Sponsorship Activation

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Pinnacle-Award winning Stapleton Last Round Up

Below is the document CSG submitted to the IFEA/Festival Media Association Sponsorship Success Awards. CSG received a bronze award in this category, behind the Borderfest Association and the Kentucky Derby.
In the summer of 2006, Creative Strategies Group produced the Denver, Cow-lorado appearance of CowParade.  CowParade is the largest and most popular public art event in the world. It features life-size fiberglass cows that are painted by local artists, sponsored by local businesses, and displayed throughout streets, parks, and other public places for a period of three months. At the conclusion of each event, the cows are auctioned at a live and an online auction for the benefit of local non-profits.

CowParade Denver 2006 (CPD) featured works of bovine art created by local Colorado artists (young and old, aspiring and professional) and sponsored by local businesses for the benefit of local non-profit organizations. The event had more than 100 sponsored cows, raised $250,000 for local non-profits and drew more than one million people into the city.

The Sponsorship Opportunity

Creating positive brand experiences is the cornerstone of CowParade’s sponsorship program.  Sponsors of CowParade enjoyed the marketing exposure and public relations benefits associated with this colorful, wonderful and whimsical event.  CSG created the sponsorship program from scratch that offered a variety of sponsorship levels with commensurate rights and benefits.  They included one Title sponsor (United Airlines); one Presenting sponsor (Denver developer, Forest City Stapleton); one Associate Sponsor (Colorado Beef Council); one Supporting Sponsor (Macy’s) and more than twenty Patron level sponsors.  As it was a new and one-time event for Denver, all sponsorships were proactively solicited by CSG.  In total, more than $430,000 in cash sponsorships were secured by Creative Strategies Group.

Presenting Sponsor – Forest City Stapleton

Stapleton is the largest urban renewal project in the U.S.  Forest City is creating a huge new community on the site of the decommissioned Stapleton Airport.  They were looking for a sponsorship that would not only increase name awareness and branding, but would literally draw people to see their new community.  To accomplish this objective, CSG developed a sponsorship package that hinged on two innovative and unique elements.

First, Stapleton was designated as an “Official Pasture” of CowParade, where ten of the 100 cows were on display for three months.  Second, and perhaps most effective, at the conclusion of the public display of cows that were located throughout Denver, all 100 cows were “herded” overnight to Stapleton for one last “Final Round-Up,” providing the only opportunity to see all the cows in one location for one final week before they went off to auction.

Marketing Integration

Stapleton integrated this special surprise event into their own marketing and created two family events on the two weekends that book-ended the display.  CSG and Stapleton staff along with CowParade volunteers worked together to create an event that is still talked about today.

Special posters and street banners were developed for this unique activation at Stapleton as well as an ad campaign to promote the Final Round-Up.  Both the event and Stapleton dedicated broadcast media and print space to promote the various activities related to the Final Round-Up of CowParade Denver. CSG committed two 4 col. x 5” print ads in local papers, radio mentions on three radio stations (KYGO, KQKS, KJCD) promoting attendance at the event.  As well, during various TV interviews the final round up was a major talking point.  Stapleton placed four 4 col. x 5” print ads as well as two full-page, four-color ads in local papers during round up.

A live remote broadcast by KYGO took place during event.   The Final Round-Up was also featured in the community’s Front Porch newspaper.  Both sponsor and organizer launched significant and successful PR campaigns to promote the final round up.  Stapleton also sent out emails via its web site and the community intranet, Stapleton Online.com to bolster the media efforts.  The reach for these emails was to around 10,000 community residents and/or visitors who requested to be notified of community events.  News outlets also covered the overnight “moo’ve” of the cows.

Target Audience Identification

The appeal of CowParade was purposely broad, but it really appealed to families and especially children who enjoyed the opportunity to “love” the cows and have their pictures taken with them.   Specifically, Stapleton wanted to attract from within the CowParade audience:

  • Upper income households
  • Well-educated professionals
  • Families with children
  • People Interested in quality
  • Individuals engaged in the community
Sponsors’ Objectives

Early on, in the proposal presentation phase of the sponsorship, CSG met with Stapleton management to discuss what they wanted to get out of the sponsorship of CowParade.  Determining the sponsor’s objectives and finding the right fit between their target customer and the event audience is the linchpin of how CSG sells sponsorship.  Stapleton’s objectives while quite targeted and remarkably simple:

  • Drive traffic to Stapleton’ residential and commercial locations by hosting a herd of cows
  • Create a “must see” event onsite at Stapleton that would have such broad appeal that people could not stay away.
  • Promote Stapleton’s newest retail center, NorthField at Stapleton, by “driving” your cow herd to that location for it’s grand opening activities.
  • Involve Stapleton’s residential builders, merchants, businesses as well as other vendors and partners in this Stapleton community project by encouraging them to add to the Stapleton Herd through their sponsorship of individual cows.
  • Showcase Stapleton as an involved and engaged corporate citizen by supporting charity organization that will benefit from CPD and to further promote Stapleton’s community interests.

Increased traffic – All model homes received ongoing, increased foot traffic to their models.  More than 15,000 people visited the Stapleton community during the pasture hosting and Final Round-Up events.  Achieving a foot-traffic count of over 15,000 people is considered wildly successful.  Area retailers enjoyed increased retail sales as a result.

Media attention – In addition to the paid and promotional media partners, the Final Round-Up also garnered a great deal of news coverage including morning TV news reports and print photo coverage.

Database development – By asking people to vote for United’s “Best of the Bovine” People’s Choice Award, Stapleton was able to collect data base information, United received additional exposure by providing plane tickets to the winner of the drawing and the contest provided fantastic PR coverage in advance and during the final round up.

Community relations – The current residents of Stapleton loved the event as was evidenced by their participation in the two weekend activities.  Stapleton management received numerous letters, e-mails and comments about the quality, uniqueness and fun atmosphere the event evoked.

Results were tracked quantitatively through visitor center counts, traffic counts, data collection and media equivalencies. They were evaluated qualitatively through anecdotal observation by Stapleton management, visitor comments and media interest.

Post Event Presentation

CSG prepares a comprehensive performance binder for event property we represent.  CowParade was no exception.  The 200-page document provided a complete recap of the event as well as specific documentation of each sponsor’s activation activities.  Key elements of the CowParade Denver 2006 Post Event Report included:

  • Eight page Executive Summary
  • Complete media recap including placement schedules, advertising samples and media affidavits
  • Press kit sample and copies of principal stories and other relevant clippings
  • Samples of all collateral materials including poster, rack card, program, auction guide, special invitations, etc.
  • Internet recap including copies of web pages and traffic counts
  • Event photos with customized pages for each sponsor documenting their on site branding, proprietary assets or special activations
  • DVD with broadcast ad samples and key media outlet coverage

Sponsor Reaction:

JuliAnne Murphy, Marketing Vice President for Stapleton in Denver, including the Forest City development “branded” their sponsorship of CowParade Denver 2006 as “incredibly successful.”

She praised CSG for a job that was “extremely professionally done.” And further stated that CowParade was a “fantastic, unique event and our experience of the sponsorship and events far outweighed the success of both.”

“We wish we could replicate that success again!”

– JuliAnne Murphy, Marketing Vice President for Stapleton

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