In today’s difficult economy every marketer is looking for ways to make 1 + 1 = 3. One way to do that is by aligning your brand with a strategic partner. Whether you’re exhibiting at a trade show producing a mall tour or activating a sponsorship co-marketing with a non-competing brand can help you stretch your budget and take you places you’ve never been before.
Cindy Syracuse senior director-cultural marketing at Burger King is a big believer in the power of partnerships. “Co-marketing is the most efficient sponsorship you can develop looking for brands that are compatible with yours that want to reach a common target market ” she says.
Burger King earlier this year partnered with Kraft Macaroni & Cheese in a program called the Burger King Play with Your Food Tour that reached kids and moms in malls in five cities. Kraft has been on board with Burger King since it created a Teletubby custard dessert served in its restaurants 10 years ago. Now Kraft’s branded Macaroni & Cheese is featured on Burger King’s menu as a Positive Steps meal along with milk and BK Apple Fries. “In launching the new kids’ meal we wanted to create additional awareness with moms because she is the decision-maker for younger kids ” Syracuse says. “Sampling is an effective means to get the word out so we approached Kraft.”
Both brands run the tour as a partnership with Kraft providing the Cheesasaurus Rex mascot product and giveaways. By combining resources both brands have been able to add more interactive elements and event days to the tour schedule enhancing the overall consumer experience and ROI.
Burger King recently partnered with Boost Mobile in another national tour this spring the BK Famfest which is hosting family-reunion style events for African-American consumers in public parks in six cities. Boost Mobile is sponsoring the BK mobile kitchen where attendees can sample mini burgers. Families can also visit the Boost Mobile booth to create and download customizable ringtones.
“Boost Mobile was very interested in reaching this market a family market in a targeted way ” Syracuse says. “And by bringing on a sponsor it helps us defray costs as well as bring added value for the consumers. It’s a product and service they like so it’s a win-win partnership that meets common business objectives” (Legacy Marketing Partners Chicago handles both programs).
In a separate program LaCroix Sparkling Water found efficiencies of scale by partnering with Pepperidge Farm as sponsors of the Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk Benefiting Susan G. Komen for the Cure a series of three-day 60-mile walks that raises millions of dollars for breast cancer research education and community health programs. LaCroix which had sponsored the tour for the previous two years approached the baked-goods brand when it signed on as a sponsor in 2008. The partnership resulted in shared fuel costs shared staffers decked out in co-branded shirts and on-site “Inspiration Stations” where walkers relaxed and recharged with Pepperidge Farm cookies and LaCroix Sparkling Water.
Also on site the LaCroix Lounge filled with 40 pink and white chairs arranged in a semi-circle where the walkers received five-minute foot massages and samples of its sparkling water sat next to the Pepperidge Farm Inspiration for the Tour experience where cookies and crackers were served. The two brands also partnered in the Her Voice campaign a website and virtual community in which walkers share their stories of motivation inspiration and survival. A continuous loop of the campaign ran on a flat-screen TV in the Pepperidge Farm tent.
It was a tasty partnership for sure. “Co-branding can give you double the coverage at half the price ” says Vanessa Walker director-strategic brand management at LaCroix. “We realized significant cost savings in ’08 over the prior year especially when you consider there were two more cities” (EventNet Fort Lauderdale FL handles).
Even golf brands are getting into the swing of co-marketing. Callaway Golf this year partnered with Crowne Plaza Hotels in a Get a Better Game promotion that from April 30 to Aug. 19 awards free room nights and Callaway golf equipment to hotel guests. Key packets and front desk staff buttons drive awareness of Crowne Plaza’s golf affiliation (Octagon Norwalk CT handles).
The campaign aligns with the hotel’s third year as title sponsor of the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial golf tournament which took place in Fort Worth Texas in May.
The main entrance of the tournament featured a recreation of a Crowne Plaza lobby where fans could take green-screen photos with Crowne Plaza and Callaway endorser Phil Mickelson and enter a contest to guess the number of Callaway golf balls in a large container.
“Crowne Plaza is ‘the place to meet ’” says Gina LaBarre vp-brand management for Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts. “We’ve found that ‘meeting initiators’ are often decision-makers for meetings and they also have a strong affinity for golf.”
Sounds like another winning combination.