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WRAWRRR, BEAR CLAW!
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Discussion Starter #1
Since this subject comes up so often on these boards, I've written a blurb regarding Project Vehicle Sponsorship. Feel free to ask any questions you may have, or add to it.

Here's some good information on sponsorship:

http://www.enjoythedrive.com/content/?id=9663

From my experience:

*sit down and make up your plan, and for each part you'd like, try several different avenues in case one doesn't pan out

*have a through and professional proposal--please make sure your grammar is correct (I see so many that are just pathetic, like two paragraphs of run on sentences)

*break it down into sections

--cover letter, addressed specifically to the person in charge of marketing/sponsorships (that necessitates a phone call prior to this process)

--rendering of completed concept (front 3/4 usually will suffice, although a front and rear is always good) or, if the car is already done exterior wise (like if you're adding performance mods or going for ICE), good, hi res glossy pictures of the car

--overall concept (list mods and sponsors that you've already done in this area)
--performance (motor/drivetrain/brakes)
--aesthetically (suspension stance, bodykit, wheels/tires, paint/graphics)
--ICE and interior

--then your marketing strategy:
--list of events it has been at, including awards
--list of events it WILL be at (and I mean WILL)
--list of magazines you'll solicit for coverage, and contacts, if possible

--then a blurb about yourself:
--who you are, what you do, how you got involved in cars, etc.
--a resume of past vehicles and their accolades
--then a few pages of pics, that can be the buildup of the car so far, as well as pics/scans of past projects, magazine ink and features, etc.

Most importantly, don't be a dick. I don't know how many kids used to call Modern Image with total attitudes about how 'great' their POS Hondas/Fords/Cavaliers/Pintos were and wanted to be hooked up cause they won some award at a show in BumFackEgypt, Nebraska. When I'd ask them to send in a proposal, they'd send in one paragraph and polariods, and where to ship product to. And mind you, that was for a $200 graphic kit--not something like a $1000 bodykit or $3500 supercharger.

Don't expect to get everything for free. Some companies will give you product at W/D, some will refund your money once they see ink, some have a set sponsored rate, some give you a discount the first time around then completely comp you once you've proven yourself, and some just don't give out free product unless you have a stellar past resume and the car is guaranteed to be high profile. Some don't give out anything, they only do in-house projects.

Be patient. It takes a long time to build up to where you're at a level where larger, more expensive product will come your way. Start small, with accessories, etc., and move up. Things like SCs and turbos are harder to come by, because they cost so much to manufacture, and giving them out drains marketing budgets quickly.

If you get the parts, live up to what the manufacturer wants from you, as far as logo placement, show attendance, etc. Make your car available to be used by them for promotional and marketing purposes. Take it to shows detailed and perfect. For instance, don't get a bodykit, then show 'under construction' for six months with 1/2 the car in primer. Send your sponsors email updates with pics of it at shows, where it's been, what awards it's won, etc.

Be persistent, be thorough, be professional. I realize that some people at these companies won't return phone calls and can't follow up to save their lives, but what matters most is YOUR attitude in the long run. Sometimes one avenue won't work out, but another door may open, and you should be prepared to jump on it. Live up to your end of the 'contract'--which should be the easiest part, because it's your 'baby' that you're showing off!

Good luck!
 

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King of the Fairies
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you go girl

 

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Mr Know-It-All
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The one thing I would add - and it's certainly not from personal experience, but rather from your good example with the Sponge - is that when your car is at these shows to generate exposure, make yourself available. Stay near the car and talk to the people who are interested in the things that are done to it. So often at shows, there will be a great car there with some really interesting mods and you just want to know more. Questions like - where'd you get this part, who did your interior/graphics/paint, or personal opinions about the performance/reliability aren't too hard to answer. Sure you might get tired of the same old same old, but you're really there to be the product's representative when you're dealing with a sponsored ride. Supporting the product and the supplier goes further than slapping it on your car along with a sticker.

Kris and her husband always make themselves available at the shows to answer just about anything. It's extra effort, for sure, but I commend them for it and would suggest that others need to do the same.

>8^)
ER
 

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Go to as many shows as you can; enter every major or minor show the year before you go after major sponsorship. Get to know the people who are working the vendor booths if it's a big show your going to see the same people every weekend. Make a point of going up to them during setup or at the show so that they know your there and let them know where your car is so that they can look for it when they walk around. With most major companies one or two of the local sales reps will be at the show and they are a great connection to a company. Now this is a point where some people have disagreed with me in the pasts. Remember if you’re sponsored or trying to get sponsorship you have to put for the most professional image forward as possible. That means being near your car talking to every single person that comes by not sitting in a chair behind your car scowling at some guy looking inside your car. If you see someone with a camera or a notepad near your car go talk to them. Offer to take down part of your display (and yes you should have at least a board listing your mods) so that they can get a better picture. Dress professionally not suite and tie by any means but a golf shirt and pressed pants or jeans goes along way for your image.

Always have a at least one copy of your proposal and some business cards with you at all times. Get 100 business cards made up and have them with you, it goes along way when a potential sponsor or reporter asks to get some contact info from you and you can hand over a business card. Trust me on that I got BFG and Valvoline that way.

I always had a big scrap book with me which chronicled the buildup of my car and had copies of my features in newspapers and magazines. This gave reporters and potential sponsors greater incite to what went into building and preparing the car.

When your writing up your proposal a key thing is to be accurate and truthful about the number of shows you’re planning on attending that season. If you’re planning on just going to local shows then you’re not really offering a sponsor much. You should plan to attend 3 or 4 shows outside your area generally in cities 8 or so hours away. This will show an added level of commitment to a potential sponsor. I attended the Nopi Nationals in Atlanta went to HIN in Chicago, and did two shows in Montreal all 6 + hour drives for me. As easy as it is don’t overstate your commitments and never ever lie about shows won or even attended.


Well that’s just about all I’ve got to add, good luck!!


I’ll also offer my assistance with critiquing proposals as I must have seen 1000 last year from people looking to get sponsorship from Clarion, my former prime sponsor.
 

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tell'em kris....better yet get sponge bob to K-rott-a them..
 

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there is also a 4 page article in import tuner mag. this month about getting sponsors...

But Kris' is much better written!!!
 

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Will this stragegy work for getting sponsored for a racecar, too? Does anyone campaign a car on a racetrack be it SCCA, drag racing, or anything else?
Not on a Focus, but I was sponsored to race the Top Truck Class for FFW for a few years. I had Superchips on board as well as a local tranny shop and a sign shop. I had to run the first year on my own and place 2nd in the nation, take the mag, which was MMFF for those interested, and show them my name in the book in the final rankings. I had been running the S'chips banner on my windshield all year. When I won a couple of events, they saw me at the Bradenton event, asked if I needed any help, and of course I accepted. The tranny shop had already built one trans for me that I had paid for($4500), when I showed them I had won a couple of events and had placed 2nd (running the custom made magnetic signs with their logo on them by the said sign shop, total of $500 worth), they built me a better one, with a custom torque convertor, installed it, then rebuilt the other one the same as the one in the truck. Every 2 races, they came and picked my truck up on a flatbed, swapped the trannies, and brought it back to me detailed and ready to travel for the next event. The sign shop was a given as I had been running signs they made me, and I paid for. S'chips never gave me any funds, just custom tuned some chips for me, actually invited me down to FL to have my truck tuned on their dyno (which they dont do anymore, I understand), and actually tweaked the tunes and brought new modules with them to races they were attending in vendors row for me. The sign shop gave me $150 per race, which basically covered fuel costs, but it was assistance. As Kris and a couple of others have said, I spent the funds, showed my dedication, and THEN they helped me.
No total free ride is given without some effort.
 

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KA RA TAY!!

thanks for teh love

just wanted to enlighten peeps a bit--some people think that all we did was wave a magic wand and the product appeared---BING!
wait... so
you mean that's not how it happens?
 

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WRAWRRR, BEAR CLAW!
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Discussion Starter #13
I spent the funds, showed my dedication, and THEN they helped me.
No total free ride is given without some effort.
That's what I figured – you show how well you can do and THEN they'll take notice. Thanks for the insight.
And even if you start getting sponsors, you're still going to have to spend money on your new project. Paint, materials, interior, misc parts (Sunset Ford parts guys love us) etc. I freakin hate SEMA time.... hopefully we'll have a little left over to play with once we get to Vegas
 
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