Marketing, Advertising, Distribution, Naming Rights, Co-Branding & Endorsements

  • Marketing agreements
  • Reseller agreements
  • Value-added reseller (VAR) agreements
  • Original equipment manufacturer (OEM) agreements
  • Sales agency & broker agreements
  • Referral & commission agreements
  • Advertising agreements
  • Endorsement agreements
  • Naming rights agreements
  • Distribution agreements

Whether it's a sports stadium or a large commercial building, naming rights offer innovative revenue streams for landmark property owners. For those acquiring the rights, naming can link a brand to a city's culture, to a sport and to a building's other activities and can help build awareness that complements traditional advertising. You might see back-to-back, competing ads for Ford and Chrysler when you tune in to watch a sporting event, but if the broadcast opens with "Welcome to Monday Night Football and beautiful Gillette Stadium" - how many different brands of razor are you likely to see for the next three hours?

Naming rights, like other forms of advertising and marketing arrangements, have become far less a matter of faith and far more measurable than ever. Advertisers demand results, not only in terms of eyeballs, but in terms of highly specialized demographics; not only in terms of impressions, but sales. With an ever-increasing spectrum of media, venues and channels, advertisers can and do demand value for their advertising expenditures.

The flip side is the demographic leverage of the venue, medium or endorsing personality. There may be plenty of ways to get the word out about a brand, but having your logo appear on the cap of a sports star as he or she gives a post-game interview sells the brand better than any 30-second spot.

But brands and channels are fickle things. Negative events are viral - they tend to infect whatever they touch. Naming, advertising, endorsement and other marketing agreements need to address the odious possibility that disassociation might be needed on short notice.

Of course, not all marketing agreements involve newsworthy arrangements. Simple co-branding, co-marketing and cross-referral agreements are at the heart of the business plan of many quietly successful companies. The same principles may be at work in terms of product, brand and demographics, but sometimes just linking up with a business that maintains a fabulous Rolodex is more than enough to generate sales opportunities. It is in these arrangements where commerce occurs without press conferences and the parties must wrestle to the ground more mundane issues, like, "How can we be sure we get the good referrals and not just a print-out of the Yellow Pages?" and "What if we receive a referral that we've already been working for six months - do we need to pay a fee for those?" and "What happens if we terminate the deal - can they use our referrals to compete with us?"

Trademark, trade secret, antitrust, exclusivity and ordinary contract issues lurk just beneath the surface of many of these deals. Crafting an arrangement that works - legally, financially and practically, requires exposure to and experience in the broad spectrum of arrangements from each side of the negotiating table.


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