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Sponsors staying with partners

Andrew Browne, [email protected]

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CROP-OVER EVENTS have a better chance of receiving sponsorship if their promoters have long- standing relationships with potential sponsors.
This was the view of some business representatives who were present at the launch of Soca On The Hill at the Mount Gay Visitors’ Centre on the Spring Garden Highway last Thursday.
Mount Gay Rum brand manager Marc McCollin said while they had made some cutbacks in the amount of sponsorship given, they had tried to stick with their “regular partners” as much as possible.
Speaking to the DAILY NATION during the launch, he said, in some cases, they had been associated with these promoters for over ten years.
“But we also have to look at the reach, the awareness a particular event or series of events will have. For us, it’s also the opportunity to make sales,” McCollin said.
“We’ve tried as best as possible to still keep everyone on board and tried to add value in different ways so that the sponsorship still makes sense for them and it still makes sense for us,” he said, adding that they will be associated with a few events for the first time.
McCollin noted that while the company did not only sponsor large events, smaller productions must show some long-term sustainability.
“There are some events that can only cater to 300 people at a time and that may be a small number now, but you have to look at the evolution and the possibilities,” he said.
Meanwhile, Gayle Headley-Lowe, executive director of Intimate Hotels of Barbados, said they were always willing to support “the established and the tried and true events” and those which promoted Barbadian culture.
She said the economic downturn had not forced them to make any cutbacks.
“We don’t sponsor many, many events and sponsorship is also often in kind. Depending on the time of the year the event is, once we have the rooms, we will provide [them],” Headley-Lowe said.
She said it was difficult to measure the impact of sponsorship but the goal was to garner both local and regional awareness of the group.
In addition, Digicel’s head of sales and marketing Alex Tasker said it was a “national honour” to be involved in the festival each year but noted that the telecommunications company had long term commitments to some of their partners.
He said sponsorship of Crop-Over events offered them the opportunity to make sure their branding was always in the minds of customers.
“The key for us though is to make sure that people are safe. By providing the communication element for the festival we make sure all of our customers are safe,” Tasker said. (NB)