Sesame Workshop ups Corporate Partnerships exec
Anita Stewart has been promoted at nonprofit educational organization Sesame Workshop to the role of senior vice president of corporate partnerships, according to Kids Today
Reporting directly to Chief of Staff Myung Kang-Huneke, Stewart is charged with developing and securing strategic corporate alliances and sponsorship programs for the New York-based company’s most notable children’s series, "Sesame Street."
These corporate alliances will also assist with co-production efforts throughout the world in places like Brazil, China, South Africa, Mexico, Nigeria and India.
Stewart also oversees corporate funding for domestic and international community outreach partnerships including Healthy Habits for Life, Sesame’s STEM initiative and a new global road safety initiative.
In particular, she plans to focus on developing innovative new multimedia, multinational corporate partnerships that leverage all media, mobile and digital platforms to deliver the educational messaging that Sesame Workshop provides to children and families all over the world.
Sesame Workshop, formerly known as the Children’s Television Workshop, produces several educational children’s programs that have run on public broadcasting around the world, including PBS in the United States.
Generally speaking, Sesame Workshop
’s goals are to meet those unmet needs for under-served children and communities and trying to find a common ground on which to provide educational information for them, Stewart told WinmoEdge.
The organization is a unique one in that it produces in-house research from PhD’s and experts regarding child development in an effort to create programs and then select partners that Sesame Workshop would work with to carry out those platforms.
“One of the things that differentiates us and is interesting about the way we work, especially with sponsorships and corporate foundations, is that we’re able to look at it from a marketing and CSR (corporate social responsibility) perspective,” Stewart said. “Our mission is education and we can work in that area like nobody else can. We look at what we need to do from a mission perspective – nationally and globally – for preschoolers, which is important because it’s when they’re forming habits.”
One example of a corporate partnership that Stewart has secured is one with PNC Bank, a company that has made a commitment to early childhood education. In line with this undertaking, Sesame Workshop has aligned with this financial institution to disseminate valuable information about learning, reading, math and other subjects to under-served communities.
Another similar partnership involved Merck and United Healthcare, which helped Sesame Workshop to develop an outreach program called Sesame Street Food for Thought: Eating Well on a Budget.
The Electric Company is another such partner, Stewart said, which helps heighten awareness of major literacy issues. The company uses media like on-air, mobile and online to reach Sesame Workshop’s core demographic of moms and their children – typically three- to five- and six-year-olds.
“Our online, digital and mobile is a major emphasis for us because just as we took television 40 years ago, mobile is becoming equally as important, especially in developing countries,” she said. “From an educational delivery point-of-view, as well as a communications point-of-view, social media is important since many companies are looking for ways to connect with their consumers.”
In addition to its online efforts, Sesame Workshop also participates in speaking engagements; networks with companies directly; works with advertising agencies; and puts a heavy emphasis on public relations outreach.
“My role is finding the right people to help fund, whether it’s the on-air show in the U.S. or overseas, because we couldn’t bring this show to children if we didn’t have sponsors like PNC, United Healthcare and Beaches Resorts,” Stewart said. “We also do co-productions globally throughout the world in India, Bangladesh, Brazil; so we look for partners who work with us in those countries.”
Sesame Workshop’s advertising agencies change, and in many cases, our source said that the organization will work directly with its partners’ designated firms, for example, PNC works with Deutsch ergo Sesame Workshop will work with Deutsch on partnership programs. Depending on the clients, Stewart said that Sesame Workshop partners with agencies in general, especially those that have clients that relate to its core demographic.
She described Sesame Workshop’s partnership roster as a mixed bag, but said that entities of particular interest include mobile phone providers, carriers and other mobile-related businesses that can assist with distributing educational information via cellular phones and mobile devices.
“So many companies really like to work with us because Sesame is a trusted, well-known brand,” Stewart said. “Moms really have the highest regard for Sesame. Once you have that association, now, from a marketing point-of-view, this is where sales come in since they can’t run a promotional product on air. It’s a sponsorship message that tells the audience the company cares about kids. It’s reaching that mom in a very relationship-oriented way.”
According to The List database, Minneapolis-based mono has handled Sesame Workshop’s creative efforts since 2005, and New York-based FerenComm handles its public relations efforts.
The Nielsen Company reported that Sesame Workshop spent about $330,000 on measured media in 2009. About $290,000 was spent on Internet ads, about $30,000 was spent on B-to-B initiatives and about $6,000 was spent on local newspaper ads.
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