For a great example of how to effectively leverage a sponsorship using the principles of integrated marketing, look no further than Wells Fargo’s work on the Golden Gate Bridge 75th Anniversary program (GGB75). Wells Fargo fully utilized the rights granted as a lead sponsor of the year-long program to promote the anniversary and, by so doing, to remind the public of the company’s high level support of the celebration.
Included in their rights package were a rich array of benefits including brand integration at the new Golden Gate Bridge Pavilion (a visitor center at the Bridge), lead history sponsorship of the Golden Gate Festival on May 26-27, inclusion in a wide array of outdoor and mass media promotion, and access to some very unique hospitality. They also received tools for involving employees and the right to promote the sponsorship via various channels. It was this last benefit that became so valuable for the financial services company, as they made sure they told their story through creative ATM and in-branch promos, transit ads and wraps, and use of GGB imagery at other special events and properties they sponsor. It was, in short, a brilliant campaign that required a lot of work from a well-coordinated team, led by Senior Vice President and Regional Marketing Director Alec Hughes.
In conducting this work, Wells Fargo remembered something that so many companies seem to forget – that a sponsorship’s success is largely dependent on the manner in which the company leverages its benefits – and is not limited by what the sponsored property does for the company. A well-designed sponsorship package provides the sponsor company with many valuable benefits that directly generate real value, visibility and associative rights that allow the company to access exclusive IP that non-sponsors cannot utilize. This IP becomes extremely important when dealing with a public domain property like the Golden Gate Bridge, as ambush opportunities abound. In the case of the GGB75 program, official sponsors were granted the right to use the official seal and promote the fact that they are sponsors of the anniversary celebration, a benefit that lasts the entire calendar year. Non-sponsors did not have these rights. The key to success with this particular sponsorship was to effectively use the IP rights, just as an Olympic sponsor must do with the rings.
Wells Fargo, through a wide range of creative activation tools, a fully integrated marketing campaign and a great deal of hard work by a team of internal specialists, made the most of a significant sponsorship investment and, as a result, stood out among a dozen sponsor companies. Congratulations to Wells Fargo, an iconic brand supporting an iconic landmark.