I’m intrigued to see that the latest methods of marketing are to create real life experiences in the real world with the launch of "Pot Noodle: the Musical" at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this year. A festival that exists, in part, thanks to the benefaction of the Royal Bank of Scotland’s sponsorship.
As you would expect with that title, the musical is all paid for by Unilever, the makers of Pot Noodle, with the only rule being that the musical had to be called Pot Noodle. No other creative control allowed, although the message is clear as the musical is set in a Pot Noodle factory.
Similarly, there’s the launch of the new film, Somers Town, all paid for by Eurostar. That’s why the main character is an employee of the Eurostar. Subtle, but it works as the film has been a major critical success. I’m not so sure it always works however, as I cannot even find a review about Raiffeisen Bank‘s movie, "Santa Claus, Tina and Liza"!
And not all real-world sponsorship works, especially if you break the rules and get found out.
Take the example of Omega, the watchmaker, and their sponsorship of Michael Phelps.
The wonderful Phelps, the greatest Olympian of all time, definitely performed brilliantly at this year’s Beijing Olympics. Nevertheless, some say that Phelps did not win the 100 metres Butterfly, and that his win was ‘given’ to him by Omega, his sponsor.
After all, he swam in an Omega sponsored lane as an Omega sponsored athlete, and was given the Gold based upon Omega’s timekeepers saying he was 100th of a second ahead of Milorad Cavic.
1/100th of a second is the smallest margin allowed to differentiate times between swimmers.
Make your own mind up (Phelps is on the left and Cavic on the right):
Photo from underwater camera at the end of the Olympics final 100 metres Butterfly courtesy of Heinz Kluetmeier/SI