Crass Commercialism: Does it Really Work?
Topic Introduction to Marketing
Key Words Nontraditional Marketing, Event Marketing
InfoTrac Reference A116931603
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News Story 

When the Gillette Cavalcade of Sports brought the Willie Pep vs. Chalky White Featherweight Championship bout to thousands of American homes in 1944, the era of program sponsorship was born. And while network television thrived on sponsorships during its formative years--think Texaco Star Theater, Kraft Television Theatre--they fell out of favor by the mid-1960s. Relegated to public television during the next four decades, sponsorship deals, along with their sibling marketing concept, product placement, are making a comeback.

Businesses seeking to promote brands often link products to popular events, movies, TV shows, hip trends--to just about anything, really. One would assume this commercialism must be extremely profitable to megacorporations spending collective billions to name the Fiesta Bowl after Tostitos chips, have Simon Cowell drink Coca-Cola, or show E.T. eating Reese's Pieces on the big screen. But do sponsorships and product placements really work, or are they just overrated opportunities to fritter away marketing budgets on pop-culture fads?

The recent boom in sponsorships and product placements seems to be achieving results, but some industry insiders suggest that overdoing it could actually risk damaging brands as well as the entertainment vehicles with which they become associated.

Questions
1.

Read the article and describe the current outlook for sponsorships and product placements. List some of their pros and cons, and cite examples from the article.

Source Kenneth Hein, "You be the judge: do product placement and sponsorships work? Or is the concept overused?," Brandweek, May 17, 2004 v45 i20 pSR40(2).
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