US consumers mixed on sponsorship

06 March 2009

NEWPORT, Rhode Island: Over 75% of Americans think companies that are "stable and profitable" should continue to spend on sponsorship, but almost two-thirds argue firms adversely impacted by the downturn should cut their outlay in this area, according to Performance Research.

Sponsorship revenues have increased in recent years as advertisers have looked for alternative ways to engage consumers and boost brand awareness.

Of the 1,005 consumers surveyed by Performance Research, 70% gave "lower approval" scores to US companies than a year ago, and 32% said they are paying "less attention" to sponsorship than last year.

Some 62% of respondents also wanted corporations experiencing "any difficulties" to cut back on sports sponsorship, a total that rose to 68% if the company concerned had received a government bailout.

Just 13% agreed that their perceptions of a company would improve if it sponsored their "favorite sporting event", compared with 26% arguing the opposite.
A fifth of consumers thought sponsorship of cultural events should increase, with the same number arguing the opposite, while 41% said sponsoring charities and not-for-profits would improve their overall opinion of the corporation concerned.

Only 10% agreed they would be more confident in a brand if it sponsored their "favorite sporting event", compared with around a third who disagreed in the case of banks, investment firms and auto makers.

In all, 74% of consumers also suggested that it was important for companies to appear "humble" in the current economic climate.

Data sourced from Performance Research; additional content by WARC staff