While corporate sponsorships are not new, the following case history shows how they can be a very powerful way for
non-profits, a paid sponsor and the media to work together for common good.
In the past, public service advertising meant distributing a PSA to a station
and, assuming the public service director
approved it, the PSA
ran on a rotational basis until it was pulled. These would be considered "pure PSAs," as there is no
money involved in the transaction.
Now that corporate sponsorships have entered the picture, it is much more complicated,
and there are even different kinds of sponsored campaigns, depending upon whether
they were initiated by the station, the sponsor, the network with which the station
is affiliated, or by the community partner.
There are several things most of
these campaigns have in common, however:
- Resources - usually advertising or production dollars - are made available
to the cooperating station, the community partner, or both, to run messages
in the public interest.
- The sponsoring organization is linked with a cause or issue they believe
in and one that extends their paid marketing strategy in a new environment.
- The non-profit organization obtains placement of its message that is
far better than it normally would get via a PSA venue, both in terms of
when message airs, and the frequency of exposure.
It is no surprise that broadcasters - particularly general managers - were
quick to embrace corporate sponsorships, because they generate revenue for the community
affairs department. In fact, a study on corporate sponsorships indicated that 88 percent of the stations would help non-profits
find local sponsors, if they were provided with pre-packaged campaigns that
could be customized by stations for their local community.
Larger stations with greater resources will even help non-profits produce
many of the elements for a successful corporate sponsorship effort, and the following case study shows how this would work.
The American Cancer Society
(ACS) launched a community affairs project called "Aware: A Program
to Fight Breast Cancer." It was jointly sponsored by WHDH-TV in Boston,
in partnership with the Massachusetts Division of the ACS, CVS Pharmacies,
and Mobile Diagnostics, a mobile mammography unit.
To get the program started, WHDH-TV was contacted by ACS, which sought
to generate publicity and funds for the mobile diagnostics unit so it could
ACS and WHDH-TV then jointly approached CVS's advertising
agency to be an on-air corporate sponsor, because CVS was cultivating an
image as "your neighborhood pharmacy." With all the partners
agreeing to participate, the station created a package of on-air components
- Two prime time specials on breast cancer
- A multipart news series
- Segments on the station's regularly scheduled pubic affairs programs
- Station promotional
- The PSAs credited CVS as a sponsor of the program, and were followed
by a regular 30-second paid product ad for CVS
- Two informational brochures on breast cancer
were developed and distributed at CVS pharmacies throughout the state
- PSAs that were broadcast four times per day with tips on early
- Community forums breast cancer were held, the station's
on-air personalities hosted a variety of ACS events such as walk-a-thons
- A Mobile Diagnostics van which gave free breast cancer screenings as it traveled through various communities.
Conceptually, all parties who join this type of corporate
sponsorship program benefit, and unquestionably we will
see more of these creative partnerships. To read more about cause marketing and corporate sponsorships, click here