It's not been a great year for sponsorship. Honda dropped F1, Subaru dumped World Rally and AIG is ditching Man U. So how come Disney's corporate partnerships are blossoming? It's taken more than the wave of a magic wand, says Christian Sylt
Kids, colour, cartoons and cuddly characters. These are the concepts that spring to mind when you think of Disney. Sponsorship is not likely to be on the list but it is shaping up to be the next Mickey Mouse in terms of growth for the company. Disney’s share price has tumbled 38 per cent from its high of $34.99 in May 2008 but its portfolio of corporate alliances has been blossoming.
In the past eight months alone, Disney has renewed its deal with Visa in Asia until 2014 and has signed new alliances with the AARP, a US association of 40 million senior citizens, and French bank Crédit Mutuel. Securing the latter sponsorship is a huge coup given the pressure that the financial services sector has been under of late.
“We are seeing a number of partners pulling out of other sponsorships but staying with us,” says Lawrence Aldridge, Disney’s senior vice-president of corporate alliances. He presides over a portfolio of partnerships that inlcude Hewlett-Packard, Kodak and Nestlé. Aldridge says that the alliances “range in commitments from seven to eight figures per year,” and whilst this will buy space on a car and overalls complete with corporate hospitality tickets in Formula One, the exposure offered by a partnership with Disney is far from traditional.