Ever since my early years working as an action sports athlete I have loathed the word “sponsor.”
Maybe its because every 9-year-old at the BMX track thought that he or she was deserving of a sponsor, or maybe its the clamoring for free product.
Sponsorship, as it is defined, is the exchange of goods for marketing support. If a company gives an athlete $50 in product, its because they expect to generate $500 or $5,000 in revenue as a result.
Being a sponsored athlete is hard work.
Because of those obnoxious 9-year-olds and their demand for free t-shirts, I never used the word. I always preferred the word “partnership” as I felt it to be a better representative of the relationship.
My intention was that I could very clearly illustrate the nature of the advertising partnership and include differentiators in our advertising packages that others could not. Things such as data and analytics services, social media engagement (which was still the wild west in 2013), commercials, podcasts, and so many other assets that were foreign to the industry.
You want to have a fun conversation?
Try convincing an old farmer who sells mineral rock for a living that advanced analytics are going to help him reach more customers.
TV shows are expensive.
So that my revenue-neutral undertaking cash-neutral marketing vehicle that I had intended, I was forced to take on some partnerships that were less than ideal.
It is because of some of those partnerships that I no longer promote products.
In fact, I can pinpoint the precise moment that I decided to never promote product again.
We were filming in Northern Wisconsin in January.
The “what” was a commercial and media pack for a company that sells foaming deer urine.
No, that is not a mistake.
Foaming. Deer. Urine.
If you know anything about Northern Wisconsin in January, you know that it’s cold. I’m not talking cute Colorado-in-January cold where you put on your ski clothes, pound a beer, and have fun.
I’m talking if-you-go-outside-with-exposed-skin-you-die cold.
Guess what happens when you try to spray foaming deer urine when the windchill is something ridiculous like 50-below?
Guess what happens when the can so foaming deer urine warms back up in the truck?
Guess how easy it is to get the smell of foaming deer urine out of your truck before the 10 hour drive back to Tennessee?
In short, there are many people who will be excited to promote your product. I am not one of those people.
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