Debbie Laskey, MBA

As another new year is about to dawn on January 1, many will gather along Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena, California – for 2012, on Monday, January 2. Pasadena is a quiet suburb of Los Angeles for the rest of the year, but every year since 1895, the eyes of the world have tuned in to Pasadena for the most famous parade in history. While a million people line Colorado Boulevard to watch the floral floats, bands and marchers, and equestrians in person, an estimated 40 million watch on television or via the Internet from 220 countries or territories outside the United States.

While the attraction is the two-hour parade, that’s just the tip of the marketing iceberg. There’s the Rose Bowl Game, which since 1902, takes place after the parade and pits the Big Ten against the Pac-12. There are the Rose Parade Grand Marshall, the Rose Queen and her royal court. But above all, the most memorable aspect of the Rose Parade brand is the attention paid to the city of Pasadena and Southern California.

When winter causes freezing temperatures, snow, and ice throughout the rest of the United States, viewers tune in to Pasadena (often seeing parade watchers dressed in shorts and sandals) with sunny blue skies and temperatures between 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit. A common joke is that every year on January 2, the largest influx of people move to Southern California – as a result of watching the Rose Parade and seeing so many people enjoying the warm weather.

But back to the power of the Rose Parade brand…how often have you seen or smelled roses and immediately thought about the Rose Parade? How often have you thought about New Year’s Eve and then thought about what you wanted to see on TV the next morning? There is no question why the Rose Parade’s nickname is “America’s New Year Celebration.” Official parade sponsors include Honda, VIZIO, American Airlines, Avis, Bayer, Coca-Cola, Farmers Insurance, FTD, Hewlett-Packard, Passion Growers, Prime Sport, Sharp Seating Company, Taco Bell, and Wells Fargo Bank. If you haven’t seen these companies or brands recently, get ready for an advertising blitz.

Companies that sponsor the annual event understand the value of their partnership with the Rose Parade and also wish to be associated with a new year, new beginnings, the salute to community spirit, and the parade’s theme. For 2012, the theme is “Just Imagine.”

If you were one of the official sponsors, how would you align your brand’s core attributes with the 2012 parade’s theme?

For more about the Rose Parade and an event countdown, click here.