Ford has decided to continue with its sponsorship of the “Arts, Beats and Eats” event, which moved from Pontiac to Royal Oak last year.

The official announcement is to be made today, with a sponsorship investment of about $600,000. Companies like Ford sponsor events out of both a sense of civic duty, and an ability to reach a lot of people who buy cars.

“Part of it is the number of customers that we get to interact with,” says Ford Detroit Regional Sales Manager Mike O’Brien. “That’s a big piece of it.”

Local Ford dealers say they were able to turn 282 sales leads gathered at the 2010 “Arts Beats and Eats” into sales. It’s impossible to tell how many other future sales could have been generated.

Car companies are moving more of the marketing dollars into the sponsorship of events. Those sponsorships often include interactive games, and other ways to show would be customers the benefits of the vehicles.

There are also opportunities to explain—and demonstrate—new technologies.

“Those kinds of things are much easier to explain and to show the benefit to the customer when they are able to see it and touch it, as opposed to maybe read about it, or maybe see it in a thirty second ad,” said O’Brien.

O’Brian says event sponsorships are about more than just marketing their vehicles. It’s also about being a part of the communities where they have operations.

“Obviously ever dollar needs to be spent wisely in today’s environment. So what we attempt to do is invest that in our communities, where we can see not only a return on our investment, but also get involved with local communities.”


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