Sponsorship is a question that raised it's head in the world of sport in the late 50's. Nowadays it's not uncommon to see adverts for blackcurrant drinks next to others for telcos next to each other at sporting fixtures, but the question that I ask of these is just how effective are they?
The classic example of this and also the most contraversial was that of the tobacco companies. Anyone who saw a cricket match from late 1977 to about 1992 saw Benson & Hedges from domestic to international levels around the world. Likewise, Marlboro was willing to throw money at motor racing teams like McLaren and the Holden Dealer Team for many years. Those distinctive day-glo red and white cars were seen on TV sets and often at the front of the pack (pun intended). Ferrari still carry Marlboro sponsorship but few will say that it has as much impact as say Senna & Prost.
In the increasingly competitive world of telecommunications we've seen O2, Orange, Vodaphone, Telstra, Virgin and 3 spend exorbitant funds on sponsorship - like the 3 Test Series which actually had 2 tests, followed by another 3 Mobile 3 Test Series. Vodaphone's logo was splashed on Man Utd, The Wallabies, The English Cricket Team and Ferrari F1 all in 2004. But what did they actually get?
Arsenal were carrying the logo for the Sega Dreamcast some 14 months after the console had ceased selling. Ansett's sponsorship of test cricket led to their bankruptcy, and Benetton were made more famous by the F1 team that carried their name after they sold it.
In all of this the most successful sponsorship case is Ferrari. Ferrari you may ask? The name synonamous with grand prix racing. Contrary to popular belief the racing isn't sponsored by the factory. Ferrari do not go motor racing in order to sell road cars, in fact the opposite is true. The whole reason why Scuderia Ferrari SPa exists is purely to go motor racing; they only started building road cars to fund that end. Thus the road car division is simply that - a method of deriving funds in order to keep on racing and if Ferrari keeps on winning on track, then by virtue of that fact they should keep on selling cars to continue racing. - Very Successful that is indeed.
Meanwhile should anyone require me to put Samsung on my tie, tatoo Don's Smallgoods on my arm and change my name to Optus - come up with enough money and it's yours. Except that this bozo already though of it and is up to £171 for his effort.