Sponsorships Beyond Sports Arenas

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This story appears in the April 2001 issue of Entrepreneurs Start-Ups magazine. Subscribe »

You probably know that you can sponsor everything from sporting events to social gatherings, but did you know you can sponsor a college education?

Two enterprising New Jersey teens are offering themselves as promotional vehicles for companies willing to cough up the bucks to send them to college. Luke McCabe, 18, and Chris Barrett, 18, both from Haddonfield, hope to finance their college educations by becoming "spokesguys." The two will feature corporate logos on their clothing and cars as well as in their dorm rooms, and they'll host sponsored events on major college campuses.

"The idea started when we were out in California looking at colleges and realized how expensive they were," said Barrett. "Then we saw a commercial with Tiger Woods wearing a Nike hat and we thought, 'Hey, we could do that.' "

At press time, the two were finalizing a deal with Hotjobs.com. The cost of sponsorship is loosely based on the cost of their intended colleges, but the pair declined to provide hard numbers. Sponsorship isn't open to alcohol or tobacco companies, and the contract has a morals clause to keep sponsors' good names intact. McCabe says sponsors will be acknowledged on The Today Show, at the pair's Web siteand through an ongoing publicity campaign. "It's a great start for us, getting out in the real world," says Barrett, "and our parents like it. They think it's a really good idea."

No more sweeps? Some $27 billion in local TV advertising in the top 25 markets could be affected if Nielsen Media Research has its way and those areas switch from the traditional diary rating method to local peoplemeters, which record what's on TV by activating individual codes. Local network rates are expected to drop while cable rates will likely increase . . . Survey superhighway: According to figures compiled by industry newsletter Inside Research, more people are conducting market research online now than ever before. The amount spent on Net research by the top 29 market research companies had grown from $3.5 million in 1996 to $254.8 million in 2000. The Web's appeal? Lower costs, the ability to survey hard-to-reach respondents and, of course, speed.


Gwen Moran is president of Moran Marketing Associates, a marketing communications agency in Ocean, New Jersey, and founder of BoostYourBiz.com. Contact her at gwen@boostyourbiz.com.

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