Sponsorship Effectiveness And Image Transfer Marketing Essay

2765 words (11 pages) Essay

1st Jan 1970 Marketing Reference this


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This paper is based on the research conducted on sponsorship effectiveness by Reinhard Grohs, Udo Wagner and Sabine Vsetecka in their empirical paper Assessing the effectiveness of sports sponsorship. The research done by Grohs et.al 2004 was for the Alpine Ski World Championships 2001 in St. Anton, Austria. The author intends to apply the same methodology on a much larger scale for the Football World Cup 2010 in South Africa. With the FIFA taking exemplary measures to thwart any ambush marketing strategies, it would be interesting to find out whether the official sponsors of the tournament have achieved their motives.


Media coverage rating by the managers was the key motive of the organisations indulged in the sponsoring sports, before 1990 (Suchard, 1992). Afterwards there was decrease in the appeal of merely exposing, firstly due to very weak effect of media onto the behavious and attitude of the consumers. The motive of the sponsorship was increasingly and directly inclined towards the consumer behaviour. Current researches by Thwaities( 1995) and Hermanns (2000) in countries like germany, Canada, and Great Britain have shown that involvement t=into sponsorship was mainly due to ever increasing organisations image and brand awareness.

In a research by Thojmoe et al. (2002) in which the survey was conducted among the Norwegian firms that do they conduct proper and reliable research, to calculate the success of their sponsorship. Out of all the companies only 15.4% responded that their goal is to study brand perception before and after the period of sponsorship rather than only spreading awareness.

There arises a question: Why the numbers of firms choosing appropriate measures for to calculate the success of the sponsorship goals are so low? As per the case of measuring brand awareness it is easy it can be calculated by providing aided as well as unaided recognition as well as recalls (Keller, 1993).

It can also be attributed to the fact that in recent years there was very low satisfaction seen from the results for many sponsors. A study by Sandler & Shani (1998) the recall was very low that is 4 out of 7 and also 11 out of 20 sponsors which were recalled by the viewers were actually not the real sponsors. This phenomenon of recalling incorrectly is called ambush marketing (Sandler & shani, 1998). This has caused low amount of satisfaction with the results. If proper variables are used to increase correct recall of the sponsor, then the firm will be less hesitated to measure their awareness by mean of awareness studies.

In this paper effort is made to identify correct variable leading to correct recall of actual sponsors, and to testify various literatures as well.

Review of Literature:

Assumed as a communication instrument, hence sponsorship is also considered as commercial investment. There is steady increment in the range of sponsorship activities. As sports to minimal extent, the arts holds the key areas, environmental and social sponsorship have bagged significance. The other key development is growth of broadcast sponsorship. It is estimated that investment in sponsorship in year 2001 was at US $ 24 billion (IEG Sponsorship Report, 2002).


The most basic concept of many brand related objectives aiming at marketing services and goods, such as brand image or positioning, is brand awareness. If the awareness is the key objective then there is a basic question that how better the recipient remembers the name of the sponsoring organisations?

The tracking instruments are used to calculate the awareness created by sponsorship by various researchers (Cornwell & Maignan, 1998). There is wide use of these instruments and numbers of examples can be seen (Landinoit & Debaix, 2001). Many a times recognition of official sponsor is not possible as other sponsors also built some links with the ongoing events (Crimmins & Horn, 1996). However there is still need to develop proper design to communicate true sponsors properly and differentiate between official sponsors and other sponsors and can prevent ambush marketing from the hands of other sponsors. For this, there is need to recognise variables determining sponsorship recall. In order to infer the sponsor of an event the consumers make use of heuristic of market prominence, as shown empirically by Johar & Pham (1999).

Brand Prominence

There is need for brand prominence or knowledge about the sponsor and their products or services the sponsors are offering, as sponsorship cannot pass on specific information. This helps customers to link the information to their basic knowledge and leads to recall of sponsors (Deimel, 1992). Previously used logos and signs helps in accurate recall of sponsors (Glogger, 1999). Ultimately, identification of sponsor might indulge bias in brand prominence. It is noted that these kind of heuristic marketing increases chances of ambush marketers in search of improper identification.

Event-Sponsor Fit

Similarity or synergy are the different kinds of words used to describe the sponsor and sponsored activity fit. Normally difference is done between image related fit and functional fit by most of authors (Gwinner, 1997). A thematic relatedness between an event and a sponsor is described by functional fit. The characteristics linked with a sponsored event and a sponsor is described by image related fit. The researchers became keener to know how the audience distinguishes between the ambush marketers and official marketers as the audience tends to misidentify the sponsors at various events (Johar & Pham, 2001). As per the results to recall sponsors the consumer might invoke heuristics. There is likeliness that the companies or brands linked with the event can be misinterpreted as the official sponsors (Johar & Pham, 2001). Event-sponsor fit act as a source of data for the recipient while inferring the recognition of the sponsor after some time after the event is hosted.

Event Involvement

The notion of involvement of fans and its proposition on sponsorships was evaluated by Meenaghan (2001). In a focus group, it was observed that in a particular activity which is sponsored and increased fan involvement reminds an orientation towards sponsors which is more positive. The more the involvement of fans the more is the recognition of the investment of the sponsors. The same was the findings by the Hansen & Scotwin (1995), but similar hypotheses were created by Harvey (2001) and did not find satisfactory results.


As per the general findings of cognitive learning that the additional exposures helps grow message learning but at very low rate. Moreover, if there is low involvement of recipient in the message content then there is higher effectiveness of repetition. The interest in the sponsors is low as compared to that of sponsored activity, in sports sponsorship. There is a positive relationship between the sponsors’ awareness of a particular event and period of sponsorship (Cornwell et al., 2001).


Image transfer in sports sponsorships is defined as “the transfer of associations attributed to the sponsored activity to the sponsoring brand” Gwinner (1997). The objective is to increase the positive attitude and feeling among the recipient towards the sponsors by mean of allying the highly valued events to sponsors. In general there should be an impact on the sponsors by the image of the event.

Thought because of so many definitions on image transfer there do exist conflicts of opinion. For this research, we consider the definition of brand image as per keller “… perceptions about a brand (an event) as reflected by the brand (event) associations held in consumer memory. Brand (event) associations are informational nodes linked to the brand (event) node in memory and contain the meaning of the brand (event) for consumers” Keller (1993) pg.3. An organisation tends towards sports events can be engagement, freedom, fairness, vitality, youth, health (Dress, 1992). But different image dimensions can be associated with different events. Thought, many sports competitive in nature are associated with strain and success, ideas of reliance and group spirit can also be linked with many teams. A possible sport sponsorships should be used by sponsors to communicate the exact picture or image the sponsor wished to convey.

Evaluating the sponsorship effectiveness is important to judge the image transfer. Still very few amounts of studies are conducted on image transfer of sponsoring organisation (Quester & Thompson, 2001). In particular image transfer of before and after sponsored event are identified.

Aims or Research Question:

This research proposal aims to study the sponsorship effectiveness and image transfer of the official sponsors at FIFA World Cup 2010 in South Africa. For this the following research questions are developed:

What is the impact of brand prominence on sponsorship awareness?

What is the impact of event-sponsor fit on sponsorship awareness?

What is the impact of event involvement on sponsorship awareness?

What is the impact of exposure on sponsorship awareness?

How does the organisation will analyse the image transfer before and after the sponsored event?

Proposed Method(s):

For the purpose of data collection interview method is being considered suitable for this purpose. A survey questionnaire is developed to collect the data from the recipients .The survey questionnaire method is considered more feasible for this purpose. Some of the advantages identified of the survey methods are

Collection of large amount of data is made possible in a shorter span of time.

It’s comparatively cheaper than other method of data collection.

Almost any perception of the recipient can be absorbed by means of survey method.

Easy to use in field setting (Babby, 2001).

The methodology developed is to collect data before and after the FIFA World Cup 2010 in South Africa. The duration of the event is from 11 June 2010 to 11 July 2010. The official sponsors to be reviewed will be Budweiser (Beer), Castrol (Petroleum), Continental (Sports Website), Mc Donalds (Fast Food), MTN group (Telecommunication) and Mahindra Satyam (IT services).


The participants are going to be random people from age of 16 onwards to avoid any ethical considerations with regards to children. The pre and post event analysis will each include 200 samples. Since we are looking at a behemoth event like the world cup, differentiation of participants is not deemed necessary as it appeals to people of all ages and gender. However an attempt would be made to concentrate more on getting the participation of students and the working population.

Location again is not an issue since the event covers the whole country of South Africa. But for the purpose of convenience the surveys will be conducted outside the stadiums where the events are hosted.

Design employed:

The technical structure embraced by the research process under which the research is done is referred as research methodology (Leedy, 1989 p.120) it is defined as a ‘functioning structure within which the details are placed so that their connotation may be seen more clearly’, cited by Remeneyi et al 1998 (pg no.28).

It can be qualitative as well as quantitative depending on the structure of data collected. In terms of quantitative method, research will involve predetermined questions as well as large number of respondent. Thus quantitative method is used for the purpose of studying the larger set of data with help of numbers and frequencies. A use of questionnaire and statistical evaluation is taken place in quantitative method.

The advantages of using quantitative method is

Large set of data can be easily studied.

Make use of statistical software saves time in interpreting data.

The disadvantage of quantitative method is that it becomes difficult to explain, hence an exploratory quantitative design is used to overcome this drawback.

A quantitative exploratory design will be employed for this research. The reason behind selecting a quantitative method is that it would be a difficult proposition to convince the required number of participants for a structured or semi-structured interview. This is in consideration of the fact that participants would not want spare the time required for interviews with a whole lot of excitement surrounding the tournament. However the questionnaire would only need a maximum of 15 minutes to be completed.

Measures/apparatus/data collection tools:

For the first questionnaire, scales will be developed for measuring brand image of the six sponsors (Appendixes A). The second questionnaire will measure brand image in the same way again along with the event image of the FIFA World Cup 2010. Sponsor recall and drivers determining recall will be measured, namely brand prominence, event-sponsor fit, event involvement and exposure. The leverage of sponsorships will be assessed independently by collecting data on other communication activities for these six sponsors that will support their engagement in the World Cup.

Ethical considerations:

The researcher is fully aware of the ethical consideration. The researcher undertakes full responsibility to fulfil the ethical considerations required in the research. The research will make full effort to diminish the negativity arising in the research as a loophole for the means of further research. The researcher is fully aware of the side effects and problem arising out of research, hence the research will be conducted under the guidance of experts supervisors assigned by the university and with help of collegues.The participants would be informed about the purpose of the research and the informed consent will be typed into the introduction of the questionnaire. The participants will have to sign them as their approval. As well as the details of the respondent will be kept confidential. The anonymity of the respondent will be taken into consideration.

Proposed data handling & analysis:

The primary data will be collected by means of survey interview and source of secondary information will be from journals, newspapers, governmental web-pages, as well as possible source of information will be taken into consideration. A general coding method will be made to use for quantitative analyses whereby the researcher will note down the responses of the respondent on the questionnaire and then represent them thematically (Lofland et al., 2006). Data analysis will start as soon as the survey is over. A statistical method of data analysis will be made to use for purpose of obtaining possible outcome. The hypotheses will be developed on the basis of the theoretical framework and will be put to test by means of statistical software probably SPSS 10.00 as per the need and on the basis of the results obtained the formulated hypotheses will be accepted or rejected.


Overall, it can be concluded that as the time has passed there is rise in the need to analyses the effectiveness of the sponsorship and image transfer. To fill the gap the literature base is considered which states that various variables of sports sponsorship awareness like brand prominence, event-sponsor fit, event involvement, and exposure place important role in the success of the sports sponsorship. Since, very few organisations go for evaluating the success of their sponsored event. There is less awareness about the success rate. Even the organisations which considered evaluating the success rate were not satisfied with the results as many a times ambush marketers were interpreted as the official marketers of the sponsored events. For this the study of image transfer of before and after period of an sponsored event is identified as need of the day.

To evaluate the success of the sports sponsorship awareness the research is conducted. The method designed is qualitative exploratory study of all the variables. This can be further used for the study of success of the sports sponsorship of a particular event.

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