Sponsorship is another way that marketers achieve brand awareness and the association of the company symbols with “need satisfiers”, for example the association of children’s sporting events or arts events with particular brands and logos. Nike and Levi’s sponsor end of year parties for schools. Coke sponsors school playgrounds.
Sponsorship is “a cheap and effective way for corporations to gain goodwill in the community” whilst getting an “enormous amount of exposure” for corporate brands.
Thirty percent of Canadian schools have some sort of sponsorship arrangements with business to provide services such as tutoring, technology courses, extracurricular activities, staff and even academic courses.
In Australia Nestlé, Telecom, Pepsi Cola, Coca-Cola, Hungry Jack’s, North Forest Products and BHP have all sponsored school activities. The National Australia Bank (NAB) sponsors Schools First, a program that awards funds to schools that establish "effective school-community partnerships".
Panasonic Education Foundation is sponsoring electronic equipment in Australian schools "from high definition videoconferencing to 3D games development via projectors" as part of its Global Classroom initiative.
Book donations are another favourite of corporations wishing to get a halo around their brand. First Book is a non-profit group that donates books to low-income families in the US. Its corporate partners, who bask in the group’s philanthropic glow, include icecream-maker Baskin-Robbins, which holds an annual “Free Scoop Night” to thank customers who help it to “lick illiteracy”. In return “First Book Advisory Boards publicized local events and drove traffic to their local Baskin-Robbins stores.” Books donated to First Book have a bookplate with Baskin-Robbins logo and a place for the new book owner’s name.
Another partner is Cheerios which gives away books in its boxes of Cheerios. Cheerios Spoonful of Stories website states: “Just as Cheerios helps fuel kids to start the day, reading gives them the power to succeed in life.”
Nestle distributes books to schools through its Reading is Fundamental (RIF) programme. Shoppers at Macy's could, for a short time, donate $3 towards RIF and get $10 off their next Macy's purchase as part of the Book A Brighter FutureTM campaign.
In North Vancouver Home Depot donated money to build a playground and at its opening school children had to wear Home Depot shirts and sing “Who are we! Home Depot! What do we do? Build playgrounds!”
Shortly after deciding to accept corporate donations the Toronto School District accepted $100,000 from Future Shop for computer labs in two high schools. The labs will be painted in Future Shop brand colours and there will be a sign proclaiming the donor. The schools chosen have to be within 7 km of a Future Shop store.