Measurement Meanderings

Who sponsors:

MLB?

The NFL?

The World Cup

The US Open golf tournament

The recent Winter Olympics

The last NBA game you watched? (now that the season is mercifully over)

What is the official car, boat, deodorant or cereal of (supply the name of your favorite team)

What does Tiger Woods endorse?

What doesn’t he?

What events do Pepsi Cola, Verizon, and Coors respectively underwrite?

As marketers and students of advertising, we might know some of this if we like to play trivia games. My research strongly suggests that consumers in general (as well as most marketers and sports fans) do not. Nor have the sponsors or their agencies shown that endorsements and sponsorships increase sales.

Undaunted by such details Relay, sports-marketing unit owned by major ad agency Publicis Groupe has announced a “service” to evaluate the value of sports marketing programs. Relay’s primary business is sponsorship and event marketing, so one might question their independence as evaluators of such programs. Here’s what they Claim.

Mind you Relay doesn’t measure sales or even consumer perception but what they assert is a better measure of exposure. The real problem with relay’s evaluation, like much traditionally done by agencies, is that it measures output by input. That is, it adds up screen exposure using a proprietary methodology and presents the total as value regardless of whether the audience sees, remembers, or most importantly acts on what is displayed.

For example, their analysis concludes that Honda received the highest value of any of the sponsors of the latest Indy 500 race. Since auto racing has nothing to do with Honda’s brand image or its principal products. Where is the value.

Honda’s executives and large dealers may have been able to park their Civics and Fits and tool around the track wearing spandex suites in fulfillment of latent fantasies, but let’s not call this marketing.