Marketing, Sponsorship & Licensing

When you only have a few seconds to get your message across, it better be good.

I graduated from Lehigh University with a degree in Business & Economics with a major in Marketing. But, aside from terminology, marketing skills can only be acquired out on the job. It really helps to have mentors who help you take a different perspective.

My first boss at Turner Broadcasting, a gentleman named Tom Culligan, was such a mentor. As an example, when we were evaluating new presentations for Goodwill Games media and sponsorship sales, he gave me a great piece of advice: always remember the target audience is a senior executive who is strapped for time so create slides that read like a billboard. Imagine this executive driving down the highway going 70 mph past our billboard. That is how much time you get to deliver a message. I’ve never forgotten that great piece of advice!

It was true then and it’s even more true today.

When it comes to marketing, it really helps to have someone on your team who can show you a different perspective.

Case Study

As I was building my career at Turner Broadcasting and licensing the world’s largest animation library, Turner was just beginning to broadcast Nascar races. But, it provided another platform to consider how to leverage our intellectual property. Research suggested integrating our cartoon characters into the sport could be a good demographic fit. Collaboration with an outside Nascar consultant convinced me to propose a sizable Cartoon Network investment with a Nascar Racing team. Cartoon Network Wacky Racing was born and the rest, as they say, is history.

Our strength was Intellectual Property plus the media channels to support and promote marketing initiatives.
A Nascar race team and specifically the car was and is essentially advertising real estate. The various exterior parts of the car are not only functional, but, serve as billboards traveling over 200 MPH. A little faster than Tom Culligan’s CEO billboard perhaps, but the same principle.
While most Nascar team sponsors keep the same design for the entire race schedule we took a different approach to take advantage of some of the most recognizable cartoon characters on the planet. We created a rotating design schedule that changed every six weeks. We started with the Scooby Doo themed car at the Daytona 500 and after the initial six weeks we repainted the car with a Flintstones theme, and then a Jetsons theme and then PowerPuff Girls , etc, etc.
Our research told us Nascar fans are huge collectors including miniature toy cars like Mattel Hot Wheels and Hasbro diecast racing cars. Both big advertisers and licensees of Cartoon Network. By “reprogramming” our car were were creating instant collectibles.
Additionally, we offered the opportunity for select licensees and advertisers to participate with their brands in our car designs. Thus authenticating exclusive promotions promotions for them both on-air and at retail.

Results: For seven consecutive years, the Cartoon Network Wacky Racing program was consistently in the top 10 of all Nascar team merchandise sales. Additionally, the program generated incremental media buys from existing advertisers as well as helping to develop new sponsorship partners.

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