Sponsors stretch the impact of special events with video
"After-market" audiences can often reach into millions
With sponsorship of special events becoming increasingly popular--and expensive--more companies are preserving events on videotape or film to extend their life and market them to new, larger audiences.
Many events--including The Timberland Company's sponsorship of the Iditarod Sled Dog Race in Alaska; Mercedes-Benz's celebration of the centennial of the automobile; and Schick Razor and Blade's NBA "Legends Classic" all-star game--have been preserved and transformed into promotional films, sales videos, corporate documentaries, in-store promotions, video news releases and photo displays that reached millions of additional people.
"Not only are the events captured for archival purposes, the exhibit or presentation becomes a mini-event in itself," says Robert M. Finehout, vice president, Modern Talking Picture Service, a St. Petersburg, Florida-based video company that distributes videos and films. "This after-market audience can be large indeed, sometimes eclipsing attendance at the original event."
The Kemper Group, for example, has been documenting its participation with the Professional Golf Association (PGA) for more than 20 years. The company videotapes each year's tournament and keeps the event before the public long after the last hole has been played.
"Rather than have that awareness be one event on a year-long schedule of happenings, we do half-hour highlights of both the Men's and Women's events," says Don Ruhter, Kemper's director of advertising and publications. "We can then maintain that awareness through the course of the year."
Television's prodigious appetite for sports, Ruhter adds, continues to pay handsome audience dividends for Kemper. In 1988, the highlight tapes reached a viewership of 32 million people, according to Modern, which distributes Kemper's sponsored videos.
Rise in sponsorships
According to the International Events Group (IEG), marketers spent $2.1 billion in 1989--up from $400 million in 1981--sponsoring special events. IEG, a clearinghouse that tracks sponsorship trends, attributes much of this growth to the mega-dollars it costs to mount television ad campaigns. "One million dollars wouldn't even buy one minute of the Super Bowl," IEG President Lesa Ukman said in 1987. This year, CBS was selling 30-second spots for the Super Bowl for about $700,000. As a result, she says, many corporations are looking for ways to get "more exposure and longer shelf life" from their sponsorships.
Video as a sales tool
Many companies use videos of sponsored events as a tool to increase product sales. The key is to link the events to consumer products. Schick, for example, put together a five-minute video highlight of its NBA old-timers game and slamdunk competition and distributed it to its sales people to be used in sales presentations and in-store displays. "Many sponsors use videos to get the best possible shelf space in stores," notes Doug Drotman, public relations director of the National Media Group, a New York-based sports marketing firm.
This year, Timberland, a company known for its rugged outdoor clothing and boots, turned the powerful images of the Iditarod--a two-week sled dog race through the Alaskan wilderness--into a VNR. …