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Game on: do children absorb sports sponsorship messages?

  • Simone Pettigrew (a1), Michael Rosenberg (a1), Renee Ferguson (a1), Stephen Houghton (a2) and Lisa Wood (a3)...
Abstract
Objective

It is likely that there are substantial subconscious effects of organizations’ efforts to associate their products with sport via sponsorships, but most research methods are unable to capture these effects. The present study employed a novel projective technique to explore children's implicit associations between popular sports and a range of sports sponsors.

Design

Children participated in an activity using magnets bearing the logos of numerous sports and sponsors. They were invited to arrange the magnets on a whiteboard without being advised that the activity related to sponsorship.

Setting

Perth, Western Australia.

Subjects

Children (n 164) aged 5–12 years.

Results

Three-quarters (76 %) of the children aligned at least one correct sponsor magnet with the relevant sport. Just over half the children (54 %) correctly matched the most popular sport (an Australian Football League team) with its relevant sponsor (a fast-food chain).

Conclusions

Given the unstructured nature of the projective task, the results provide some support for the argument that sports sponsorship can effectively reach child audiences. This is of concern given the current extent of sponsorship by alcohol and fast-food companies.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
*Corresponding author: Email simone.pettigrew@uwa.edu.au
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