Jun 14, 2012 at 04:19 PM
written by

How Social Startups Are Creating A New Class Of Sponsorship Categories

Categories are constantly expanding and evolving. Seen an official film or exclusive music store lately? The goods news is that in this business there are always new categories being created to fill the void and the best sponsorship salespeople are always looking for that next big thing with sponsorship in mind. Take for instance Airbnb, which is the "accommodations partner" for NYC's upcoming Governors Ball Music Festival. If you've pitched a sponsorship in the couch surfing category raise your hand. In a world where it's easier to count cost-per-click much than consumer affinity, it may seem that sponsorships would be one of the last marketing tools for cash starved startups. However, as sizable venture rounds fuel the expectation of rapid scale it seems more consumer startups are finding that sponsorship can be an efficient way to achieve paid, owner, earned and most importantly, shared media. Whereas sponsorships in web 1.0 were blow out the marketing budget big, it seems more startups this time around are recognizing the power that more targeted, niche events can have.

Whether it's differentiating a service from copycats, acquiring compelling event content or simply generating new sign-ups, targeted sponsorships can help fuel the viral engine upon which start-ups these days thrive. Based on a quick scan of SponsorPitch's Sponsor Index, here are just a few examples of some of the hot social start-ups that are creating a name for themselves by creating entirely new partnership categories.

Airbnb-Governors Ball Music Festival: Is there a better fit than couch surfing and music festivals? As the Governors Ball Music Festival accomodations partner, music fans can access a special $50 code (“GOVBAL”) when they use Airbnb to set-up their festival accommodations.

Ancestry.com-Canadian War Museum: The largest for-profit genealogy company in the world has an interest in preserving artifacts. Museum partnerships offer the perfect venue to connect with history lovers.

Twitter-Nascar:Twitter debuted a partnership with Nascar this past weekend at the Pocono 400 race to launch the release of hashtag pages. The company hopes that the Twitter.com/#NASCAR page will serve as a case study for further partnerships.

Angry Birds-Philadelphia Eagles: As part of its first team partnership, Angry Birds-maker, Rovio, is creating an Eagles-themed version of the Angry Birds game, collaborating on social media efforts and will be running Angry Birds themed Jumbotron replays in stadium

Tumblr-NYFW Tumblr, the micro-blogging platform popular with fashionistas, has made a habit of sponsoring Fashion bloggers at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.

LivingSocial-D.C. United:One of the first daily discount startups to sign a team deal, LivingSocial offers Instant Deals on apparel to all those in attendance D.C. United games who utilize the LivingSocial app on their smartphone.

Etsy-Arts & Crafts Festivals: Brooklyn-based crafts marketplace sponsors arts & crafts events like the Handmade Arcade, Pittsburgh's largest indie craft fair.

SitterWorks-?: Most of the examples on this list are mature, VC-backed startups, but sponsorship isn't necessarily tied to a startups maturity. Take for example, a startup called SitterWorks, which connects parents with babysitters. The startup has not even officially launched yet, they're looking for new sponsorship ideas in the Chicago area.