Car Dealers – Is Business Sponsorship a Cynical Promotional Tool?

Recently, I received a promotional newsletter for a local car dealer that had a particularly large article about a charity fundraising event they had sponsored. It got me thinking about the nature of business sponsorship and whether the benefits of having a car dealer backing a charity actually outweighs the feeling that this was simply just a cynical promotional tool.I thought back to other similar newsletters I have received over the past months. Indeed, as I recall, each one did mention some kind of event that the dealer had helped. Now, I am all for businesses supporting local charities, but for some reason, I tend to have a more sceptical attitude when it comes to car dealers and their own motivations. Is the concept of a dealership promoting their links in the community, whether it is supporting the local hospital care ward or some other kind of organisation, fundamentally wrong? Call me old fashioned, but I always believed that benefactors should remain mysterious.Being recognised as a business that puts something back into a community is never exactly going to hurt your reputation, or indeed, your sales. That extra bit of advertising in the local press associating the company with good deeds and a caring nature is certainly an ingenious marketing strategy. “Look how much we care! You can definitely trust us!” are the unsubtle sentiments gushing out throughout these advertisements-passed-off-as-articles.But for all my cynicism, I’m actually glad that I saw these articles. The mere fact that any business, whether for selfish reasons or not, is willing to provide any level of support to a local charity, must still be applauded. I say this now without any irony: give them their extra bit of acclaim; let the world know of their generous ways. In my eyes, it’s a small price to pay to get a business to give something back into the community – because businesses such as car dealers are in a position to genuinely help.For all my cynicism, I believe that your car dealer is an important part of any local community, more so than many other businesses. It provides a valuable service that is not just required but desired by people everywhere, and as such has a high enough place in the community hierarchy to warrant listening to. If a large international brand were to sponsor a charity, would I care? Probably not. So the next time I hear that a car dealer is sponsoring a charity fun day, I’ll try not to be so annoyed. In the long run, it’ll be worth it.