Advertising & Sponsorship

Note:This policy is a draft version only. Statements made in this document are subject to revision.

Policy Statement

McMaster University recognizes that there are many opportunities and potential benefits to be gained by the University from commercial advertising and sponsorship initiatives. Likewise, access to the University's community is a valuable commodity to advertisers. In keeping with the criteria outlined within this policy, the University supports, in principle, advertising and sponsorship initiatives that generate revenue to support University programs and services and offset related costs, or fund those that otherwise would not be affordable.


For purposes of this policy the following definitions shall apply:

Paid Advertising
The sale to external businesses and/or organizations of advertising space on University property or materials, or at events in conjunction with a University program. Rates are determined or agreed to by the University. In some cases the sale will be co-ordinated by a third party outside agency e.g. advertising agency. In this instance, the University retains the right for approval of all related materials but does not incur related costs. The purchase of advertising space does not imply that the advertiser is entitled to any additional benefits from the University other than those accruing from access to the space purchased.

A mutually beneficial business arrangement between the University and an external organization, company or enterprise where the external organization contributes funds, goods or services-in-kind to a University program, event or activity in return for acknowledgement, recognition or other promotional consideration related to the program, event or activity.

University Property
All University-owned property including all land, buildings, vehicles, play fields, signage units, facilities and equipment, etc. If you need clarification, contact Jayne Johnston.

University Publication
Any publication, including all media, produced by or for McMaster University.

University Event or Program
Any activity organized by University representatives and supported by the University Board of Governors, Senate, Senior Management, and/or other senior University officials.


Advertising and Sponsorship Policy

McMaster University permits in principle commercial advertising and sponsorships on University property, at University events and in University publications under the conditions outlined in this policy.


The purposes of the advertising and sponsorship policy are as follows:

  1. to confirm the University's interest in pursuing related initiatives;
  2. to define the types of advertising and sponsorship opportunities that McMaster University will accept to ensure that standards are consistent and that the University's reputation and public image are positively maintained;
  3. to serve as a guideline for determining any or all appropriate advertising or sponsorships to take place by, or for, the University;
  4. to ensure consistency in decisions to accept or decline related requests;
  5. to encourage partnerships with external agencies that will permit mutual benefits by an association;
  6. to reflect and support the guiding principles and objectives of the McMaster University Academic Plan; and
  7. to ensure that complete and appropriate records are maintained;
  8. to confirm staff roles for approving advertising and sponsorship initiatives with the University.


This policy applies to all paid advertising and sponsorship recognition of individuals or organizations on University property, at University events and in University publications. The advertisement of a product or service does not act as the University's endorsement of any such product or service over another.

McMaster University does not offer a preferred supplier policy for advertising or sponsorships.

The Director of Public and Government Relations or designate is responsible for reviewing and approving all advertising and sponsorship initiatives for the University as a whole. Site specific approvals are addressed below.

This policy does not address the issue of advertising on the McMaster University website. It is suggested that resources do not currently exist to implement and manage this additional element of the website. As well, advertising on the website should be considered as part of an overall strategic plan for the website which will be pursued at a future date.


General Requirements

The following subject matters will not be permitted in McMaster University advertising or sponsorship initiatives:

  • religious or political messages
  • promotion of a political party or election candidate beyond that of elected University offices
  • promotion of tobacco use
  • promotion of any form of substance abuse
  • real estate
  • demeaning or derogatory portrayals of individuals or groups which through general prevailing community standards may beconsidered offensive
  • sensitive to message delivery including depiction of sexually suggestive material
  • alcohol advertising will not be permitted at events or in publications that are geared specifically to children or youth
  • fundraising advertisements or sponsorships for any initiative not directly associated with McMaster University
  • advertisements or sponsorships from any other educational institution, particularly those that offer competitive programs


All advertising and sponsorship initiatives must meet the standards of the Canadian Advertising Standards Council (see Attachment 1). In addition, all federal, provincial, municipal and university association restrictions on advertising will be observed at McMaster University.

Advertising or sponsorship on University property must have no adverse affect on public safety and must minimize University liability.

Advertising or sponsorships in conflict with any University policy or procedure will not be accepted for display on any University property.

Revenues generated from the sale of advertising are identified in the University's financial statement. Proceeds from advertising sales are designated to activities and projects that benefit the learning environment of the University.


Requirements of the Advertiser/Sponsor

Advertisers and sponsors will be required to co-ordinate the following with the Director of Public and Government Relations or designate:

  • enter into appropriate legal agreements with the University
  • seek approval of the University name and/or logo for use in advertising or sponsorship materials
  • adhere to visual identity guidelines as provided by McMaster University
  • provide print or electronic proofs of all related materials at least two weeks prior to starting production
  • ensure that all advertising proposals intended for use on University property or in University publications receive written approval
  • ensure that all proposed advertising or sponsorship materials provide a clear benefit to the University and community at large
  • adhere to all other University policies and procedures as well as municipal by-laws and policies as appropriate
  • assume responsibility for all related costs of program materials and services (e.g. advertisement design, production, installation, removal, etc.)
  • restoration of University property utilized by advertisers or sponsors to their original state if disturbed in any way as a result of the advertising/sponsorship activity



Requirements of University Representatives

The Director of Public and Government Relations or designate will co-ordinate communications with other University representatives as necessary and be required to:

  • approve use of the University name and/or logo for use in advertising or sponsorship materials as appropriate
  • sign off on all advertising proposals approved for use on University property or in University publications as appropriate
  • ensure that advertising/sponsorship proposals meet the standards and criteria outlined in this policy
  • ensure that advertising/sponsorship proposals comply with other policies and procedures of the University as well as by-laws and policies of the municipality
  • ensure appropriate approvals are obtained as required
  • ensure proof of appropriate insurance and indemnification of the University has been received
  • ensure required permits are obtained
  • any exclusivity clauses within negotiated contracts with advertisers/sponsors must be shared by the administrative officers signing the contract on behalf of the University with the Director of Public and Government Relations or designate



Site Specific Requirements

Streetscapes and Open Spaces
Advertising/sponsorship may be considered as part of the University streetscape and open spaces on such elements as recycling and garbage containers, benches, fountains, gardens, portable signage units, etc. In this situation the advertising/sponsorship proposal must:

  • ensure that the advertising/device contributes to the quality and integrity of the streetscape and is in keeping with the character of existing streetscape guidelines and design objectives
  • blend into the area's aesthetics and not dominate the space
  • promote the provision of public information
  • ensure that advertisements or related devices do not obstruct vehicular, cycling or pedestrian traffic or sight lines
  • ensure that advertisements or related devices do not obstruct University building and directional signage
  • University-owned Vehicles
  • Paid advertising will be considered on University-owned vehicles as approved co-operatively by the Director of Physical Plant and the Director of Public and Government Relations or their respective designates.
  • Bus Shelters
  • Bus shelters on campus are the jurisdiction of the Hamilton Street Railway and the City of Hamilton and are therefore not the direct responsibility or property of McMaster University.


University Facilities and Equipment
The director most responsible for the facility (e.g. play fields) or for any piece of equipment required for the specific facility, will approve, with input from staff, whether advertising will be permitted, the number and types of advertisements that will be accepted, and requirements specific to the facility or piece of equipment. All approvals will be made in accordance with this policy.

Each department and faculty, with input from staff, is responsible for determining which of its publications are suitable for carrying advertisements. Specific advertising proposals are approved by the head of the department or faculty for their respective publications. All advertising and related guidelines and standards will be in accordance with this policy.