Client: The Guardian
PR Team: In-house
Campaign: Glastonbury Festival
Timescale: June 1999
The Guardian newspaper launched its entertainment and listings magazine,
the Guide, in 1993. Often imitated, it contains reviews, event coverage
and listings in a handy A5 format.
With its appeal to younger readers, Glastonbury - the UK’s biggest and
best established music festival - was an ideal sponsorship opportunity
for the Guardian.
To create awareness of the Guardian’s Guide as a leading source of
entertainment news and listings. To build and reinforce the brand as
young, accessible and innovative.
Strategy and Plan
The long-running success of the festival owes much to the fact that it
always has a strong line-up of big name bands and DJs, along with an
inherent ’people’s party’ quality - other festivals are more commercial,
while Glastonbury’s profits go to charity, for example. Sponsoring it
has to be creative because, although the organisers believe in
sponsorship and support, outright branding is banned.
Because the festival is spread out across a large area and artists
perform at eight different stages, while films are shown in two other
locations, a handy, comprehensive guide to what’s on is essential.
A Guardian team developed a mini-Guide, which copied the format of the
Guide but was compact enough to be accessible at all times.
The guide mapped the whole area, gave practical information, and full
listings of each day. Protected from bad weather by a plastic holder,
the guide was designed to be worn around the neck at all times.
To ensure as many people used it as possible, a deal was struck to make
the guides available at beer tents. Large signs promoted its
availability and workers were given free T-shirts to promote it. Copies
were also distributed at the gates to the festival site.
Around 130,000 copies of this year’s edition were printed and all were
distributed, meaning nearly every carrier was a walking brand device for
the newspaper. A high-level of media coverage meant festival-goers were
picked up by press cameras and TV crews.
As part of the sponsorship deal, the Guardian had a newspaper stand at
the event throughout the weekend.
As part of the campaign, ticket holders were given the chance to enter a
competition to go to Glastonbury as a rock star for the day, having
upgraded travel in a first-class train, being driven to the site in a
limo and staying in a VIP luxury tent. This provided a good story for
Measurement and Evaluation
No formal measurement or evaluation has yet been undertaken, but in
terms of media coverage where the Guardian was visible, reports appeared
on BBC2, BBC News 24, HTV and Sky News. Guardian journalists were
interviewed by the local radio stations. Pictures of people wearing the
guide appeared in this week’s NME and Melody Maker.
Over 5,000 sales a day of the Guardian at the festival were
Despite the branding restriction, the Guardian was very visible to
festival-goers and to TV audiences at home.
The festival has already had many requests from other media to produce a
similar guide for next year’s event because the Guardian’s version
proved so popular.