Campaign Brothers Cider Bestival sponsorship
Client Brothers Cider
PR Team SLAM PR
Timescale August–September 2007
To build on the brand’s music heritage and engage with its target audience of 18- to 39-year-old music lovers, the company sponsored four summer music festivals this year and gave free samples to musicians such as Lily Allen and the Arctic Monkeys.
To finish the festival season off with a bang, Brothers became the ‘official cider’ of Bestival, which took place on 7-9 September on the Isle of Wight.
To raise awareness of Brothers Cider’s sponsorship of Bestival in trade and consumer press. To raise awareness of Brothers’ presence at the festivals and highlight the brand’s association with music. To maintain a loyal following of Brothers Cider fans while bringing its Pear Cider to a mainstream audience.
Strategy and plan
Bestival has a fancydress policy, and this year’s theme was ‘Pirates and Wizards’. Brothers commissioned artist Tracey Grohom to make origami parrots, jackets and hats from branded Brothers cups, which were sold to raise money for local charity, the Lord Mountbatten Hospice.
SLAM commissioned a photographer to take a series of branded shots, which were then wired to journalists. Photos were also posted on the Brothers website and blog.
The agency also gave free tickets to targeted trade and consumer journalists, introducing key contacts to the brand in its original festival context. Feature and story angles were set up prior to the event and interviews with the Showering brothers – creators of Brothers Cider – were held on site.
Celebrities were given poker tokens to swap for a free pint of cider, and SLAM set up a competition with the Daily Mirror online, offering two free tickets to the sold-out event.
Measurement and evaluation
Brothers Cider’s profile was high at the festival, with SLAM selling in the story of the origami parrots to daily festival newsletter Bestival Bugle. The parrots generated word-of-mouth as hundreds of revellers wore them.
Brothers’ Bestival pictures were used by BBC Hampshire, bbc.co.uk and a number of other websites.
A video diary and other coverage is set to be given out to sites including Monkey Magazine and YouTube in the coming weeks. Festival reviews in AXM magazine and the Morning Advertiser are lined up, while an interview with Brothers marketing manager Matthew Showering is to appear in The Grocer.
Although Brothers has not yet released sales figures, it claims a 300 per cent rise in sales for its Strawberry & Pear Cider since January. Morning Advertiser features and brand editor Rosie Davenport attended Bestival with Brothers. She says: ‘Rather than trying to latch on to music festivals, Brothers Cider’s campaign feels authentic because it is already a well-loved festival brand.’
Ginny Paton (l), MD, Henry’s House: The stakes are high with festival sponsorship. Done well, it can be a brilliant way to get a brand on the radar of an influential, affluent target audience. Done poorly, it is about as effective as a Britney come-back gig.
Because the festivals now play host to many brands – all vying for the same space, on the same pages in the same papers – getting the coverage is tough. Only brands that are able to demonstrate creativity and an experiential dimension will cut through and provide standout.
Virgin Mobile’s ‘Rest & Recharge’ sleeping bag with in-built phone charger, or Orange’s ‘Text Me Home’ tents, which glowed when texted by their owners, are two great examples of how telecoms brands have cleverly exploited event sponsorship.
The origami parrot was also effective; many festival-goers wore them throughout the festival, providing a good talking point on site.
At festivals, PR success or failure is determined long before the first band takes to the stage. If Kate Moss does not show up in her Hunter wellies, then the pressure is on, but celebrities in fancy dress are a sure-fire hit.
With limited access to talent, the Brothers Cider team had limited resources to work with – but perhaps more could have been made with competitions and journalist invites – there will be an opportunity next year to provide a focal point on site for VIPs and journalists.
Festivals and an alcohol brand are great bedfellows and Brothers and Bestival are a great fit.
With good financial support, the relationship can be deepened next year. Clever, funny, engaging activity will give the brand good resonance with the target group without compromising the grassroots feel of the festival.