Rising Above the Clutter: Brand Awareness of Sponsorships

Beth A. Cianfrone

This past March, I purchased tickets to attend the PGA Tour’s Valspar Championship in Palm Harbor, Florida. While on Ticketmaster, I wondered out loud, “What is Val­spar and why are they sponsoring golf?” As a sport marketing researcher who has spent the last 11 years focused on under­standing how companies can be most effective in promoting their brands via advertising and sponsorships, I was curious about the title sponsorship. A fundamental desired outcome of sponsorships is brand awareness and I had no awareness of Valspar. The sponsorship was activated throughout the tournament—on site, on television commercials, in hard­ware stores, and on the product labels themselves. Upon entering Innisbrook Resort’s Copperhead Golf Course, I quickly realized Valspar was a paint company. Valspar paint buckets served as tee box markers. The caddies wore Valspar hats and brightly colored bibs reflecting the many shades of Valspar paint. The Valspar chameleon mascot was evident on signs. We sat in a beach themed spectator area, on brightly colored Adirondack chairs in the sand and watched players putt on hole three in an area known as the Chameleon Cove. The beach also featured a large 50-ton, 20-foot tall chame­leon sand sculpture. The Valspar Food Truck Rally and Val­spar Color Experience 18th Green Expo had fan activities. Valspar brand ambassadors handed out coupons and Valspar branded sunscreen that featured the wording “Save the color for the walls” with paint swatches, such as Copperhead red (a nod to the Copperhead course), on the bottle. After a day on the course, it seemed Valspar had creatively made paint fit at a golf event and increased my brand awareness. I was not the only one impacted; according to an ESP Sponsor­ship Report (2016), Valspar noticed a 10-point increase in awareness for their sponsorship of the 2016 event.

Open Access