Guerilla sponsorship

Sponsorship in the arts usually takes the form of a large, multi-national corporation looking to get some extra exposure by getting their logo in the program of a theatre production. Who knew that this idea could be turned on its head and the theatre production could become the sponsor?

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Broadway.com, arguably the largest news provider for North-American theatre, has announced that its coverage of the 2013 Tony Awards will be sponsored by Matilda: The Musical. Now for those of you who don’t know, the Tony Awards are the biggest awards show when it comes to theatre and are watched by almost 7 million people in North America.

Due to the huge number of viewers, the Tony Awards attracts a lot of commercial sponsors as well as a lot of press. But what we often forget about is the demand for press surrounding big events such as this and the way that sponsors can get their brand as close to the Tony Awards name as possible – while saving money!

Winning an award would obviously be the best way to spread the message that your show is linked to the Tony Awards, but there are cheaper and better ways around that rather large hurdle.

We know that most people watch television with at least one other device dividing their attention. For the most part, these devices are smart phones, tablets or computers which all have access to the internet and provide the user with the opportunity to find out more information about aspects of the show they are watching. So what website are viewers of the Tony Awards most likely to come across during their search for information? Broadway.com!

Once they move onto the Broadway.com page, on the night of the Tony Awards, they will be bombarded with articles and updates about the shows as well as advertising by the major sponsor of their Tony Awards coverage . . . Matilda: The Musical.

While Matilda’s brand name may appear to be quite a long way from the Tony Awards themselves, they are able to catch all the people who are searching for information, and possibly tickets, for the shows they are currently viewing at the awards night. In addition, to targeting consumers during their search for tickets, they also position their brand all over a page that is also covered in the Tony Awards brand which will encourage consumers to unconsciously link the two brands together.

BAZINGA! As a result of their clever promotion, Matilda appear to be sponsoring the Tony Awards without forking out the millions required to actually become a sponsor of the awards show.

Despite clever initiatives like this, I can still promise you that you will see adverts for Matilda in the ad breaks and on other media sources. Why? Because when you have one night to leave an influence with a less specialised market, you go for broke!

Over the next couple of weeks as the awards get even closer we will begin to see some more of these sneaky attempts at brand positioning – stay tuned for some more guerrilla advertising!

What do you think? Leave a comment below!

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