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Alcohol sponsorship - Corporate philanthropy or self-interest? Patrick Kenny School of Marketing Dublin Institute of Technology

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Presentation on theme: "Alcohol sponsorship - Corporate philanthropy or self-interest? Patrick Kenny School of Marketing Dublin Institute of Technology"— Presentation transcript:

1 Alcohol sponsorship - Corporate philanthropy or self-interest? Patrick Kenny School of Marketing Dublin Institute of Technology

2 Overview The (commercial) nature of sponsorship Sources of evidence on alcohol sponsorship and drinking behaviour

3 Sponsorship is growing at approx. 5% per year Equivalent sums needed to leverage the sponsorship

4 Sponsorship promotional spend ratio Ambush marketing

5 Integrated marketing communications Marketing is more than advertising and promotion Wider marketing mix Each element is integrated and mutually reinforcing Other marketing mix elements support sponsorship - higher number of alcohol ads around sponsored sports events.

6 Sponsorship is not philanthropy... But sponsors benefit from the perception that it might be…

7 Advertising versus Sponsorship: A halo of goodwill Attitude: Selfish versus Generous Influence: Direct & forceful versus Indirect & subtle Persuasive intention: Overt versus Disguised Defence mechanisms: High versus Low Perceptions actively cultivated and reinforced by the industry

8 Meeting consumers in their passion Advertising perceived as an interference Sponsorship captures consumers where they are passionate Attempt to align image of event/sport to the brand Sport and masculinity

9 Attitudes associated with sports sponsorship Sports sponsors more likely to be perceived as healthy, young, energetic, fast, vibrant and masculine. Attractive positioning when targeting young males

10 Relationship between alcohol and sponsorship: Background Most research on advertising, not sponsorship Extremely difficult to isolate sponsorship and measure the impact Tendency to focus on brand level rather than product level

11 What can we learn from marketing in general? The relationship between exposure to marketing (of all types) and alcohol consumption is increasingly clear Greater awareness of, and engagement with, marketing (including sponsorship) is related to increased consumption Alcohol-related merchandise strongly associated with consumption Relationship especially strong amongst the young

12 What can we learn from tobacco sponsorship? Some evidence from tobacco - 12/13 year olds who liked motor racing were more aware of its tobacco sponsors and were significantly more likely to commence smoking over time (Charlton et al 1998). Young people aware of cricket tobacco sponsorship were more likely to experiment with smoking (Vaidya et al, 1996)

13 What can we learn from alcohol sponsorship studies? 14/15 year olds involved in sport more likely to drink and get drunk; sponsorship enhanced these effects (Davies, 2009). Australian and New Zealand sports players sponsored by alcohol companies were considerably more likely to abuse alcohol (O'Brien et al, 2008 & 2011). Australian children aware of alcohol sponsors and had favourable attitudes towards them (Jones et al 2009).

14 What can we learn from internal industry documents ? Carling: (Young men) think about 4 things, we brew 1 and sponsor 2 of them. The aim of Carling's music sponsorship: Build the image of the brand and recruit young male drinkers. Ultimately, the band are the heroes at the venue and Carling should use them to 'piggy back' and engage customers emotions

15 What can we learn from social norms theory? Perceptions of what is common and of what is socially acceptable Scores of studies show that social norms have a much greater influence on behaviour than almost all other factors But where do social norm perceptions themselves come from?

16 The pervasive nature of marketing communicates normative messages

17 The extent of branding and sponsorship in sport Tournament Stadium names Pitch hoardings Teams Other supporters Merchandise Consumption on site

18 Impact on social norms Marketing, and sponsorship, normalise alcohol consumption Evidence that one can be indirectly influenced by the drinking culture in sport even if one is not explicitly aware of sponsorship

19 The evidence base Studies on alcohol marketing in general Tobacco sponsorship studies Alcohol sponsorship studies Industry documents Social norms theory We know about as much about alcohol sponsorship as we did about tobacco sponsorship when it was banned.


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