Heidi Hensley got my attention with her plan to offset the (inevitable) losses from her first national tour by offering local businesses the opportunity to sponsor her tour. The challenge whenever you’re talking about sponsorships is that you have to find a tremendous value to offer the business in exchange for their check. Guaranteeing a number of eyeballs will usually do it.
So Heidi invented the Jam Wagon (originally it was going to be a Jam Van until she ponied up her own VW Passat to get the support of a local dealer).
But what good does a logo on a car do you if you’re a local business? It’s not like someone in Burlington, Vermont is going to drive to Athens to buy shoes. So Heidi pulled out the big guns and talked the folks at the local morning show (who’s been spinning her record) into making the tour a recurring “bit.” Heidi’s going to be calling in from each of the tour stops and mentioning one of the flagship sponsors each time.
Win-win-win. Station gets compelling programming and the image of supporting local music without having to upset the rotation with an unfamiliar record. Sponsors get airtime on the station, and peripheral press attention. And the car gets parked at the entrance to Heidi’s well-attended kickoff gig (200 draw, yo!) and her even-better attended homecoming gig in August.0