New films aren’t the only products being screened at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. The festival also is showcasing a handful of new sponsors.

The Jan.19-29 festival has brought on seven new endemic and non-endemic partners:  Adobe Systems Inc.; Bacardi U.S.A., Inc.’s Grey Goose vodka; General Electric Co., Hilton Worldwide, Inc.; Sprint Nextel Corp., Yahoo!  Inc. and Unilever’s Bertolli frozen soup.

Katie Kennedy, Sundance’s director of corporate development, attributes the festival’s sponsorship success to the following three factors:

Flexibility in working with sponsors. As in years past, Sundance tries to accommodate sponsors’ needs by offering tailored sponsorship and activation programs. 

“We try to have a free flow of communication with our partners. We’re never going to do anything that will compromise the integrity of the festival, but we are willing to push boundries,” said Kennedy.

The festival’s willingness to push boundaries often leads to new activation platforms. For example, Yahoo is activating its new partnership by screening nine short films on Consumers can vote on their favorite film, with Yahoo awarding the winning filmmaker a $5,000 prize.

“We try to have a solution for everything, whether it’s aligning with content, accessing a venue on main street or sampling to affluent consumers. We don’t say yes to everything, but we rarely say no.”

Provide added-value benefits. Sundance this year expanded its year-old Festival Co-op program that offers sponsors a presence in a venue in downtown Park City, Utah. The festival launched the program to provide budget-challenged sponsors a presence in Park City’s highly-trafficked downtown area.

“The co-op gives sponsors a footprint on main street without having to pay exorbitant venue fees,” said Kennedy.

Companies with a presence in the Festival Co-op include Canon U.S.A., Inc., Hilton; The Timberland Co., and Yahoo!

Help enhance the consumer experience. Sundance also has seen success by creating activation programs that enhance the consumer experience.

Case in point: The Hewlett-Packard Co. this year is sponsoring the festival’s mobile phone app. The technology company is activating the tie by underwriting the app’s $4.99 cost.

“Hewlett-Packard’s sponsorship has allowed the app to be more accessible to a much larger audience,” said Kennedy.

The improving economy and large number of films picked up from the 2011 festival also have played a role in the festival’s success, she added.

“The halo we received helped keep our positive brand attributes in the conversation.”

Sponsor Activation At The 2012 Sundance Film Festival
Company Activation
Adobe Systems, Inc. Adobe aligned with the Sundance Film Festival to promote filmmaking software to young, up-and-coming filmmakers. The company is sponsoring Next, a film series that highlights new talent and independent filmmaking, as well as several sessions and workshops.
Bertolli Unilever brand is using Sundance to promote its five-month-old Bertolli Frozen Meal Soup line extension. The brand is sampling the product at the on-site Bertolli Meal Soup Chalet.
General Electric Co. Diversified services company is sponsoring Focus Forward, a program of three-to-five-minute films directed by high-profile filmmakers.
Grey Goose Bacardi U.S.A. brand is leveraging the film festival with Behind the Blue Door, an invite-only event. In addition to cocktails, the event features a screening of Iconoclasts, a TV show presented by Grey Goose Entertainment.
Hilton Worldwide Hotel chain is hosting private screenings and on-site activation programs on behalf of its Hilton Honors loyalty program.
Sprint Nextel Corp. The festival’s official telecommunications provider is providing Sundance with product and service. Sprint replaces T-Mobile USA, Inc.