Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Are you experienced?

Summer has finally arrived after months of the usual anticipation… Spring Racing Carnival , the arrival of daylight saving and watching your gym start to burst at the seams with that mad dash for the bikini body.
Tis indeed the season for being out and about and its one that opens up a raft of opportunities for brands to be ‘at one’ with their consumer. Have a look at Ticketmaster, Citysearch and the myriad of other event listing destinations and overwhelm yourself with things to get out of the house for, not to mention opportunities for your brand to bring out it’s best for.

A few quick ticket stats:
  • In 2007, Australians bought more than 20 million tickets on live concerts musicals and plays
  • More than 1 million aussies have been to a either a live concert or live sports event in the last 3 months… that’s rich pickings!
  • 40% of revenue generated from event sales comes from rock and pop concerts

These stats would suggest we are keener to pay for the live experience more than we have been before…
“Spending by Australians on live performance has grown YOY compared to declines in spending on recorded music”
Live Performance Australia Chief Executive; Evelyn Richardson


Media, as we all know is all about piggy backing on the right times and places for a brand to get amongst…
When it comes to the live experience or event, there are some truly inspiring examples of where brands have gone down the piggyback rider (sponsorship) path as well as where brands have clearly decided to create something where they get to play a starring role.

Red bull has made a rather impressive name for themselves with their bespoke and ‘energetic ‘events like the Red Bull Flugtag, where participants jump from a ramp in a do-it-yourself flying machine into a lake. The brand is bringing itself to life and communicating experientially that "Red Bull vitalizes the body and mind."

Moomba, held annually in Melbourne, is Australia’s largest free community festival and is a Yarra River waterfest to boot. The Birdman rally has an esteemed tradition a little like a local Red Bull Flugtag where crazy people who build a load of manmade flying set ups and then jump off a platform into water to see how far they make it before landing in the drink.
To launch itself as a new low cost car insurance operator in 2008, Bingle.com.au sponsored the Birdman Rally.

It’s quite simply a lovely fit to showcase themselves as a having a real Aussie sense of humour and appreciation for the ‘bingle’.

We’ve talked about these guys before but it’s worth a reminder - Innocent drinks in the UK.
They have a wonderful history for events that bring to life their values around all things to do with being natural
and importantly doing good.

This comes to life quite ‘fruitfully’ via The Innocent Village fete that they held this year in August in Regents Park. You could experience all the classics there: the coconut shy, ferret racing, morris dancing, pin the tail on the badger, a flea circus and of course the fruit smoothie tasting tent…
Importantly profits went to three charities bringing to life their commitment to doing good. Check out their website, their blog, their flickr page or Youtube to get a flavour of how big brands can think small.

The Rooftop Cinema in Melbourne ran a strange and memorable experience for one of their sponsors Mini last summer to encourage test drives of the new Clubman. The campaign idea centred around the thought that ‘normal’ has become like a virus infecting the nation but the ‘anything but normal’ Clubman can help solve this problem.

The Rooftop Cinema ran a couple of Zombie (i.e. virus like) film nights and handed out breathing masks to all the customers. As customers left they were provided with specially bottled remedies which had the details of the Safe Zone / test drive time and place and a promise that MINI had developed a cure for ‘Normal’ that could be administered to all who turned up… A weird and wonderfully playful campaign idea that saw both Mini and The Rooftop Cinema work their brands in together to build an intimate yet highly measurable campaign experience.

No doubt about it, the music festival can be a great opportunity for the more youth targeted brands to do their thang so here’s a couple of interesting examples:

Wrangler jeans piggy backed the Lowlands festival in the Netherlands to not only add a much wanted service to the scene but to get as many people wearing Wrangler as possible.

If you have ever been to a weekend festival and camped there you will be more than familiar with the handicap of your gear being sweat soaked and stinking with a day of festivities still to go! Wrangler set up a massive Laundromat where people could drop off their dirty laundry and when it was clean, they would receive a txt message to come and collect it. To add a dash of genius to this already smarty pants idea… they handed out black Wrangler overalls to anyone who used the Laundromat to wear whilst their duds were getting a good wash. Check out how it rolled: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQakGyUhSes

Telco brands and festivals are a cosy couple…
When Virgin Mobile wanted to create an experience at the Big Day Out they started with a great insight: There is nowhere to have a conversation on your mobile cause it’s so damned noisy.
They created ‘quiet booths’ for making phone calls that were not only visibly Virgin and pretty kooky but they were clearly being useful to the festival goers


Firstly it depends on what you want to your brand presence at events to actually do? Chances are if you are expecting to see a huge spike in sales straight after the event, you may be tad disappointed but it’s just like any other communication, know why you are there and have a benchmark for your expected success.

Having the client and agency teams working on the brand, being clear on what success should be about and have a strategy on how to measure the impact of the festival activity is a great start. Traditional tracking methods alone will not do the business so ensure you include a portion of the budget for measurement. And here’s a shameless plug for our OMD Insights team who have a whole raft of measurement approaches including mobile phones or PDAs and getting participants to keep diaries for longer running events such as sports sponsorship.

There’s no doubt that events offer a rich opportunity to get close to your consumer whether you create a bespoke experience or whether you piggy back on another event out there. For those brands that get this right, there are fantastic rewards so here’s a few thoughts to leave you with:

1. Make sure your brand has purpose and relevance at the event you’re choosing. Without purpose it can be a waste of time and money, not just for the advertiser but you could end up wasting consumers’ time, potentially leaving a bad brand taste in their mouth!

2. Remember to set a benchmark for success and to do this, you’ll likely need to think outside of traditional measurement

3. Ensure all stakeholders are involved in the planning process as events are at their most effective when they are built into an overall communication strategy. So don’t just see them as an ambient tack on, make them work hard for your brand by giving everyone a vested interest in the design of your brands next experience.

No comments: