Have you ever considered the impact that sponsorships have had on the world of sumo wrestling? Have you ever considered what efforts sponsors make to have a lasting impact on consumers?
Sponsorships in sumo wrestling is traditionally centered around individual fighters and divisional matches; companies do not sponsor the sport of sumo wrestling as a whole. A sport rich with tradition, sumo wrestling primarily consists of two (2) fighters duking it out on a mat. With limited activation/branding opportunities available, sponsors have resorted to having persons walk around the ring prior to the match holding a flag that features their company logo.
But for a company looking to escape the clutter in boxing/wrestling/ultimate fighting, couldn't a similar strategy be effective? For example, a company like Red Bull (who targets young males) could send four (4) models out onto the mat prior to a match holding the company's flag in each corner of the ring. Complementing this performance level branding with some product sampling (distributing Red Bull as consumers exit the arena), Red Bull could leave a lasting impression on consumers. In addition, many tanning salons and fitness centers could implement similar initiatives (send four (4) models who use their tanning salon/gym) to the four corners of the floor during a timeout, displaying a self-promoting banner).
Corporate sponsors normally commit 60,000 yen towards title sponsorships of divisional matches. Of this, the winning wrestler usually nets 30,000 yen (referred to as a kenshokin). More to come on the presence of sponsorships in the sumo world...