Although marketers are getting more tech savvy, it seems they still have a soft spot for good old fashioned event marketing. More than half (53 percent) of 300 senior marketing executives surveyed said event marketing is the discipline that best accelerates and deepens relationships with target audiences. The EventView 2009 survey, which was completed earlier this month by George P. Johnson, The MPI Foundation and the Event Marketing Institute, included a healthy swath (41 percent) of marketers whose companies pull in revenues in excess of $1 billion. More than a quarter (26 percent) of those surveyed said event marketing is the discipline that drives the greatest return-on-investment. “The economy is forcing marketers to elevate their game to survive, specifically in regard to deploying direct response marketing such as events to drive top-line performance,” said Bruce MacMillan, president and CEO of MPI. Twenty-nine percent of marketers will transition their strategy from event marketing to experience marketing in the next 12 months. The difference being that experience marketing “involves integrated live and online experiences that drive deep brand interaction through highly relevant story telling and brand immersion,” per the study. A third of those polled said they already made the switch. The findings underline two trends coming together at the same time, said David Rich, svp of strategic marketing/worldwide at experience marketing agency George P. Johnson. “First, a downward economic spiral that is forcing brands to invest in channels like events that demonstrate measurable ROI; and secondly the maturation of strategic event and experience marketing, which takes the strategic, creative, media and digital capabilities of above-the-line marketing and activates them through the on-the-ground execution of an event portfolio made up of different types of internal and external events.”
Affluent consumers increased their visits to fast-food burger restaurants, but cut back on visits to the more upscale chains within the family restaurants category in the months following the economic “meltdown” in early October. Those are among the restaurant-related trends emerging from newly released Experian Simmons data from the latest three-month wave of the Simmons National Consumer Study (Fall 2008). The preliminary data reflects week-by-week trends for the period spanning Aug. 18 to Dec. 8 last year. Because the data are not yet weighted (fully projected to the U.S. population), absolute percentages are not claimed to be exact; however, the relative percentages are indicative of trends across time. Following the meltdown (pegged at Oct. 3), the data show a distinct uptick in reported recent (last 30 days) visits to fast-food burger chains among households with incomes of $75,000 and above. Furthermore, the uptrend was more marked among the highest incomes levels. For example, the percentage of consumers with household incomes of $100,000+ having visited one (unnamed) burger chain jumped from 50.1% pre-meltdown to 57.3% post-meltdown, and the percentage reporting visiting a second unnamed burger chain rose from 25.7% to 31.3%. Simmons Experian notes that a simultaneous downward trend post-meltdown in the numbers of consumers with a household income of $75,000+ indicating that they try to eat gourmet food as often as possible seems to corroborate that their eating patterns were affected by the onset of the economic crisis.
Craftsman revs up its involvement with NASCAR this season, having added a branded entertainment vehicle Sunday before Fox’s broadcast of the Daytona 500. Craftsman was the “presenting sponsor” of a special focused on the frequently overlooked pit crews that turn the wrenches and fasten the bolts to propel the cars to jaw-dropping speeds. The one-hour “Craftsman Presents: Road to Daytona” featured Fox analyst Larry McReynolds hosting from a set at a NASCAR research facility surrounded by the brand’s signage. Before certain segments, his lead-ins included a Craftsman reference, and there were other audio mentions throughout. The special–which aired immediately before Daytona’s green flag dropped–had a documentary feel, with a behind-the-scenes look at how crews diligently build their cars to prepare for the upcoming season. Vis-à-vis the drivers, there was an “unsung heroes” element. It also offered an overview of changes that will affect the NASCAR circuit this year, such as top driver Tony Stewart switching sponsors. “Road to Daytona” was engineered as a time buy on Fox, which is involved in the production along with sports-marketing firm Intersport and NASCAR Media Group. Craftsman, the longtime “official tools of NASCAR,” was attracted to the sponsorship opportunity largely because the show finds story lines off the track and inside the NASCAR garages. “It’s really about before you get your race car on the track–and that’s where Craftsman lives,” says Erik Rosenstrauch, director of marketing for the Sears brand.
Strangest Media Opportunity of the Week: A Real Snow Job.
Earlier this week, Londoners were beset by their worst snowstorm in 20 years, and for several days wherever they looked they saw white. Or almost everywhere. A lot of times they saw, imbedded deep in the snow, a round impression, actually a logo. It was the logo of Extreme Sports Channel, a cable channel based in the Netherlands. There it was, an oblong circle about 14 inches across with the letters EX in the center. There were thousands stamped on structures around the city. Credit quick thinking on the part of the network’s London agency, Curb. The snow had begun falling Sunday night, and early Monday morning the agency sent out a crew with stencils of the logo, and they went around the city pressing them into the snow. “The campaign was a spur-of-the-moment thing, but as soon as we started doing it people were literally stopping in the street and saying, ‘Wow, that’s amazing!’” says Anthony Ganjou, managing director at Curb. “So we decided to go all out from there.” By day’s end, the teams had left some 2,000 impressions in about 350 locations. Ganjou says the campaign was a good match for the Extreme brand, as a network that focuses on extreme sports, including snowboarding, skateboarding, surfing and biking. Ganjou had actually come up with the idea for snow tags six months earlier. It was a matter of waiting for it to snow, and it could have been a long wait indeed, since it seldom snows in London. As it should happen, when it finally did snow it was a doozy, and the Curb crew was ready.