Sponsorship today as we know it comes in so many different forms within the industry, seeded across all media channels and marketing communications. Why brands do it is simple, but let’s come back to that; what do consumers think of brand sponsorship?
A recent study by Channel 4 and Consumer Insight, tipped as ‘the most comprehensive study into the effectiveness of TV sponsorship ever conducted’, aggregated 107 Channel 4 sponsorship studies. This included 257 waves of research that involved speaking to over 80,000 viewers over the past five years. The analysis, combined with research by Differentology, found that a whopping 89% of consumers saw brands that sponsor TV as more trustworthy than other forms of advertising.
Programme sponsorship confers a premium on the sponsoring brands with 76% of viewers believing that TV sponsorship is a more expensive form of advertising. Because of this, 91% perceive sponsoring brands themselves to be more premium. Recoginised as an accepted part of a TV experience, this ties in with the finding that of those who recalled sponsorships, 54% said they were more likely to buy a sponsor’s product.
Since the 1950s when companies began to sponsor entire programmes, Colgate being one of the first, brands have seen the importance and effectiveness of TV sponsorship. Many TV programmes are themselves powerful brands and it is this prestige, popularity and perceived value that can rub off on those brands that associate with them through successful sponsorship. It’s a great way to deliver a consistency of audience, time of day and environment around relevant content. Brands piggyback on a programme’s fame and gain immediate association with the reputation of that show.
So, consumers welcome TV sponsorship as less of a ‘hard sell’ approach and brands like Wickes have seen a rise in brand awareness. As one of Channel 4’s longest partnerships and just three months into its three-year sponsorship of Homes of 4, Wickes has seen a near 40% increase in measured ROI. Consideration of products featured in the idents grew by over 10% among viewers and an impressive 11% amongst those looking to undertake relevant DIY jobs.
The research has helped Channel 4 to establish a new set of executional guidelines for clients to ensure the absolute efficacy of TV sponsorship:
- Advertisers can become concerned that a campaign will ‘wear out’ if it is seen too much, however this isn’t the case with sponsorship. Frequency drives higher awareness and viewers are more likely to purchase the brand/product showcased.
- The stronger the brand’s alignment with the content it sponsors, the bigger the boost to its metrics, especially purchase intent.
- Strong, clear audio and visual branding make a sponsorship 2.5 times more memorable to the viewer.
- Viewers prefer the wording “Proudly sponsored by…” to any other alternative as it complements their expectation that the sponsor is a partner in their viewing experience.
- Four successful ways to align a brand with the content it sponsors include; aligning creative execution with content, product with content, aligning with the audience or with the broadcast time.
At a time when brand safety and the need for accountability are paramount to advertisers, the importance and trust that TV sponsorship brings allows brands to stand in association with powerful programmes. The goal of any marketing activity is to create a reliable and transparent platform for consumers, something TV sponsorship achieves time and time again.