Memory for Sponsorship Relationships: A Critical Juncture in Thinking


  • The authors thank the Australian Research Council DP0772168 for funding of the research and Tony Meenaghan for many insightful comments.

Correspondence regarding this article should be sent to: T. Bettina Cornwell, Lundquist College of Business 1208 University of Oregon, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon 97403 (


Marketing communications that utilize partnerships between a brand or corporation and a sport, art, or community activity are thoroughly integrated into our understanding of business behavior. Despite the ubiquity of sponsorship relationships as the bases of communication platforms, we still do not understand fully how they work when successful, and how they do not work when they fail. Memory is important to the communication function of all sponsorships and a strategic objective of many. Thus, we explore memory for sponsorship relationships. The aim is to codify our progress to date in measuring memory-related sponsorship outcomes, to identify where shortcomings in our understanding remain and to move toward more complete and explanatory models of sponsorship effects. Topics discussed include: memory as a measure of sponsorship success, strong and weak memory objectives, implicit and explicit memory, interference from competitors, strategic encoding processes, cueing memory retrieval, redefining memories, and enhancing memory for sponsorship relationships.