The sponsorship industry has really moved on in the last few years, do we really still lag behind the advertising  industry? Probably, yes  but only in two respects – how we promote ourselves and speed of innovation / progression. Both are linked.

1.       The advertising industry is catching up

We mustn’t forget that sponsorship is still a relatively new discipline compared to advertising, but TV / Broadcast sponsorship is even younger - only 25 years old. Look at how quickly and most recently the media/adverting sponsorship industry has moved on

They have gone from recently adopting the best practice that the traditional sponsorship has adhered to for years (theoretically), only with more creative execution

  • For example ‘ad bumpers are no longer ad bumpers’ -  The sponsor needed to add value to the program and the commercial break needs to be as good as the program (content) just as any sponsorship activation needs to add value to the rights holder and fan
  • Ad funded partnerships are now getting integrated throughout a business just as any sponsorship should, great examples of this are:
    • Morrison’s Ant & Dec Saturday night take away sponsorship, where the in store announcements are now made by Ant and Dec
    • Compare the Market’s - Alexander the Meerkat – has become a personality in his own right. Now with PR, Merchandise and even a product placement with his live interview on ‘This Morning’ – brilliant!
  • Digital integration is everywhere
  • The advertising industry talks really confidently and positively about… sponsorship

2.       The advertising industry doesn’t beat itself up

Thank god we’ve got over the ‘how can sponsorship be evaluated debate’ and moved on to a ‘how best can sponsorship be evaluated’. But again the tone of this conversation must change to a more positive message, a more solutions focused, example based (case studies) debate as opposed to more questions than answers, as this only fuels self-doubt.

Questioning and challenging what we do is very important – it’s a key part of progress, but we must also come up with solutions or be more solutions focused as an industry. We are no more or less robust than the Advertising industry (our metrics are based on their metrics) , no more or less consistent (there are good practitioners and bad practitioners, good ads and bad ads) but I don’t see the advertising industry constantly publically questioning itself or agonising over its worth. It just goes out and does a great job of  selling (advertising) adverting.

3.       By constantly looking back and asking questions we are not looking forward or finding solutions

We are spending so much time trying to justify ourselves and benchmark ourselves against other sectors that we’ve almost forgotten and don’t spend enough time talking about (most importantly selling) what we do best – emotive engagement. We drag our argument down, weaken it. Yes work on your weaknesses but focus on your strengths.

The advertising industry is introspective and self-analyses but it doesn’t spend its time beating its self-up, it talks its self-up, it is incredibly self-confident which fuels an air of both confidence and enables positive progression. This is the biggest lesson we can learn.  Sell ourselves better, more positively, collectively and with confidence.

The advertising industry needs the sponsorship industry more than the sponsorship industry need the advertising industry – but you wouldn’t think it

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Tel: 0208 629 5000