Event Sponsorship Done Differently

At every CreativeMornings I thank our sponsors while showing a slide. Mailchimp has been our NYC main sponsor for over a year now and it became a struggle to keep it fresh.

When I had Milton Glaser lined up to speak in january, I reached out to the fantastic folks at Mailchimp and asked them if they would be up for doing a custom slide dedicated to Milton, given his massive-crazy-rockstar status in the design world. Within minutes I saw a “YES! YES! YES!” in my inbox. Here’s what they sent:

Needless to say it got a big laugh. What I thought would just be a one-time-deal has now turned into one of my biggest highlights of every CreativeMornings. Four slides in, I can safely say Mailchimp has created a new way of doing event sponsorships. I have gotten comments this morning of attendees that they can’t wait to see what Mailchimp came up this time. Hat tip goes off to Aaron Robbs and his team for putting so much love into these and showing so much excitement for the idea. For those of you that read my blog it’s quite obvious that I am a big fan of Mailchimp. I find it wonderful that the founder, Ben Chestnut, let’s his designers experiment and spend a significant amount of time on these custom slides. Some people might argue it’s a waste of money and that there’s no real ROI… (yawn).

I strongly believe that by turning event sponsorship into something people look forward to see, injecting it with humor and good design, while not actually talking about your services and offerings, is the new way to go. Get people excited about your company and overall philosophy and the rest will follow. After all they managed to turn sending newsletters into something I truly enjoy. Just take their site: It’s beautifully designed and greets you with humor every time you log in. My favorite part is where the chimp talks to you and say’s things like: “Tina, aren’t you a breath of fresh air?”

Here’s what Aaron Robbs said on the process of coming up with these slides:

Playing on work these speakers have already done would be an easy route–but I look for something less obvious to latch on to. Christoph Niemann had a blog entry illustrating his history with coffee, and I finally thought to myself, “There must be magical juice in his latte.” But I probably wouldn’t have gotten to that moment without pouring over his work, going to craft stores, painting eggs and making fruit out of Play Doh first.

MailChimp really gets behind creative thinking, and they put a lot of trust in the people they hire to do a great job. So it’s really rewarding to be able to fully explore an idea and know that everyone is going to get behind it….even if it’s weird. And since all of my design work is for MailChimp these days, it’s nice to think of these speakers as new design clients. These slides keep me sharp. And they’re super fun.

Here’s the rest of the slides: Debbie Millman:

Ji Lee, of Google Labs spoke in March:

And just this morning, we had Berlin based Christoph Niemann speak. I nearly fell off my chair laughing when I saw this slide last night:

I hope that Mailchimp’s unusual approach to event sponsorship will have a ripple effect and that we will see more companies dare to experiment. As Christoph Niemann said in his talk this morning: “In order to have creativity, you have to allow for dead ends to happen.” Mailchimp is leading by example.

(And no, Mailchimp did not pay me for this post!)

19 Comments leave a comment below

  1. love this! go Aaron. We <3 Mailchimp!!

  2. Best customer service around. They even sent me a hug on Twitter. Love them.

  3. Everything mailchimp does all the time is awesome. They get the awesome award of awesomeness on the internet.

  4. As if I needed another reason to LOVE Mailchimp! High Five!

  5. nice aaron, et al

  6. I specifically chose Mailchimp because of your recommendation, Tina, and I have been very happy with their service.

    The fact that they are willing to sponsor and support your endeavors will keep me supporting them.

  7. That’s some good stuff. Love them all. It’s *smart* and funny which is nice to see.

  8. I hereby ‘LIKE’ this post, and ‘LOVE’ Mailchimp! <3

  9. You know you’re doing something right when sponsors elevate the event with something other than their money.

  10. I love this!

  11. LOVE this! What a cracking idea!

  12. i probably won’t have heard about mailchimp without you, or at least not taken the recommendation so easily.

    With clients i work with constant contact and i am not a fan. My wife works for a non profit and they have no marketing department. Well 1 person if you count me. So I set them up with mailchimp recently and they love it. Now they can track the emails they send out.They look awesome instead of their previous way (text in an email mass emailed) so people actually want to read them. As soon as they send a message they are glued to the screen watching the stats and are so happy.

    Great company. Love that it is free since otherwise i don’t know if we could afford it and that they don’t skimp. I do wish i could access some of the fancier templates and options, but I make do with what we have. I know there is a 15% discount for non profits but it would be great if it was even more or could be based on size of organization. I do all of my work pro bono for them, and they only have 3 employees, any money that goes to marketing is money that doesn’t feed senior citizens.

  13. Wow, the designs are so clever & fun – The bestest!

  14. A word cloud of all the comments above would probably look something like this: “LOVE, AWESOME, NICE” – and I can only agree to that summary.

  15. Love the Christoph Niemann slide!

  16. Wow you guys are so creative! Got a great laugh.

  17. Great concept for sponsorship and hilarious slides!

  18. Right away I am ready to do my breakfast, later than having my breakfast coming yet again to
    read more news.