Sponsoring Nature… or the other Way Around?

When we think of sponsorships, immediately we think 2 things: some kind of scholarship or a sports/cultural event being supported by some major company or brand. For the purposes of this entry, let’s stick to the latter. Gatorade, Coca Cola, Beer Brands, etc they are always present at major events, but most of them, sporting events. It’s actually unusual now to see a big sports event without a sponsor. So, it would be safe to say that just like TV, radio, newspapers, billboards and such, sporting events are now a mass media; a cluttered media.

So what has been the new trend to try to go around all that clutter? BTL (Below The Line) advertising or promotion, even though young, has also been a great hit for the ad world. It’s “more pure” if you will. However, although there are striking examples that amaze people with the creativity invested in them (for example these: http://fiveprime.org/hivemind/Tags/advertising,btl), it’s also getting cluttered rather quickly. Time to get around that again, but how?

Recently, a paper brand has done something differently. It’s still sponsorship, but not of sports. It’s still BTL, but not some over-the-top installation somewhere. Instead, it’s something far simpler. Marcal Small Steps is sponsoring autumn leaves. Yes. You read it right, Autumn leaves; you know, the kind that fall down from trees during the Fall season (see article http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/13/business/media/13adco.html?ref=todayspaper). Is this taking the concept of branding, advertising or marketing too far?  Actually, no.

What the brand is doing is recognizing its raw material. In fact, the brand, though sponsoring leaves, it’s also saying to be sponsored by the leaves. It’s actually a vicious circle, well, an Eco-friendly one (ring a bell to the circling arrows of recycle?) That’s the type of creativity that’s staring at us in the face, but we rarely ever see. That’s a way to “unclutter”. Sometimes the best ideas or solutions, are the simplest ones.

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