Some notes on sponsorship – redux

Hey folks, I’m just dragging this up (with a few changes to the wording) from the bottom of the post before last where it was first published. In conversations I had on the weekend at the Sydney Anarchist Book Fair and Canberra Zine Emporium (thank you to the organisers of both events) people were overwhelmingly supportive of the idea of boycotting the MCA zine fair over the MCA’s relationship with Transfield, but there was some confusion about precisely what that relationship is. Creating confusion is a pretty good way of obscuring facts, but anyway: this is the information I have found with my limited internet searching abilities:

In a pay-walled article on ArtsHub, the MCA called our use of the word ‘sponsorship’ to describe their relationship with Transfield a “factual inaccurancy”, stating instead that Transfield are a ‘Corporate Member’.

‘Corporate Members’ are listed on the ‘Sponsorship’ page of the MCA website.

Transfield are listed on page 60 of the most recent (2012) MCA annual report in the section for ‘Sponsorship, Donations, Marketing and Public Relations’, as a ‘Corporate Member’.

The MCA are listed on the ‘Community Involvement – Sponsorships’ page of the Transfield website: “Transfield Holdings has been a corporate sponsor of the Museum of Contemporary Art since 2004.” (accessed 24/3/14, emphasis mine. Note that the Transfield domain name and the Transfield logo at the top of the web-page do not make a distinction between ‘Transfield Holdings’, ‘Transfield Services’ or ‘Transfield Foundation’.)

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So, the word ‘sponsorship’ seems to have a slippery definition, depending on when, how and by whom it is used. Clearly Transfield consider their corporate membership to be a variety of sponsorship. The MCA, perhaps, feels differently – although their own publicly accessible information on their sponsors etc is ambiguous. Whatever the difference (or lack of) between ‘sponsorship’ and ‘corporate membership’ in this case, the MCA and Transfield have a brand relationship. As the MCA website outlines, Corporate Membership provides an opportunity to:

“[a]lign with Australia‚Äôs leading contemporary arts brand and an exciting range of collections” and[d]evelop and enhance relationships with key clients and stakeholders”.

What would a bit of amateur research be without a visit to Wikipedia? From the entry on brand equity (or as it’s sometimes known, brand value):

Brand equity is a phrase used in the marketing industry which describes the value of having a well-known brand name, based on the idea that the owner of a well-known brand name can generate more money from products with that brand name than from products with a less well known name…”

Cheers,

Emma