Recognizing the Local Sponsor

There are additional considerations when using the PBS brand(s) and/or your station co-brand in conjunction with the brand or logo of your local underwriters.

Sponsorship packages vary widely across the system in terms of off-air/value-added components and so do the nature of the relationship between the local underwriter and the station. As such, it’s best to approach each creative execution for an off-air local sponsorship credit on a case by case basis.

Most importantly, any print materials developed to promote the relationship between a local sponsor and your station should use the best creative possible to clearly communicate the nature of the relationship and compel your viewers and members to actively engage with your station and, by association, with your local sponsor(s).

Print materials are just some of the tools by which your station can achieve a mutual win, communicating and reinforcing your value within the community and maximizing your sponsors’ financial investment(s) in your station.  As you know, sometimes you only have a few seconds to grab the consumer’s attention and draw them in—so consider a creative concept that is compelling and interesting!

In addition to recognizing your sponsors, you may want to make the most of your creative efforts by producing materials that reinforce what your audience values about you and, by association, your sponsors.  To that end, consider creative that:

  • Drives tune-in (or active participation with the station, as the case may be): increased viewership leads to increased membership, which drives mid-level giving, which drives major giving and so on across the giving continuum. Increased viewership also brings increased exposure for your local underwriters, which drives underwriting renewals and increased participation and support from your corporate sponsors.
  • Communicates the value of your station and the services you provide: be sure your value statement reflects values important to your audience (as opposed to your station, although hopefully they are one in the same);  be consistent with other mission-, vision- and value-based communications coming out of your station.
  • Communicates the relationship between your station and the sponsor, and acknowledge your sponsor(s) appropriately: use copy that clarifies the sponsor’s relationship to the station, to PBS and when appropriate, to a specific program or event. For example:

If Company A is the local sponsor of DANIEL TIGER’S NEIGHBORHOOD, it should be clear in a print ad or on a sign that Company A sponsors the local broadcast of the PBS KIDS program DANIEL TIGER’S NEIGHBORHOOD on WXYZ (as opposed to the national PBS KIDS program itself). In this case, the support from a local sponsor goes to the station, not to the national production, and this should be accurately represented in your printed materials, especially if the national sponsor is also acknowledged (see below). 

  • Clearly distinguishes between editorial and sponsor recognition: in the spirit of the editorial and perception tests that exist for on-air and online guidelines, sponsor logos should be visually separate from any editorial content. Sponsor logos should be identified with “Sponsored by” or “Brought to you by” text, positioned immediately above or to the left of the sponsor’s logo.
  • Clearly communicates the different between local and national sponsorship: in cases where a local underwriter is sponsoring the local broadcast of a nationally-distributed program that has national sponsors attached, there are some additional considerations. National sponsors should be acknowledged whenever possible, as space allows; contact PBS (see Contact Us) for guidance and to obtain the correct version of the national sponsor’s logo if necessary.  If you are using an ad shell provided by PBS that acknowledges a national sponsor within its design, the national sponsor’s logo should not be removed. On print materials where both the national and local sponsors are acknowledged, the copy around the respective sponsor logos should be used to make the distinction between them. Consider:
    • “Local funding provided by” [local sponsor logo]
    • “National (or Production) funding provided by” [national sponsor logo]

For specific guidelines regarding logo size, color, fonts, and general brand environment for the PBS family of brands, please consult the PBS Brand Guide. Also, make sure that your design team follows any specific logo guidelines issued by the sponsor organization.