Airports in Europe are half empty, flights half full and you can name your price for hotel rooms. Indeed, for the first time in the more than 30 years I’ve been coming to Florence, there was no line to get into the Uffizi Gallery. The impact of the global economic crises on tourism here—and all the businesses it touches—is devastating. Yet, live events are selling out. From Art Basel and Moto GP Mugello to Glastonbury and Venice Biennale, we are seeing full houses.
And, despite all the risks, this summer sees a record number of festivals in Europe. The major form of entertainment from the Middle Ages right up to the 19th century, festivals’ content has changed—less jousting more rock—but the appeal of a shared live experience with a slew of people remains.
While music is the overall attractor, an increasing number of European festivals are adding more, harkening back to traditional fairs that had theater, jesters, debates and sideshows. Take Latitude. In addition to four music stages, there’s poetry, literature, comedy, cabaret, theater and film at the four-year-old event in Suffolk, England launched by Festival Republic—producer of Reading and Leeds and co-owner of Glastonbury. more
Watching the German telecast of the French Open here in Italy, ads for Longines watches touted the amazing work of the Andre Agassi Foundation. A revealing twist to standard endorsements, Longines creative saluted the accomplishments of Andre’s foundation rather than Andre singing the praises of Longines. Tying to substance rather than pure celebrity hits the spot in these more modest times (see my previous post on The New Modesty).
And in a world of product parity in most every category—plus rampant commercialization—the most valuable assets of sponsorships and endorsements are morphing. For example, the implied endorsement of official product status used to have far more value than it does now. Directionally, the value’s in the audience affinity and the story that can be told.
In these much reduced times, when frugality and humility have replaced bling and hype, sponsor badging is so yesterday. It’s a tough time for traditional media but a good time for creativity.
Sponsorship—which offers marketers the opportunity to blend artistry and business, ethics and efficacy—is thriving, despite continued economic turbulence, at companies with the ability to make the leap from signage and visibility to stories and engagement. The question sponsors need to ask now is not how much media will this generate for my brand but rather what can my brand add to this event. more
Because government support traditionally has been so high, arts organizations throughout Europe have rarely devoted resources to building robust private sector partnerships. European sponsors say proposals from arts groups typically read more like grant requests than marketing opportunities. more
With the IOC Evaluation Commission arriving in Chicago today, Fox Chicago examined the topic of Olympic sponsorship during its primetime newscast last night... more
With sold-out attendance and a full exhibit hall, the first Sportaccord conference to take place in the U.S. was seemingly unaffected by the economy. Held last week in Denver and produced under the auspices of the General Assn. of Int’l Sports Federations (AGFIS), the Assn. of Summer Olympic Int’l Federations (ASOIF), and the Assn. of Int’l Olympic Winter Sports Federations (AIOWF), it draws the heads of sports federations, Olympic bid committees and scores of vendors with products and services for them. more
In the last keynote address of the day, Carlsberg’s Keld Strudahl explained why the company uses soccer as its core sponsorship platform. more