A study commissioned by Thinkbox, the marketing body for commercial TV in the UK, combined qualitative and quantitative research among viewers by House 51 with analysis of YouGov's Brand Index database alongside its TV programme database to provide evidence of the impact of programme partnerships.
House 51 reported that the personality fit between a viewer of a sponsored TV show and the sponsoring brand was 53% higher than the fit between the sponsoring brand and a non-viewer.
This is because viewers have strong affinities with their favourite TV shows and sponsoring brands borrow from the show's personality – this 'brand rub' effect encourages viewers to feel that the sponsoring brand is more for them.
It also found that TV sponsorship increased automatic positive brand associations. Using an implicit timed response test, House 51 found that viewers were twice as fast as non-viewers to agree they would recommend the sponsoring brand.
YouGov's work confirmed the importance of fitting brand – and creative – to programme.
When the sponsorship creative was a good fit with the TV show, key brand health metrics for viewers of the sponsored show were 5 percentage points higher than for non-viewers. When the fit was less obvious they were 2.4 points higher.
Fully integrated partnerships delivered even more: brand health metrics for viewers of sponsored shows increased by 8.9 percentage points above non-viewers compared with a 'badging only' sponsorship approach which delivered a 2.8 percentage point increase.
And while the reach and frequency that comes from sponsoring a TV show raises brand awareness for all brands, the increase was significantly greater for less well-known brands – a 17.2 percentage point increase compared to 1.1 percentage points.
YouGov also reported that longer running campaigns drove increases in all brand health metrics above the younger campaigns, and while ad awareness fell once sponsorship ended, brand health metrics decayed at a far slower rate.
Matt Hill, Thinkbox's Research and Planning Director, said that understanding of how TV sponsorships work was now better than ever.
"If advertisers want to see them work at their hardest, they should ensure they're integrated with the rest of their advertising and making use of the additional promotional tools the broadcasters provide," he added.
TV sponsorship adspend is expected to rise 0.9% to £261m this year, according to the latest AA/WARC Expenditure Report.
Data sourced from Thinkbox; additional content by WARC staff