Magazine article Marketing

The Main Event

Magazine article Marketing

The Main Event

Article excerpt

Event marketing means total control of brands' promotion -- and Pepsico is usin it to the full.

Ibiza in September is not the first place that springs to mind when contemplating where supermodel Linda Evangelista is spending the last days of summer.

Finding her there in the company of tennis star Pat Cash and basketball ace Magic Johnson plus a few hip pop bands seems even more unlikely.

But PepsiCo, a company which likes to associate itself with mega celebrities, has managed to pull them together under one roof for two weeks, in an ambitious attempt to entertain hundreds of teenagers from across Europe.

The name of the game is event marketing. PepsiCo has created the Ibiza event to promote its hugely successful Pepsi-Max brand -- the theme for which is "live life to the full".

For two action-packed weeks, 1400 teenagers get the chance to spend seven days basking in the Mediterranean sun and soaking up the Pepsi-Max Experience.

During the day they can attend sports clinics hosted by George Best, Cash and Johnson. While their evenings can be wiled away at the Pepsi-Max Can -- a giant nightclub -- listening to Paul Young, Culture Beat and Snap, among others.

It's the holiday of a lifetime. But what does PepsiCo get out of it and is it really cost-effective?

According to Imagination, an agency which specialises in this form of communication, event marketing is on the increase.

"As more and more products and services become alike, brand owners are looking for new ways to distinguish themselves. Event marketing is a powerful tool because it enables them to motivate their audiences in a way in which you can't through other forms of impersonal media," says client services director Richard Zucker.

Event marketing is not new. It has been used in the business-to-business arena for several years. It is only now, however, that brand owners, and in particula soft drinks companies, are using it to reach consumer audiences.

One of the reasons is the proliferation and fragmentation of the media.

"The media is now so complex with over 120 satellite channels to choose from that it is hard to know where to spend your money to reach your target audience," says PepsiCo's European marketing director Charlotte Pinder.

More importantly, she says, event marketing gives brand owners control over the way their brands are promoted, one of its biggest advantages over sponsorship deals.

"With event marketing you can make sure everything is executed properly," says Pinder. "And it will be a lot more effective than a sponsorship deal because consumers will associate your name much more closely with the event. …

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