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Why 2013 is by no means the year of ‘non-events’

Simon Orpin, Managing Director of Operations,
By Simon Orpin  //  Wed 13th February 2013
Without doubt, 2012 was a glittering year for major events, both sporting and otherwise (thanks to the Queen), so you could be forgiven for feeling that 2013 looks a little flat on event-based opportunity front for brands.

The UEFA European Football Championship, on top of the London Olympic and Paralympic Games made for a year heaving with sponsorship and involvement opportunity for brands big and small. 

A recent prediction by Group M forecast that marketing revenue will fall this year. If you want to pick one factor - aside from the general state of the economy – that might make this prediction become a reality, you could indeed pick on the fact that 2013 is devoid of events that promise to have all eyes glued to them.

Yet in my opinion, far from a lack of all singing, all dancing events in 2013 being a minus – and I mean for brands looking to capitalise on such opportunities – this is the perfect year in which they can use 2012’s buzz to add sparkle to some of the more ‘regular’ events in the calendar.  There is a range of annual events that savvy brands can capitalise on, and my feeling is that 2012, the year of events, has highlighted these opportunities. A particular yearly event that holds greater promise each year is Halloween. Once considered on a different scale in the US compared to the UK, on this side of the pond October 31 is quickly becoming a major experience for consumers and retailers alike. Last year saw retailers create some really innovative campaign activity around Halloween – for example Tesco used Facebook to suggest recipes and activities to make the day more fun for “little monsters”.

But in the US, it’s not just the ‘obvious’ retail brands – i.e. supermarkets that capitalise on such a big event – companies selling anything from computers to cars get in on the act. Last year in the US, homeware retailer Target launched a Halloween app that when interacted with, gave consumers the chance to win money off store vouchers - a great way to promote sharing and virality. I think that now, in the UK we will start to see more retailers outside of the ‘obvious’ ones embrace calendar events in this way.

Of course this year we also have one particular event to look forward to regardless of the fact that we’re not quite sure of its precise date. Marketers have already been quick to exploit the news of a royal baby. The commemorative mugs are already in production and a quick visit to Party Pieces, the Middleton run business, shows that the site is really pushing its baby shower ranges. I’m sure that in the run up to the big day, whenever it falls, many other brands will be seeking to ride on the buzz and excitement that the occasion will inevitably bring. We only have to look back to the 24 million that tuned in for the Royal Wedding in April 2011, and the surge in newspaper sales that coverage generated, to know that news of the royal baby will in some way generate a captive audience.

Then there are this summer’s festivals that grow in size, popularity and opportunity (for brands) by the year. No doubt the fact that large swathes of the population spent parts of last summer outdoors (whether it be waving flags at royalty or cheering on Team GB) has ignited the imagination of brands wishing to make the most of positioning themselves in front of large crowds. Now at the likes of Glastonbury we are starting to see bespoke content played on screens on the major stages between band acts – could this be an important outlet for brands wanting to entertain and educate large audiences going forward?

People talk about the legacy that last year’s London Games left on society. Just as important in marketing circles is the lasting impact the Games, and last year’s other event-spectaculars – has left on brands and their event planning.

Find sponsorship ideas and media ideas on here blog, Simon Orpin, Why 2013 is by no means the year of ‘non-events’
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