Like most people, I know that reality TV shows rely on the support and contribution of leading brands to be able to produce their shows but I was really surprised by the in-your-face promotion of the Holden cars used in this episode of the show. 

In the past we have seen the brand of car and the model but on this particular night we not only were informed of what car was being driven but we were told by the contestants of how wonderful the GPS was and how great the functions of the radio were. Had I just flicked over from another program I would have been forgiven for thinking I was watching a Holden ad.

This has never been the case in the past when Hyundai was the car of choice for MKR so I have to wonder if Holden made these demands. As a sponsor they are entitled to negotiate what they believe to be fair sponsorship terms but did MKR sell out? Were they that desperate for a car manufacturer to come on board that they gave their contestants part-time sales gigs? Are they alienating their public? We all know these shows need advertisers and sponsors but is this more aggressive approach actually annoying the viewer?

I know sponsorship is an integral part of MKR but is this going too far? I just want to watch the contestants cook. If I wanted a demo on the car I would visit my Holden dealership on the weekend. 


Not Just a Pair of Shoes!

The Melbourne Cup took place a few weeks ago and everyone is still talking about Jessica Mauboy not singing the national anthem prior to the race as planned. 

There has been much speculation about the reason why she didn’t take to the stage. It has since been confirmed that Jess’s styling team dressed her in a Myer sanctioned dress and head piece but completed her outfit with David Jones shoes. The VRC and Myer took exception to this, resulting in Mauboy not performing.

Everyone loves Jess Mauboy, she’s Australia’s sweetheart and can do no wrong in the eyes of the Australian public. For that reason a lot of the comments made allude to the fact that it was just a pair of shoes so what was the big deal? 

The big deal is that Myer sponsored the event and as such would have stipulated that all personalities on the official running sheet of the Melbourne Cup would have to abide by their sponsorship agreement guidelines as agreed with the VRC. Any company sponsoring an event has the right to make such stipulations. This would all have been negotiated between Myer and the VRC or any other company and event. 

Sponsorship is never black and white and to a lay person the intricacies of sponsorship agreements can seem excessive or even ridiculous. There was an instance quite a few years ago in Cairns when a $250,000 Steinway piano was purchased by the Innisfail council to replace the one damaged by Cyclone Larry. There was such an uproar that much needed relief money had been spent on such a large and unnecessary purchase. Residents sent letters to the editor of the local papers, some suggesting that since Elton John was touring that year and passing through Cairns that he should play that very expensive piano. He would never have played that piano. Had he been asked to play it he would have said no and then been considered rude or a snob. No one would have considered that he is sponsored by Yamaha and as such can not play another brand without violating his sponsorship agreement.

Sponsors pay a large sum of money to sponsor events or personalities and in turn have the right to expect their terms are met. Gaining sponsors for an event is hard work and is often met with plenty of rejection. When you do manage to land a sponsor you need to nurture that relationship. I’m not saying you have to rollover and do everything the sponsor wants, you negotiate terms that are beneficial to both parties and you need to respect those terms. I’m sure David Jones would have had something to say had they sponsored the event and Jess planned to wear Myer shoes on stage!