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Men remember sports sponsorships. Women are more likely to buy a product from a sponsor of good causes. Affluent consumers notice sponsorships more, but mid-market viewers are more likely to buy products from a sponsor.

These are the top findings in a new global study by WPP Group's Mediaedge:cia on the benefits of sponsoring an event, cause, sporting contest or TV show.

The survey, conducted during the past month by the New York-based agency's MediaLab research division, polled 12,000 consumers in 18 countries—including 500 in the U.S.—by telephone and via the Internet. Respondents were asked how much they notice sponsorships, whether they are influenced by them and what their perceptions are about companies that do sponsorships.

Fifty-three percent of men said sports sponsorships strongly influence their buying habits, but only 26 percent of women felt the same. By contrast, nearly 70 percent of women said they would purchase a product based on its maker's sponsorship of good causes, compared to only 46 percent of men.

Age also plays a role. Slightly more than 40 percent of respondents ages 25-34 cited sports sponsorships as influencing purchases, and less than 35 percent in that age group said sponsors generally are a factor in buying decisions. Twenty-five percent of respondents 35-44 and 18 percent of those 45-55 said sponsorships are an influencing factor for them.

Income was also a differentiator. Half of the respondents in households with incomes of more than $50,000 were aware of specific sponsors. But mid-market households ($40,000-50,000) were most likely to act on that awareness, with more than 40 percent indicating they would purchase products in response to a sponsorship.

"People in the higher-income group, because they pay closer attention to who the sponsors are, tend to be more turned off by them as well," said Joe Abruzzo, Mediaedge:cia evp and director of media research.

In other countries, such as Mexico and Brazil, sponsorships were viewed more favorably than in the U.S., said Cynthia Evans, a senior partner at MediaLab, noting that consumers in those countries generally do not receive the same high level of exposure to marketing as U.S. consumers do.