Corporate Sponsorships: Strategic Marketing or Obligatory Handouts?


Any marketing team leader or members understand annual budget planning and sponsorship obligations.  Sponsorships are important to relationship building both locally and nationally, all in the name of brand awareness.  That said, how does one introduce intriguing product integration that feels natural and not forced in relation to program content?

A stellar example of who’s getting it right is Volkswagen.  They integrated the Beetle as a Shark Cage two years running.  The unorthodox yet brilliant concept was introduced on-air as a short-form content series allowing viewers a chance to watch as a marine biologist took the Beetle Convertible for a subaquatic road trip. In addition they paired the series with Shark Week “sneak peeks” which offered exclusive looks into the forthcoming Shark Week programming. (Sessions, 2013)

See one of their Youtube promo below:

See the subaquatic road map here!

VW leveraged digital media through an organized, strategic campaign approach.  Their utilization of Vine, Instagram, Twitter, and Youtube was cohesive and without doubt, resonated with the audience based on social response.

The lesson here isn’t for marketing departments to fight for multimillion dollar, one month campaign pushes. The lesson here it to be authentic.  VW put their money where their mouth is through monetary support to protect the oceans in a push called Surfrider in conjunction with the Shark Week campaign.  When corruption is everywhere it’s refreshing to see a large corporation with honorable intentions and by judgement of their campaign response, I’m not alone.

About Surfrider – They are a grassroots organization. They’re local in many coastal regions, and operate in 18 countries worldwide.

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