Guest Post: Social Media and Sponsorship at Marquette

Marquette Pepsi TwitterToday’s post is courtesy of guest blogger Rob Campbell, Analyst for IEG Research Services. This article was first published on IEG’s Sponsorship Blog at

Social Media and Sponsorship Join Forces for Marquette Basketball

This past week, Marquette University started posting from a Pepsi-sponsored Twitter account focusing on the home opener for its men’s basketball team. This development is unique in that very few (successful) forays have been made into the world of sponsored social media.

So far, the only evidence of Pepsi involvement is a Pepsi logo and the text “Pepsi Season Opener” on the Twitter page. There have been no tweets or links posted regarding Pepsi or the sponsorship and the posts have largely focused on information aimed at building excitement around opening night. If the user’s window is not maximized, the Pepsi logo and blurb receives little visibility, as it is mostly shrouded by text display.

The account has amassed just over 100 followers at the time of this post, but its posts are retweeted through the Marquette Athletics account.

I think this minimalistic approach of the lowest possible integration (no influence on tweets) is a great start. By keeping the sponsorship transparent and the content sterile, the account does not have a detrimental effort on the actual sponsorship of the athletic department and if anything, only adds to it.

If Pepsi ever does make it into the subject matter of tweets, it should not be in the form of just marketing messages. Instead, the best way to integrate the overarching Season Opener sponsorship into this sponsored Twitter page is to provide actual useful content or promotions. For example, if Pepsi were to give away tickets or create a highlight video, that would be relevant content to relay to the account’s followers. However, simply stating there is a sale on Pepsi at the local grocer would not be relevant.

Essentially, this Twitter account is just an activation extension of Pepsi’s sponsorship of Marquette Athletics and is not the sole focus of the sponsorship. I think placing the Twitter account in the supporting role of the much larger sponsorship makes the sponsored page feel much more organic than if the sponsored Twitter account were the primary focus.

It would be interesting to know if Pepsi requested the Twitter tie-in or whether Marquette’s athletic department took the initiative in its creation.

(Editor’s Note: I love to see experimentation like this in the social media space. I believe the first sports-related Twitter sponsor to get involved was Tissot on Danica Patrick’s page. Social media allows for a wide array of value-added activation, which is so important now as companies look to gain more value from their sponsorships without increasing their spend.)

One thought on “Guest Post: Social Media and Sponsorship at Marquette

  • October 15, 2009 at 8:06 am

    Nice job Rob. You hit on three key points. The first is that it is just a pice of the sponsorship pie, second the piece that it accounts for is activation. Third is that it is providing value (content & promotions) to the followers.

Comments are closed.