Michael Lang

Michael Lang is president of Lang & Associates, a Toronto-based international event marketing agency with offices in Vancouver, Montreal and Atlanta.Kirsten Armitage is an account executive with Lang & Associates, and co-ordinator for the Event Marketing column. Contributions, ideas, media releases...

Michael Lang is president of Lang & Associates, a Toronto-based international event marketing agency with offices in Vancouver, Montreal and Atlanta.

Kirsten Armitage is an account executive with Lang & Associates, and co-ordinator for the Event Marketing column. Contributions, ideas, media releases and feedback should be directed to Kirsten at (416) 229-0060 or fax (416) 229-1210.

For corporations actively involved in events, event marketing has evolved in three stages: sponsorship marketing or ‘eventing’, event marketing, and, most recently, equity marketing.

Sponsorship marketing or ‘eventing’ is characterized by the one-off rights purchase for a core activity/event, little or no marketing integration and a high-cost/low-value relationship.

Awareness and image are the main objectives of sponsorship.

Event marketing takes sponsorship one step further and leverages the association with the property through other elements of the marketing mix.

It increases focus on the property and requires some investment from the sponsor. The ultimate goal is to tie the event more effectively to sales objectives.

Equity marketing is the evolution of a rights holder to a property or program owner. An ownership stake in a property allows for increased cost-effectiveness and the chance to fully integrate and leverage a property through all elements of the marketing mix.

Ambush opportunities and sponsor clutter can be controlled more stringently from an equity position. Additional revenues can be generated from co-sponsors and spectators.

Efficiencies in the cost/benefit relationship can be maximized in an equity property as the programs tend to be longer-term in focus, allowing for the development of image equity.

Equity marketing, however, is not without its risks.

Traditionally, an equity position means that significant dollars are required as an investment in the initial phase.

With that investment comes the ownership of rights and a control on profit and the revenue stream.

Before embarking on an equity proposition, the level of risk which can be absorbed by the rights holder should be evaluated. The rights holder may be in an extended position if the event fails to meet its revenue projections.

Some equity properties include Coca-Cola NHL Future Stars Program, Labatt Canada Cup and the Molson Indy.

Coca-Cola NHL Future Stars Program

This national grassroots hockey program was created to further enhance Coca-Cola’s National Hockey League sponsorship.

The program, just completing its fifth year, is supported at the consumer and retail levels with hockey-themed consumer promotions and retail involvement in hockey skills clinics.

Over the past five years, a number of associate sponsors have bought into Coke’s program.

Air Canada and Easton have become associate sponsors to further enhance their relationship with hockey superstar Wayne Gretzky, and gain access to grassroots hockey in Canada.

Labatt Canada Cup

In 1991, Labatt bought the rights to Canada Cup, the world’s most prestigious hockey competition, and effectively sold the rights for various elements of the event to willing sub-sponsors.

For example, Canadian Tire partnered with Labatt to sponsor the opening and closing ceremonies. Canon was also a sponsor of the closing ceremonies.

Molson Indy

The Molson Indy Toronto debuted in 1986 and has evolved, along with its sister car race in Vancouver, into one of Canada’s premiere motorsport events, tv properties and fundraising opportunities.

The Toronto event, held July15-17, is a proven promotional vehicle for sponsors which have bought its marketing and advertising rights.

The 1994 sponsorship list consists of traditional and non-traditional motorsport sponsors, including General Motors of Canada, Snap-On Tools, Firestone, Raybestos, Kmart, Digital and Konica.

The 1994 Molson Indy Vancouver is scheduled for Sept. 2-4.

For more information, contact Jerry Priddle at (416) 260-9800.