Ambushers or Sponsors? An Examination of Sponsorship Linked Advertising.

Sarah Kelly (2009). Ambushers or Sponsors? An Examination of Sponsorship Linked Advertising. PhD Thesis, School of Business, The University of Queensland.

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Author Sarah Kelly
Thesis Title Ambushers or Sponsors? An Examination of Sponsorship Linked Advertising.
School, Centre or Institute School of Business
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2009-07
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Professor T. Bettina Cornwell
Associate Professor Len V. Coote
Dr Anna McAlister
Total pages 257
Total colour pages 28
Total black and white pages 229
Subjects 350000 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services
Abstract/Summary This research proposes that a construct called Sponsorship Linked Advertising (SLA) is valuable in understanding how brand and corporate advertising link to sponsorship and event marketing. SLA includes both ads that communicate a link to a sponsored event (tiedness) and those that demonstrate, through their overall design, an event’s motif or theme (themedness). In its themed form, SLA differs from creative advertising by virtue of the fact that creative advertising can exist independent of any sponsorship link, whereas sponsorship linked advertisements intentionally unite a sponsorship and an event either implicitly and/or explicitly. With sponsorship investment estimated to be $45.2 billion worldwide (International Events Group 2009) and leverage advertising (i.e., advertising that is employed to heighten awareness of sponsorships or better articulate sponsor-event links) reflecting a similar amount, empirical examination, validation and implementation guidance of SLA as a leveraging strategy is critical. The unique marketing opportunities associated with popular sporting, charitable and arts events also attract non-sponsoring companies which also seek to affiliate with the event, an activity known as ambushing (McKelvey and Grady 2008). Examination of SLA is therefore important in an increasingly competitive and cluttered global sponsorship arena, in which ambushing is becoming a pervasive practice, attracting considerable attention from event organisers, sponsors and policy makers alike, while also detracting from or diluting intended sponsorship communications. Despite widespread use of SLA, no empirical validation of this strategy has been undertaken to date. The present research addresses this gap. Initially, the SLA construct is defined, categorised, and measured through content analysis, then a series of experimental studies are used to achieve empirical validation of the SLA construct. Streams of sponsorship and advertising effectiveness research, along with theories of associative learning, attribution and persuasion, are used to guide examination of SLA effectiveness in new empirical work. Specifically, a series of experiments are used to examine consumers’ cognitive, affective and behavioural responses to SLA. The first experimental study tests a main effect of ad type as well as interactive effects of tiedness and themedness with sponsorship availability (i.e., knowledge of true sponsor) on outcomes including nature and type of thoughts elicited, ad scepticism and sponsor motive attributions. Findings from this study suggest that SLA exposure induces more positive thoughts, less ad scepticism and more favourable attributions than exposure to Non SLA. These results provide initial evidence that consumers process SLA differently to other ad types and interestingly, may derive enjoyment from, or at least exhibit less ad scepticism towards viewing SLA. Finally, the influence of competitive context on sponsor recall is tested by simulating exposure to ambush and/or SLA ad types following a sponsorship announcement. Findings provide evidence to support a memory interference hypothesis and imply that accuracy of sponsor recall is diminished by presence of an ambush ad, but that this effect is moderated by presence of SLA leveraging a previously announced sponsorship. Taken together, the results of this series of studies provide an empirical measurement of SLA strategy and demonstrate construct validity. Further, interpretation of the results gives rise to specific creative strategies for practical implementation. Ecological validity is built into the design by using real events within ad stimuli and investigating SLA in the competitive context in which it occurs. Hence, the results are said to be generalisable to real-world situations, and the resultant creative strategies are arguably contextually valid. This research contributes to existing marketing and sponsorship literature by proposing and empirically validating a new construct. Theoretically, it examines consumer response to SLA by combining information processing and resistance based perspectives. It extends traditional views of ambushing by offering empirical evidence of the practice being widespread and extending to low level sponsors and event “free riders”. Practical implications of this research extend to advertisers and sponsors faced with the challenge of effectively leveraging huge sponsorship investments and assessing return on such investment. Empirical testing of ambushing effects has important implications for the debate on increased regulatory intervention of such practices, a debate centred upon tension between balancing fair marketing practice with the rights of sponsors and event organisers.
Keyword Marketing, Advertising, Sponsorship, Ambushing, Content analysis, Experimental Method, Consumer skepticism, Memory interference.
Additional Notes Colour: 128,214,220-224 inclusive, 229-251 inclusive. Landscape: 24-25 inclusive, 113-114 inclusive, 202-205 inclusive.

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Created: Thu, 02 Jul 2009, 18:02:56 EST by Mrs Sarah Kelly on behalf of Library - Information Access Service