Sunk or Salvaged?

Richard Nolan

Operations Director

The Financial Services Forum

Sponsorship is often the first casualty in a recession. But is that justified? Pippa Collett, Sponsorship Consulting, explores the benefits behind maintaining a sponsorship programme, despite tough economic conditions.
With the UK officially in the longest recession on record, the number of people without jobs on track to top 3 million and the Euro at parity with Sterling, the cautious optimism that characterised the early
half of the Autumn trading period has remodeled itself as simply caution. Upward rises in the FTSE may revive the bonuses of a few city traders, but many corporations are re-visiting their initial marketing plans for 2010 to ensure they do not over-commit in what continues to be a difficult economic environment.
Whilst marketers would argue that there is strong evidence to suggest that this is exactly the time to invest in carefully targeted programmes focused on key audiences, many in senior management see marketing in general, and sponsorship specifically, as a soft target for cost-cutting.
The financial services sector, historically the biggest investor in sponsorship in the UK, has found its sponsorship decisions increasingly under scrutiny as many of the leading institutions passed into state ownership.
Some high profile casualties include AIG and Manchester United, RBS, Credit Suisse and ING in F1 and i-Shares in the Extreme Sailing Series. Even amongst those corporations that have managed to hold their own, it is perceived as difficult to justify major sponsorships whilst implementing broadscale redundancy programmes.
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