To read this content please select one of the options below:

Sponsorship‐linked marketing: a set of research propositions

David Nickell (University of West Georgia, Carrollton, Georgia, USA)
T. Bettina Cornwell (University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon, USA)
Wesley J. Johnston (Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA)

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing

ISSN: 0885-8624

Article publication date: 11 October 2011




The purpose of this paper is to review the existing literature on sponsorship‐linked marketing and to present a set of research propositions.


The approach to the research propositions was to explore the existing literature to discover areas where opportunities for further research exist.


The authors propose that not only does sponsorship‐linked marketing influence attitudes towards the sponsor, but that the relationship is that of an S‐shaped curve where the incremental impact of sponsorship is slight for brands with very little or very strong attitudes established towards the brand. The most dramatic influence that sponsorship‐linked marketing will have is for those sponsors with a moderate amount of established brand attitude. The authors also present an argument that extreme congruity or extreme incongruity will drive brand awareness more dramatically than an expected level of sponsor‐property congruity, thus suggesting a U‐shaped relationship between awareness and congruency. Moreover, while an extremely incongruent partnership may gain widespread attention, it is unlikely to positively influence an emotional or behavioral response for either the property or sponsor.


The majority of the previous literature regarding sponsorship‐linked marketing proposed or assumed a linear relationship between current brand attitudes and the impact of a sponsorship. This paper suggests that this relationship is actually non‐linear and is, in fact, an S‐shaped relationship. Further, while congruency was believed to be linearly related to awareness, this paper proposes that the association between awareness and congruency is a U‐shaped phenomenon.



Nickell, D., Bettina Cornwell, T. and Johnston, W.J. (2011), "Sponsorship‐linked marketing: a set of research propositions", Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 26 No. 8, pp. 577-589.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Related articles