The MARQUES conference in Malta is well underway. IPKat co-bloggie Jeremy reports:
* MARQUES chairman Tove Graulund, opening the event, spoke eloquently of the Maltese Cross (left), an early example of a bit of branding that has been in continuous use since the 11th century. The Maltese Cross can also be found cunningly worked into the conference logo (above, right).
* Tove also mentioned how MARQUES is growing. This year's event is hosting a record 600 or so participants, drawn from over 60 countries. The best-represented countries are the United Kingdom, Italy, Switzerland and - quite surprisingly - Russia. This is a sure sign that the Russian economy is based on more than oil, gas and vodka.
* Sponsorship has been analysed from pretty every angle imaginable, with lawyers, academics, sponsors and sponsorship targets all having their say. One thing is plain: there are quite a few people here who make very public statements that ambush marketing is an evil that cannot be dealt with severely enough, while privately stating that laws of the sort that have been drafted to protect Olympic sponsorship for London 2012 have gone way over the top and may be both anticompetitive or contrary to freedom of speech.
* Best piece of advice heard so far comes from Carl van Rooyen (an attorney with Spoor & Fisher and an expert on sharks and bottom-feeders): if you're a lawyer who is being asked to draft an event sponsorship agreement, attend an event first. That way, you'll have a much better idea of what can go wrong from a sponsoring brand-owner's view. It's difficult to visualise so many pitfalls in the abstract.
* Now for some lexicography: many speakers are now referring to the party in a sponsorship agreement who is not the sponsor as the spoonsoree; others refer to that party as the sponsee. Neither word is terribly pretty. Google gives around 37,000 hits to sponsee but just 10,400 to sponsoree, suggesting that the former is to be preferred.