corporate sponsorships

How Corporate Sponsors Can Optimize the Impact of Their Message Content: Mastering the Message – Improving the Processability and Effectiveness of Sponsorship Activation


The September 2015 issue of the Journal of Advertising Research addressed the issue of corporate sponsorships and the impact of the content of activation messages on sponsorship effectiveness.  Francois A. Carrillat, University of Technology, Sydney, Business School; Alain d’Astous, HEC, Montreal; and Marie-Pier Charette Couture, Nikon Optical, Canada, investigated these factors through an experimental design using real video stimuli with 720 adult consumer participants.

Sponsorship activations can differ either according to their focus (on the brand versus on the event), or their scope (promoting a product versus a corporate image). Statistical analyses supported the authors’ hypothesis that sponsorship activations that are consistent with respect to their focus and their scope are easier for targeted audiences to process. In turn, this enhanced “processability” leads consumers to develop a positive response toward the sponsor.

The authors concluded that:

-Sponsorship managers must realize that activation messages vary with respect to their focus and scope and that this represents a key determinant of sponsorship success.

-Choosing between a brand focus and an event focus in the context of sponsorship activation is a strategic decision—and a common challenge facing sponsors. The decision to adopt a product or a corporate-image communication approach can also be challenging.

-Sponsorship evaluation is optimized when the focus and the scope of the activation message both aim at fostering the commercial interest of the sponsor, or when they both put the commercial interest of the sponsor in the background.

-Sponsorship activations should emphasize the brand as a sponsor of the event to promote products but the event as being sponsored by the brand to enhance corporate image.


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