With a panel comprised of two giants of Sports Sponsorship (Sam Rush of Wasserman and Andy Lulham of Betfair) plus two giants of music (Theo Gupta of Nokia Global and oh, me) the theme at this year's Think! Sponsorship conference was laid out; the opportunities and risks of brands working with ambassadors.
Sam Rush spoke passionately about how nothing can touch real people who are at the top of their game, whether it's sport or any other field, for connecting directly and personally with people. "We still want to dress, smell and drive the cars that our heroes do, nothing can touch this type of influence when it's done well".
I agree - particularly with music where the heroes in question are directly appealing to us at a very personal level. The main challenge is smart planning to ensure that the right artist is matched well with a brand or product, and that it plays out in a way that doesn't inspire the cynics to start shouting.
All this in a week when the Guardian ran a rather overly cynical piece crying out for bands to stop licensing music to TV ads with the age old put down that they are selling out and tainting their music. Thankfully shouty man of poetry Henry Rollins was on hand to smack them down again. He's right I think, we're not stupid, and we don't just believe everything put in front of us.