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Sponsorships & endorsements

Sponsorships and endorsements can be very cost-effective mechanisms for raising the profile of an organisation or brand.

However, this area of activity is far from risk-free. Just imagine the private reactions of their sponsors when Michael Jackson and Tiger Woods started appearing in the media for all the wrong reasons. Just because pop stars and sports heroes have celebrity status, doesn't mean they will behave with decorum at all times, even when they have a multi-million dollar incentive to do so.   

Individuals making an endorsement can also find their credibility shattered when the product they endorse is shown to be shonky. Daniel Carter and Michael Campbell are probably exposing themselves to little risk with their respective endorsements of Jockey underwear and Oakley sunglasses. But Colin Meads' took major risks when he endorsed Provincial Finance as being 'solid'. When it went belly-up, Meads' personal cred took a hiding and one lawyer has even talked of making Meads culpable for the losses his clients sustained.

It would be interesting to know whether Meads gets professional advice before making endorsements. If he does, he should be asking some tough questions about the advice he got before endorsing a finance business issuing debentures which in other countries would have been classed as junk bonds.

WHAM has been involved in managing several sponsorships, all of which worked well for the parties concerned.

Matching the sponsor and the cause, defining the expectations of both parties, maintaining dialogue and closely monitoring performance are important ingredients in making a sponsorship work. A tight contract is essential, but of little value without goodwill and effective communication between the parties.