I like to think that I'm pretty fireproof when it comes to advertising and sponsorship. I don't tend to fall for it. In fact I usually sneer at it.
So how to explain the fact that I'm sitting at my desk looking quizzically at a box containing a webcam that I've just bought? Admittedly, it was the cheapest webcam in the shop but it's still a webcam – a product I have heretofore never had the slightest desire to own. What's more, when I bring it home tonight it will not be greeted with enthusiasm. In fact, I think it is fair to say that I could bring home a prostitute tonight and get only marginally more grief as a result.
So why did I buy it? Answer, because it was manufactured by Trust. And Trust is the Dutch company that has dipped into its pockets and provided the cash necessary for the survival of my favourite Formula One team, Minardi. Without the open wallet of Trust's CEO Michel Perridon, and his desire to provide the best for Dutch driver Jos Verstappen, Minardi would have folded earlier this season. This was the first time I have ever seen a Trust product on a shop shelf. It was cheap. So I bought it. I'm just lucky Trust makes computer peripherals and not, say, cosmetics or I'd have a bagful of eyeliner under my desk now…
So now I've done my bit to say “thank you” and justify Perridon's investment through increased sales of his products. Which is all well and good, but I've also given in to the commercial imperative of sponsorship by so doing. And on top of that I've got to work out how to break the news to