Pimp Yourself With Personal Sponsorships

This space for rent: If you could sell advertising on your laptop, your car, your iPhone, would you?

This space for rent: If you could sell advertising on your laptop, your car, your iPhone, would you?

Whilst in the midst of the Olympic hoopla, it’s hard to miss that sponsorship fuels this global event. VANOC has sponsors, as does the IOC and the individual athletes. Everything seems to have a logo plastered on it. The basic premise is that people (“eyeballs,” in the lingua franca of sponsorship) are going to be looking at things. The more eyeballs, the more valuable it is to have a commercial brand within their field of vision. Makes sense.

Could it work for you?

If you have eyeballs on your store, your car, or yourself, it’s conceivable that some brand might be interested in sponsoring that space. One local entrepreneur, a business coach who spends a lot of time in airports, on planes and in front of CEOs, has sold the space on his laptop to a group of sponsors for $2500 a pop, for a whole year. Cameron Herold was one of the people who made 1-800-Got-Junk successful, and he’s parlayed that into a career as a speaker and mentor to entrepreneurs near and far.

He got the idea from the world of ski racing. “I noticed years ago how skiers would always hold their skis up to the cameras when being interviewed, to show off the sponsor logos,” Herold said. “This was long before logos appeared on athletes’ clothes and everything else imaginable.”

Here’s how Herold did it: he posted to Twitter explaining the offer, had 12 companies respond, and chose the five that were the best fit. He gave away one space to a charity that aligns well with his profession and promised to talk about all his sponsors at every opportunity for a whole year. One enterprising entrepreneur upped that ante, and offered to buy the space on the back of his iPhone for the next 12 months. Herold accepted.

Who else could hop on this train? Accountants could sell space on their calculators and briefcases to accounting software companies. Advertising firms could sell space on self-promotional brochures and office windows to printers and media companies. Dentists could promote toothpaste. Car dealers could promote car washes. Realtors could pimp renovation companies.

With a little imagination, any business could find brands that would like to be in front of their customers and clients on a regular basis. It might not work as well for you as it did for Herold, but does it hurt to try?
In some ways this is a twisted reincarnation of an old tactic, whereby a company prints up pens, coffee mugs or ball caps and distributes them to customers and clients. But instead of reinforcing your brand with current customers, this newfangled idea leverages your audience to help your suppliers and associated companies establish greater awareness with potential new leads.
Personally speaking, I’m going to have a word with various cheese and wine makers about sponsoring me; perhaps offering them semi-permanent tattoos on my mid-section. May as well get back some of the sizeable multi-year investment I’ve made in their success.