Loyal followers of this blog–or people who have extraordinary memories for minutiae–might recall that I’m fond of coming up with innovative albeit controversial ways to save money.
For instance, my breakthrough ideas for monetizing our son’s Bar Mitzvah (How to save money on a Bar Mitzvah or other happy occasion during times of economic uncertainty.) and my attempt to defray the cost of a new flagstone patio by selling Brick Sponsorships to friends and family (Want to sponsor my new patio? A creative way to subsidize home projects during a recession.), were met with widespread derision and scorn–and that was just within my own family.
But, as has been said many times, “failure is data too.”
I decided to try a new bigger bang strategy, this one aimed at reducing the monstrous expense of renovating our kitchen. Rather than piecing together numerous individual sponsors, I would approach a savvier, deeper-pocketed sponsor, one that already understood the premise of spending oodles of marketing dollars with zero, or at best, ambiguous returns on investment. Yes, it was time to target a large corporate advertiser!
My first target was Home Depot. For goodness sakes, if they can afford all that money for NASCAR sponsorships and those TV ads, they should at least take a look at sponsoring my kitchen. Below is an excerpt from my conversation with the Director of Corporate Sponsorships at Home Depot.
Home Depot: Hi, this is Greg (last name withheld).
Me: Good morning, Greg?
Home Depot: Yes, this is Greg.
Me: Hi, my name is Bob London, how are you today?
Me: Fantastic. Greg, I sent you some materials last Thursday regarding a unique, limited sponsorship opportunity.
HD: Ok, um….
HD: Uh huh.
Me: Great! Just to refresh your memory, Greg, we’re putting in a new kitchen using only materials and products from Home Depot, from cabinets to appliances to framing lumber to drywall and paint, plus–
HD: Wait a minute.
Me: Sure, go ahead., Greg! My job is to listen!
HD: Is this the deal where you want us to sponsor your kitchen remodel?
Me: Well, Greg, you certainly like to cut to the chase don’t you? I like that! Greg, you’ve hit the nail on the head–and of course it’s a Home Depot nail and hammer–haha. Our new kitchen will be a high-traffic, high-quality environment for the Home Depot message at a fraction of the cost of most of your other corporate sponsorship venues. For comparison purposes, you’ll notice in the sponsorship package I sent you I included a chart comparing our sponsorship costs and benefits with other popular sponsorships such as the U.S. Tennis Open, in-stadium signage at a Major league Baseball venue and the Westminster Kennel Club show. What this analysis shows is that–
HD: You’re aware that if you’re recording this call as a joke or for a reality show that you have to inform me up front, right?
Me: Pardon? Oh, no Greg, this is as real as it gets. It might sound too innovative to be real, but it is! In addition to the Home Depot signage you’ll receive throughout our sparkling new kitchen, we’ll include a rooftop banner that’s visible from Google Maps. And you’ll have exclusive rights to blog about the project–both text, still pictures and video–in real time!
Me: Greg? You there? Are you just bowled over by the creativity on this deal? Haha.
HD: Right. Um, can you hold for a second?
Me: Absolutely, Greg, no problem, just take as long as you–
HD: On hold music (Goodbye Yellow Brick Road/Elton John–3:07…Free Bird/Lynyrd Skynyrd–6:41…Stairway to Heaven/Led Zeppelin–8:28…In-a-Gadda-da-Vida/Iron Butterfly–17:55…Like a Virgin, Ext. Dance Remix/Madonna–31:01)
HD: (female voice) Hi, you’re holding for?
Me: Hi, I was holding for Greg (last name withheld).
HD: (female voice) Oh, Greg’s gone for the day. Would you like his voicemail?
Me: (to self) Humpf. (to female) Absolutely that’d be great!
HD: (voicemail greeting) Hi, this is Greg, I’m either on the phone…(deleted for brevity)…(beep).
Me: Hi, Greg, Bob London again about the kitchen sponsorship. I guess you had to jump on another call. But it sounds as though there’s some real interest on Home Depot’s part to do this deal, so I will follow up tomorrow regarding next steps. (Call ends.)
As you can tell, this deal is incredibly promising, and the best part is that I only need two corporate sponsors to break even. Everything after that is pure gravy, my friends! Next I’m calling the Charmin people about sponsoring our bathroom remodeling project.
Bob London is President of London, Ink, a marketing and communications consulting firm based in the Washington, DC area. He can be reached at email@example.com. His business humor writing, Bobservations, can be seen at www.bob-servations.com and is now a monthly column in SmartCEO DC magazine (www.smartceo.com).