Monday, March 22, 2010

What's the value of integration?

A few months ago I was having a conversation with a colleague about integration. It was sparked due to me having been exposed to hours upon hours of fishing programs thanks to my other half. What I noticed was that while the producers had done an awesome job of integrating a 4WD brand into the program they obviously had a template.

I only noticed this because the episodes were running back to back but essentially Episode 1 (probably from the current series) featured Ford and the second featured Mitsubishi. For me, the viewing experience didn’t differ from episode to episode.

It made me realise that while the level of integration was likely deemed excellent by the marketers of each brand, it was probably of little value in terms of its impact on the consumer.

I remember at the time, stating that if the brand doesn’t have a truly unique role to play in-program then this cookie-cutter approach to integration is probably more harmful than of value – I’m guessing it is most damaging in terms of misattribution and differentiation.

Operating with this principle in mind, I wanted to recognise the awesomeness of Steggles current involvement in the NRL. The brand has carved out a sponsorship with the Roosters (funnily enough) but seemingly, not the NRL.

Some smart cookie has come up with a specific role for Steggles to play in their sponsorship which not only adds value to the brand but also to the viewer experience.

“For every point the Sydney Roosters beat their opposition by in the 2010 season, Steggles will donate $1,000 to a Charity Nest, while the Sydney Roosters will also contribute $250 per point.”
I would argue that more so than the brands that have paid for broadcast sponsorships Steggles is cutting through the clutter and emerging as a highly recognised brand. Further, I assume Steggles would not have been able to secure a broadcast sponsorship due to KFC’s involvement – nice one Steggles you’ve trumped the fast food joint in terms of exposure and meaningful involvement.

Steggles’ cause-marketing effort has received ample coverage during the live broadcasts without the regular 4 x 30sec spot content of other advertisers. The ‘Charity Nest’ program has put skin in the game, even for those matches that aren’t highly anticipated. They’ve capped the contribution at $250,000 (although I haven’t heard the commentators talk about this) which means its much cheaper than the rate card NRL sponsorship.

It goes to demonstrate that unique thinking and finding an actual role for the brand as opposed to tacking it onto a pre-existing template is what we should be striving for. I wish I was the one writing the effectiveness award for this idea at the end of the campaign!