CAMPAIGNS: Orange sets up bespoke music event - Consumer PR

Mobile phone network operator Orange has a history of associating itself with music as a way of developing its brand, particularly with young people. This generally takes the form of bolt-on sponsorship of music festivals and club nights.

In Northern Ireland, however, there was no suitable event available for sponsorship, so the network decided to organise its own three-day festival, Orange Enjoy Music Belfast '01, and to make it a 'community event' with an educational element. Making Waves Communications was tasked with handling PR for the event, which took place from 23 to 25 November.

Objective

To get across a number of key messages. First, that the event was happening; second, that Orange was behind it; third, to position Orange as an innovative company; and fourth, to promote the value-added services Orange offers such as WAP and the company's 177 mobile information service.

Strategy and Plan

Orange believes mobile phones will inevitably be perceived as the gateway to music sales in the future, so the event was important to its positioning, according to an Orange source.

The agency ran a media relations campaign targeting a student and youth audience, who regularly purchase pop music. Local daily papers, weekly listings and music magazines were involved with competitions launched on local radio station Cool FM.

A series of stories was released about the event in the seven weeks prior to it taking place and a press launch was held at which the line-up was announced five weeks before the event.

The event also boasted the support of the Prince's Trust as a voluntary sector partner. One of the Trust's celebrity ambassadors, Jools Holland, recorded a voice-over for local station Cool FM to promote the event, the music workshops and the involvement of the Trust, which was to receive money as a result of the concert taking place.

Measurement and Evaluation

The event achieved 42 pieces of press in 26 publications and lots of coverage on Cool FM. There were also four radio features on BBC Radio Ulster and three TV programmes which featured the event.

However, according to an entertainment journalist in Belfast, the event and the PR around it were a 'shocker.'

The feeling was that the amount of publicity and the quality of the band line-up for the event was low.

Results

While the concept was in line with Orange's brand strategy and the network declared itself 'well pleased' with the event, and the work of the PR agency, the event itself was under-attended with 2,400 people across the three nights - well below capacity - and it was felt by some members of the press that the impact for Orange could not have been ideal.

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