Golden Gate Bridge 75th Anniversary
BSS develops corporate and media partners in support of the anniversary of a global landmark
The Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, seeking assistance with funding and promoting the 75th Anniversary of the world-famous Golden Gate Bridge (GGB75), retained Kevin Bartram and BSS to develop a major sponsorship program and recruit corporate partners to fund the community celebration and related activities.
BSS stepped in to shape the anniversary program into a viable sponsorship platform, working closely with the Parks Conservancy to expand the scope and visibility of the GGB75 projects and enhance opportunities for corporate engagement. Ultimately, BSS brought in over a dozen partners and about $4 million, reaching virtual capacity for the program. The sponsorship funds supported festival production, community programs, and Bridge visitor enhancements that will last for years to come. In addition, BSS generated in excess of $2 million in media support.
GGB75’s corporate partners included Genentech, HP, Kaiser Permanente and Wells Fargo in the lead sponsor position, and Odwalla, Levi Strauss & Co., Hanson Bridgett, Chevron, PG&E, Speck Products and the San Francisco 49ers in supporting positions. In addition, American Express contributed to the project with a grant from its Partners in Preservation program. With the support of these companies, the 75th Anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge was celebrated in style, and a legacy was left at the Bridge visitor plaza for future generations.
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BSS secured major media partners to supplement the Parks Conservancy’s promotional campaign, generating over $2 million in media value. Partners included NBC Bay Area, Cumulus Media, The San Francisco Chronicle/ SFGate, and San Francisco magazine, each of which offered promotional tools to enhance public awareness of both the program and its sponsors. Through these media relationships, BSS ensured that GGB75 sponsors would receive ample visibility for their sponsorship investment while minimizing marketing expenses for the Parks Conservancy.
BSS also worked to integrate sponsors into actions at the Bridge itself for the first time ever. As part of the 75th Anniversary legacy, the Parks Conservancy transformed the visitor experience at the Bridge by installing a new Golden Gate Bridge Pavilion, renovating the historic Round House, updating the visitor plaza, and developing incredible new overlooks, trails and vistas. With BSS’ guidance, sponsor contributions were tastefully recognized on signage within the new Pavilion and the Round House, and sponsor products were deployed and promoted where appropriate.
BSS worked closely with the Parks Conservancy and event planners to help envision a community festival that would draw strong public interest and capture the imagination of potential sponsors. At this culminating event of the anniversary year, which attracted hundreds of thousands of people to the San Francisco Bay waterfront, BSS helped event producers to strike just the right balance between allowing sponsors to stand out well while remaining tasteful and true to the Parks Conservancy’s mission and aesthetic.
BSS also informed the development of community elements of the sponsor program, enabling partner companies to truly align with the mission-based work of the Parks Conservancy. These elements included an education program, walking programs, volunteer events, and a series of community partner tributes to the Bridge at which lead sponsors were recognized. Through these elements, sponsor companies were able to truly make a difference in their community – and to come away with a powerful story about their engagement in the GGB75 program.
After laying the groundwork for a successful, sponsor-friendly program, BSS reached out to hundreds of companies in dozens of industry categories in order to locate sponsor companies.
We developed a variety of recruitment tools to share the details of the GGB75 program with prospect companies, including sophisticated presentations, benefit schedules, and custom proposals designed to address specific category and company interests. As part of the recruitment process, we listened to companies’ key interests and sought to address those needs within the program. This led to a series of custom complementary partnerships that deeply reflected the ideals of each company as well as those of the Parks Conservancy.
We designed a tiered approach that allowed four companies to share the lead sponsor position, and to essentially “own” one or more aspects of the program. These companies received a highly customized package of benefits and were integrated into all appropriate media and marketing for the program:
- Genentech (Official Biotech Partner) – In its first-ever sponsorship, Genentech stepped up as the Lead Education Sponsor to support GGB75 education programs throughout the anniversary year.
- HP (Official Technology Partner) – With partner Intel, HP provided a variety of tech products to augment the interior of the new Bridge Pavilion, and showcased its Beats Audio technology with local talent on the Golden Gate Festival DJ stage.
- Kaiser Permanente (Official Healthcare Partner) – Kaiser Permanente linked to the Conservancy’s Park Prescriptions and trails programs to tie in its health messaging. KP also brought its expertise to the Festival, sponsoring medical tents, hydration stations, and a bike parking area.
- Wells Fargo (Official Financial Services Partner) – Wells Fargo created its own promotional campaign around GGB75, developing historical exhibits, ATM sweepstakes, special events at bank branches, an online photo-sharing platform, and more. Wells Fargo was also the lead sponsor of the Festival history tent.
Several other companies played a supporting partnership role, receiving some custom elements and targeted integration into media and marketing:
- Odwalla (Official Smoothie and Snack Bar of GGB75) – Odwalla provided smoothies and snack bars for Festival attendees, and received product sales rights at Parks Conservancy-controlled venues including the new Pavilion.
- Chevron (Official Energy and Gas Partner) – As an Official Partner of GGB75, Chevron showcased its long relationship with the Bridge and the Bay Area region.
- Levi’s (Official Apparel Partner) – Levi’s outfitted Festival volunteers in Levi’s jeans, and developed a “bike shop” area at the Festival to promote its new line of bike commuter jeans. The company also developed an exhibit at its headquarters.
- PG&E (Official Utility Partner) – PG&E showcased its longstanding lighting connection with the Bridge via a Parks Conservancy-developed Bridge exhibit in its corporate offices.
- Hanson Bridgett (Official Law Partner) – Hanson Bridgett, which has provided counsel to the Bridge District for many years, demonstrated its commitment to the Bridge and all that it stands for in the region.
- Speck (Official Phone Case of GGB75) – Speck designed a special GGB75-themed iPhone case to sell in Parks Conservancy venues and online, and another Bridge-themed case to sell in Speck stores.
- San Francisco 49ers – The 49ers contributed funds from its annual draft day party and provided players and coaches for video tributes and on-site activities at the festival.