Magazine article USA TODAY

Corporate Sponsors Must Be Genuine

Magazine article USA TODAY

Corporate Sponsors Must Be Genuine

Article excerpt

Ever scratch your head over a pairing of a corporate sponsorship with a charity? Research from the University of Oregon, Eugene, suggests that the brands of both can be damaged when perceived fit and similarities between sponsor and charity do not align well.

"There is a public discussion," says study coauthor T. Bettina Cornwell, professor of marketing. "People pick it out when there is a sponsor attempting to move information or influence goodwill or image, and you don't believe it. This study has a big message for both charities and companies."

The researchers explain that "similarity means whether the sponsor and the nonprofit have something in common. For example, the ... Red Cross aims to improve people's health through blood donations. If Subway is seen as providing fresh, healthy food, and Subway sponsors the blood service, not only is there a similarity, but people can also see a clear benefit from the sponsor brand to the cause. Therefore, it is a high-fit relationship.

"By contrast, fast-food chains and nonprofits, or causes promoting health, have less similarity since fast food may have an adverse effect on health. …

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