May 05, 2010 at 05:21 PM
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Airline Exec Pleads For Better Proposals

When Emirates Airlines signed a £100 million partnership with the Arsenal in 2004, it was the largest sponsorship agreement ever seen in British football. While Emirates has continued to aggressively invest in sponsorship as it expands to new markets throughout the world, Senior Vice-President of Corporate Communications, Boutros Boutros believes industry reform is needed for the spending to keep pace with the expectations of properties.

"We have been receiving proposals for sponsorships with designations of sponsors' categories such as gold, silver and bronze," he revealed in a recent Emirates Business 24/7 article. "As a sponsor, I am not gratified by such offers, because at the end of the day my intention is to stand out and have a voice. Seeing my logo, however, along with 50 other logos of brands and companies does not serve my strategy to distinguish the name of my brand. I don't see any benefit."

What's the downside of sponsoring so aggressively? Everyone expects a piece of the action.

"People's expectations are so high that at a certain point it becomes unfair to the company," he said. "At the end of the day, we are a commercial company responsible for 38,000 employees. Our budget is limited and we have to ensure efficiency and achieve ROI."

Boutros said, as the company expands service to new countries like Spain, it will look to local sponsorships to support its market entry.

"Emirates is growing and will continue to grow, with five or six new destinations to be launched this year, and our sponsorships are alligned with our efforts to be in major markets where our target audience is, and to raise awareness of our brand in places we don't fly yet."

Closer to HQ in the UAE, the airline allocates its budget at a surprising 70:30 ratio of sponsorship:advertising he said.

Check out more of Boutros' thoughts on sponsorship reform at Emirates Business 24/7.