Sep 02, 2011 at 02:36 PM
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Tumblr's Fashion Week Sponsorship Proposal Upsets Marketers

With free social media platforms like Twitter, Foursquare and Tumblr starting to reach some impressive user metrics and valuations, the focus on monetization plans is growing. Does this mean the party is over for offline sponsors that have been receiving free buzz around their activations? If Tumblr's Fashion Week proposal is any indication, brands may increasingly find that social media activations now require a significant additional buy with social platforms. For next week's New York Fashion Week, brands can get placement on the official NY Fashion Week Tumblr for $150,000 and for $350,000 they can sponsor the Tumblr tagged “fashion” page.

Tumblr's attempt to monetize next week's New York Fashion Week through online and offline sponsorships (view the proposal here) is upsetting some of the brand marketers, who say they have helped the short-form blogging platform get to where it is today.

A smattering of responses to the proposal include:

  • Jessica Coghan, director of digital marketing at Starworks Group writing on her Tumblr blog:

    "I have also had the pleasure of seeing their sponsorship proposal being shopped around to brands, which I am not supposed to be talking about. I will say this… someone is completely out of their goddamn mind."

  • Julie Frederickson, digital media specialist at Ann Taylor, wrote this on her blog:

    "Please someone who is a grown up at Tumblr listen to the brands that care about you. It isn’t just Users First, Brands Second. Hell at this point you are Users First, Brands never. Take a cue from Michael Lazerow’s comments on that post and realize that brands pay the bills when VCs stop."

    As brands become more important (read: monetization strategy) to social media platforms, there is no doubt there will be some growing pains in determining what a brand receives for a 'paid partnership' vs. what has traditionally been free, especially since most of these platforms built their audiences based on the premise of free use. Because of this, there is little a brand can do to ensure some level of exclusivity around a event, which no matter how good your activation strategy is, would seem unsettling given the rates being bountied about.

    Marketers, have you paid for a promoted tweet or event-based page? If so, what do you think of these tools as an activation element for event sponsorships?