The programme profile, listening audience profile and time
The post-event coverage falls under the purview of journalism and usually the event organizer has little control over it and that’s precisely why even a failure can get reported. Decision-making on using the print media essentially revolves around the variety of publications available, their circulation, the frequency of publication, whether weekly/daily/morning/evening, and the profile of readers. A decision to use a particular newspaper or magazine or a combination of the same will normally depend on the objective to be achieved from the event.
For regular festivals and other most popular events most newspapers and magazines usually plan special supplements, pages or cutouts. Some examples of event specific issues in the recent past are St. Valentine’s Day, Holi, Diwali, the 50th year of India’s Independence and the 1998 World Cup Soccer held in France. Such event specific issues are good because of two reasons: (i) Special rates for advertising are charged for insertions in such issues (ii) The state of readiness of the audience is an added bonus since they are prepared and anticipate such issues. And the fact that they look forward to such issues for more information provides more focused reach for the event Radio:This is an electronic audio media and is mainly used for pre-event publicity, though it can also have an importance in terms of post-event coverage planned accordingly. The programme profile, listening audience profile and time slots for airing the commercials are the major decision making criteria.
The need to create a jingle or put together an appealing audio promotion may be expensive and thus this media needs to be understood better as to how and when it is beneficial to use it. Special programmers with the event as focus and which are more than just a commercial are more helpful in providing the reach that is desired for the event though they may be expensive. For example, the winner of the recently held L’Oreal Femina Elite Model Look 1998 featured live on a programme sponsored by L’Oreal on the FM channel though not a full-fledged programme on the event, the script for the host was modified as to thread together an interview with the winner, Ms. Carol Gracias as part of the fillers during the programme. Live telephone calls congratulating Carol were also aired on the programme. Television:For events, the television media can be the single most potent media since it can provide pre-event, during event and post-event coverage. Depending on the reach desired, either satellite channels or the government controlled terrestrial channels can be used.
The singularly most important feature that television as a media offers is the ability to cover events live i.e., during the event itself. The immense popularity of competitive events and especially sports are derived from this factor. Unlike the print media that comes out with special supplements, satellite television offers dedicated channels for music, sports, news, etc.
This again provides an opportunity to narrow down the reach to focus on the audience for the particular event category. Timing and frequency of airing the promotions are very crucial. An event such as a multi-city (focusing only on the metros) concert tour of a pop music band would not prefer DDI but prefer to promote and tie-up with an exclusive music channel for all its promotions and event coverage. This provides a focused approach to the event. Slotting the promotions after checking on the TRP rating of programmes and their nature would help in positioning the event to the proper target audience. Music concerts invariably have one of the numerous music channels as an exclusive media sponsor. The Coca-Cola Alisha Chinai Concert Tour, organized by UNIRAPPORT events, used the television medium extensively to promote the event. Slick promotions were aired on MTV.
The Internet:Multimedia in its generic form is a term that deals with more than one media at the same time. It offers unlimited opportunities as it integrates the print, audio and video media. An Internet site can be anything from a plain web page to a site that offers audio and video experience.
Developments in technology on the e-commerce front have added an entirely brand new angle to the concept of Internet and how it can be used for leveraging an event. The Internet is now extensively used in events for: (i) Online registration for events (ii) Dispensing information – both pre and post-event, in the form of databases (iii) Carrying out complex analyses of information obtained (iv) Providing e-commerce related opportunities Computer games or simulations that evolve out of an event can be offered on sites to add to the experiences of the target audience who surf the net for information on the event. Sponsors’ advertisements with links to their sites are displayed on the site. An advantage of using Internet sites for reaching out to the target audience is that it allows the recording of the number of hits i.e., people visiting the site. Adding to this is the possibility of instantaneous information (as against data) collection as well as instant merchandising through e-commerce helping in impulse buying.
For example, the official site of the 2000 Sydney Olympics carried banner ads from its sponsors. The names of the sponsors have been listed in Exhibit 2.3.
The home page of this site carried banner ads of IBM for its e-business practice and identified IBM as the worldwide partner for the Olympics. The other main pages also alternatively carried IBM and Sports Illustrated Kids offered 1 free issue for clicking. The Olympic Travel and Travel and ads also were featured on the main pages in a smaller size. The kids section also carried ads in a side column of Bank of Melbourne (Challenge Bank) supported by IBM and The Sydney Morning Herald.
The bottom banner advertised a speed-o-matic game inviting people to click on the add. The SI Kids (Sports Illustrated Kids) site popped up when one clicked on this enticing game. The e-commerce shop on the Olympic web-site supported Visa transactions, and surfers were offered an opportunity to shop for Olympic goodies, memorabilia and collectibles. For subscribing to the Olympic Newsletter by providing their email addresses, surfers were forfeited a chance to win a free pin.
Hewlett Packard – the official computer and support system provider for the web-site and the information systems for the 1998 World Cup soccer in France back in 1998, and the official host of the domain for the World Cup Football-provided online coverage as well as history, statistics and a million statistical data on World Cup matches as well as details on the players and their backgrounds at the fingertips of the web surfer. All official publicity material for the World Cup carried the Internet site address and this site played host to all the other official sponsors and was expected to generate 10 – 20 million hits per day during the football mania. It was expected to provide accreditation and other facilities to 12000 staff, players and officials. It was also expected to provide access to 10,000 journalists. The solution required almost 75 different HP products to be used. The age of the mega-events, which can be handled without any hassles, had arrived. The numerous Internet sites that mushroomed to cover yet another extravaganza – the Cricket World Cup ’99 in England is also a testimony to the increasing popularity of the Internet to promote and at the same time reap benefits from events. Cable Network:The cable network is a medium and is most beneficial for a highly localized reach and coverage of events, growing rapidly in popularity.
The live as well as deferred coverage of the local Navratri Dandiya by the various cable networks is one of the most popular shows during the Dandiya season. Similarly, coverage of the processions during Ganeshotsav in Mumbai and Durga Puja in Calcutta are also very widely watched. The low rates for advertising on this media are also an incentive for event organizers to use cable networks extensively.
Decision-making involving networking with the cable channels is normally based on the localities that the channel covers and number of cable connected homes. Producing television promotions are a very costly proposition and given that the reach offered is tremendous, there are greater chances of the reach losing its significance. For example, for an event to be held locally in a metro with a limited capacity there is no point in promoting the event on DDI since these are channels that are accessible everywhere in India including the rural parts which is required. Over and above the focused reach the cable networks provide, more sponsor friendly as in letting the sponsor have a greater say in the programming as well as giving more time and more time slots for commercials. A ticker tape like ad-line that runs on the bottom of the television screen is just an example of how cable operators do the balancing act between the sponsor and their customers. The customers do not mind it so long as the service obtained is of a good quality. Outdoor Media:Very essential for pre-event publicity, these are short time span networking elements located at prominent sites usually earmarked for the same.
Prime locations, size and number of hoardings, posters and banners are the main decisions to be taken when planning outdoor media. Hoarding sites need to rent based on the rates which are again dependent on the site location, dimensions of the hoarding and whether these are lighted or not. Hoardings usually carry only broad event awareness messages and are designed for a relatively larger reach than banners and posters. These are usually few in number and far apart from each other. Best locations for hoardings are places where large masses of people are in transit i.e.
, locations such as along the highways, railway stations and railway lines. The fact that the audience is in transit ensures that the number of people who notice and are aware of the hoarding is large. Banners are designed and put up in and around the localities or places where the target audience can be found to either reside or gather in good numbers. Banners also carry general awareness information and may actually be a smaller replica of the hoardings and are repeated at shorter distances. They are therefore, more effective in catching the attention of the target audience. Posters are usually printed and stuck in areas where the target audience population assembles and carries greater details on the event. An advantage that posters offer is that they are not only easier to put up but also can be stuck or pinned up on notice boards or in other prominent locations where people cannot miss them.
Posters are directed at small groups of around 2 to 5 people at a time depending on the dimensions of the poster. Further to these, handouts are also printed and distributed lavishly to the target audience population directly either by hand or by delivering the event pamphlet through the local newspaper vendor directly to the homes or offices of the target audience. This becomes an almost one-to-one campaign. For example, Aptech regularly organizes events for 10th and 12th standard students after their board exams and uses a good number of hoardings, banners and posters around schools all over Mumbai to publicize the same. Direct Marketing, Sales Promotions, Audience Interaction:Used mainly for pre-event networking, schemes built on the foundation of the event are used to link merchandising opportunities with the event build up and popularity. Pre-event response sheets with contests and giveaways as incentives may be used to monitor the reactions and responses that the target audience is generating toward the event.
Such exercises help in gathering a fair idea as to the actual attendance that can be anticipated for the event. These also help in identifying changes in the networking mix or message if required. Public Relations:Unlike the paid media publicity, which is one hundred per cent under the control of the event organizers, reporting of the event is a purely journalistic activity and supposed to be devoid of any undue influence. Absolutely essential both pre and during the event, public relations activities are focused towards ensuring that a fair treatment is given to the event. These are also directed towards creating an atmosphere of harmony and an avenue for providing details on the event. If a major event is going to be organized, it is needless to say that it will interest several reporters at large papers as well as television news channels.
Therefore, it becomes essential that the PR activities be well planned. Press conferences, press releases, invites to events for impresarios are some means of networking for good public relations. PR also becomes very important in the event that controversies start dogging the show.
Though PR has traditionally been shrouded in post-event disaster containment or damage control, pro-active PR involves identifying and creating rapport with press reporters and networking with influencers so as to maintain a positive image of the event organizers over and above event specific PR activity. Merchandising:Events provide an opportunity for physical manifestation of concepts. Most popular parts of the concept can be created into products. These products are generated from the event and can be considered as a simultaneous launch for these specific products by default. Unlike free giveaways, such products actually have a commercial value and can be sold just like any other product. Event specific merchandising can be used for publicity before, during and after the event.
Sports based events have traditionally offered opportunities for successfully encashing on the merchandising opportunities that get generated. T-shirts based on the colors of popular teams or carrying pictures of star performers, toys and electronic games based on the event are only a few examples of such opportunities. One such example that can be cited on the successful use of event merchandising is related to the launch of the song “Chui see turn” by Rajshri Music. This event featured a tiny koala hanging from the sleeves of the lovers and symbolized the bond between them. Such innovative products actually add to the aura and atmosphere around the event – which is so very important.
Entry passes, T-shirts, publicity brochures and posters flaunt corporate logos. Round-the-clock announcements, videoscopes-where corporates screen their advertisements, and stalls to promote their products-are among the regular pay-offs demanded by corporates in return for their corporate dollar or rupee (wherever you are, it’s still the same!). In-Venue Publicity:The visibility, size and location of the sponsors’ in-venue signage are essential for publicity during the actual event. Diagrammatically depicts the prime spots that were sold to sponsors of the 2000 NFL league football game, between the Oakland Raiders and Seattle Seahawks at the Network Associates Sometimes, events shown on the television such as sports determine the location of the in-venue publicity hoardings of sponsors’ banners the arrows A, B, C & D show the locations where the TV cameras repeatedly show on the TV screen and cover extensively. These are the two scoreboards, the two dugouts from where the teams emerge on to the field, stand directly behind the goals and certain other locations where the TV camera might focus on during the game. Thus, the audience at the game is not exposed to cluttered advertisements all over and the TV commercials, during the strategically slotted breaks focused on the audience watching the event live on TV. There are various types of sports such as water sports, motor sports, track and field events that may be either individual or team based. Each game may attract specific sponsors such as motor sports attract companies involved with lubricants, oil, tyre, etc.
This need not be universally appealing to the various individual companies. Honda takes extreme pride in being associated with motor sport events. In India, MRF and JK Tyres take exceptional interest in such sports. In fact, being associated with go-kart tracks that are still exotic in nature for Indian audiences is also an accorded importance.
Logos, banners, posters and handouts in and around the venue are designed to deliver the promises made for the event. They are needed to act as guides for the audience during the show. Special banners made to highlight contests, invite participation in various activities and sales promotions are different from those used for outdoor promotions. Unlike outdoor media, which publicize the entire event, in-venue signage works at a micro level and publicizes individual parts of the event plan.
For example, say in a college festival like IIT Bombay’s Mood Indigo (MI), a major attraction but still a part of the entire event is the Aqua Games, a concept entirely Mi’s. Aqua Game is a concept where fun lovers frolic in the swimming pool playing games like Chivalry Race, Tug of War, Burma Bridge, etc. Organized daily with an audience of around 2000, this micro event offers sole sponsorship opportunities at the venue as also a mention as a co-sponsor in all publicity material. In-venue publicity opportunities offered at such an event that focuses on youth would be printing and distribution of Aqua Games T-shirts, caps and sun shades with the sponsors’ logo, locating stall(s) near the pool and inviting participation in sales promotion activities such as slogan, writing contests, etc.
and displaying banners at the poolside. Announcement of the sponsor’s name by the comperes from time to time is also a very potent publicity opportunity since the audience is virtually latched on to every word spoken by the comperes. Yet another opportunity to make an impact during the event and at the venue is to provide gift hampers as prizes for the games at event. This usually leaves a lasting impression on the audience at the venue.