Title: Sport sponsorship, brand association and regulation: tobacco firms using classical conditioning theory to skirt regulation

Authors: Jessica Vredenburg; Harrie Vredenburg; Kate Daellenbach; Urs Daellenbach

Addresses: Department of Management and Marketing, University of Melbourne, Level 10, 198 Berkeley Street, Victoria, 3010, Australia ' Haskayne School of Business, University of Calgary, 2500 University Drive NW, Calgary, AB, T2N 1N4, Canada ' School of Marketing and International Business, Victoria University of Wellington, Rutherford House, 23 Lambton Quay, Pipitea Campus Wellington, 6140, New Zealand ' School of Management, Victoria University of Wellington, Rutherford House, 23 Lambton Quay, Pipitea Campus, Wellington, 6140, New Zealand

Abstract: Corporate sponsorship of sports events is about associating a sponsoring firm's brand with the sponsored activity, with the goal of increasing sales through achieving customer association with the brand. It is a crucial revenue stream for many sports organisations, and an effective tool for companies to promote their brand; however, it is not without its challenges. The purpose of this paper is to further the understanding of the use of the 'undercover brand' in sports sponsorship, particularly by the tobacco industry which faces strict regulations on advertising. An examination of the corporate sponsorship of extreme sports events by 'Export A' brand of cigarettes in Canada is provided, highlighting the sponsoring company's efforts to use classical conditioning theory to skirt the increasingly restrictive advertising and sponsorship regulations affecting the tobacco industry. Regulation of tobacco advertising across different countries is also discussed. This paper concludes with questions regarding the efficacy of sponsorship for a company when the sport-brand association can no longer be refreshed.

Keywords: sport sponsorship; branding; brand association; advertisements; adverts; graphic design; logos; cigarettes; tobacco regulation; classical conditioning; sport reputation; Export A; extreme sports; tobacco industry; regulation avoidance; corporate sponsorship; sports events; undercover brands; Canada.

DOI: 10.1504/IJPLAP.2015.071037

International Journal of Public Law and Policy, 2015 Vol.5 No.2, pp.137 - 161

Published online: 05 Aug 2015 *

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