Friday, August 21, 2009

Single Sponsorship

One of my early ideas for garnering financial support for Chowhound was to persuade a single company to underwrite everything in exchange for exclusive high-level branding. My model was Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom; a show that had nothing to do with insurance, but which indirectly cast the company in a friendly/neighborly light unattainable by a more conventionally direct ad campaign.

Chowhound seemed a perfect opportunity for certain non-food companies to benefit from association with a popular media operation devoted to - even evangelistic toward - high-value, high-quality consumption. Companies like Nordstrum's, Apple, Virgin, Aveda, Mephisto sell "cut above" products which depend on consumers willing to seek out and up pay for quality. And Chowhound had gathered a rare audience which, by definition, consumes staunchly on the merits.

A truly good company making truly good products, which wouldn't insult us with mindless marketing or disrupt us with annoying pitches could enjoy a symbiotic relationship with Chowhound by being the gentle benefactors of a much-loved resource with an early-adopting, evangelistic audience...and which was garnering frequent press.

Back in 1999, I couldn't talk anyone into it. I was too early with the idea...which has lately begun
taking off...though the current action seems a much looser fit than what I'd envisioned.

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