Super Bowl or Super Bold

Author: Dijana Vetturelli


A few days ago, I held a lecture for sports marketing students about sponsorships. I was happy that in the discussion before the lecture it was clear that they, at least, knew the difference between sponsorships and donations – this hasn’t been the case with the last few generations.


My aim was to show them a whole range of ways that sponsorships could be conducted and implemented, and most of all that they must free their minds of the regular “promotion thing” way of thinking. The result was amazing - they were thrilled!


So, why is it that an ordinary student is amazed and 99% of companies still can’t let go of the “promotion thing” way of thinking? What needs to happen to make them believe that there is so much more behind the word sponsorship?


Maybe the GSK story or the recent announcement about Apple’s sponsorship will make them believe. Both are big companies that don’t need additional brand awareness and are open-minded to look for new solutions to create their daily business in potential sponsorships. 


Super Bowl's Host Committee


Apple 1984 Super Bowl Commercial Introducing Macintosh Computer

Apple just signed a sponsorship with the Super Bowl’s Host Committee, not the event itself. It means that they won’t have any promotional rights during the game like their competitors, who use branding on billboards and signs around the stadium. Apple hasn’t made any announcements about the partnership yet. They only stated that they have no interest in marketing rights or using the Super Bowl logo and that they’re intending to promote the partnership internally among their employees. According to Super Bowl Host Committee CEO, Keith Bruce, the partnership was important to Apple because of the event’s proximity to its headquarters in Cupertino, California – so it’s important to Silicon Valley. I am sure that there is something cooking in the Apple kitchen and we’ll soon find out what.


A toothpaste and Formula 1


The GSK and F1 McLaren partnership showcased another dimension of sponsorships – f.e. it helped GSK to get become more efficient in their toothpaste factory. The changing preferences of their Aquafresh clients regarding packaging gave them a headache. Each time they had to adjust the production line it cost them from 39 minutes to two hours of time. While trying to solve the issue they get inspired by the McLaren team and developed a seven-step process mirroring McLaren's cycle of simulation at the F1 races. The result was that the employees now only need 15 minutes for adjustments and Aquafresh production reached 20 million additional tubes a year. As GSK announced the main objective of the McLaren Group partnership is to drive innovation and winning performance across their business.


"Maybe it is time to rethink the definition of sponsorship!"


So, as everything is changing – maybe it is time to rethink the definition of sponsorship and give it a new one that will make all the parties involved more open and creative. 


In the end the versatility is exactly why I love sponsorships. 


Cover photo by: John Morgan -



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