“Event marketing, whether the marketer creates their own venue or participates in a regional fiesta, is an excellent opportunity to directly connect and build trust with the Latino community,” says Jerry Campagna, founder and principal of marketing firm MST Latino. The former publisher of Reflejos knows the power of event marketing to be true, having founded Fiesta in the Park, now in its 7th year. “Fiesta in the Park has become a Legacy Event,” says Campagna. “It’s become an affair where Latinos come back every year, and people recognize it as a time to come together.” Held at the Arlington International Race Course outside of Chicago, the event celebrates Latino horse racers and Latino culture in general, with music, food, dancing and other events. At the first event in 2002, the event drew approximately 1,300 Latinos, in addition to the regular crowd. By 2007, that number had swelled to over 8,000. This year, they are expecting approximately 15,000 Hispanics to show. Originally, Campagna organized the event as a way to market Arlington Park to the Hispanic community and also to inform the community of Hispanics’ involvement in horse racing. Event sponsors include Bank of America, Pepsi, American Airlines and a host of local businesses.
Take the A-train…
Fast food chain Subway is keen on using event marketing to connect with consumers. At the 2007 Calle Ocho Festival in Miami, the company sponsored Latin-flavored dance/exercise company Zoomba’s bid to hold the largest Aerobics class on record. “There were over a million people at that one,” says Subway’s multicultural brand manager Eddie Lindley.
More recently, Subway partnered with Soccer star Tab Ramos for a speaking tour addressing child obesity in the Latino community. As with the Zoomba partnership, the focus was on Subway’s relatively healthy food offerings as part of an overall healthy lifestyle. “What we try to do with all of our messaging, be that on television, radio, or in live events, is to integrate the core themes of healthy living and wise diet decisions,” says Lindley. He admits that with event marketing, the results are not explicitly measurable. “Interpreting the impact of a given event-driven campaign is definitely more an art than a science,” says Lindley. “But we look at things such as the amount of television, radio, and print coverage an initiative garners. Crucial to any event marketing campaign is that there is some ‘buzz’ created, something that mobilizes and excites.”
In the case of the Tab Ramos partnership, Subway is providing financial and logistical support for the launch of the soccer star’s Goal! Foundation, an organization dedicated to fighting childhood obesity. Since retiring from professional soccer in 2002, Ramos has been dedicated to spreading this message of healthy living.
Subway’s Eddie Lindley sees the events as a perfect way to convey this message: “When you see someone on television doing a public service announcement, or doing a commercial, you can’t help but wonder, ‘Is this guy really serious about this?’ By contrast, when you see that person in front of you speaking passionately, it is a much more impacting and credible experience.”
Advantages of Adding Events to your Media Portfolio
Music to the Ears…
L.A. based alternative music magazine Al Borde (circ. 40,000), the free bi-weekly publication that targets 18-to-34-year-old Hispanics, hosts live events as an integral part of its operations. Last year, the paper celebrated its ten-year anniversary by offering readers and fans a concert known as the "Rock ‘N Bliss Festival." The event was meant to extend its brand past its print entities—Al Borde is owned by Los Angeles weekly El Clasificado (circ. 270,000) —and into the lives of its readers.
The Rock ‘N Bliss Fest was the second of a two-part soiree: Al Borde hosted a special "Best of 2007" awards ceremony at the exclusive Al Borde Lounge the night before the concert. The awards paid tribute to an eclectic mix of 10 local bands that have shaped the Los Angeles Latin alternative scene.
Monster Beverage Company teamed up with Al Borde as presenting sponsor of the Rock N’ Bliss Festival, as well as Bulova and Virgin. Media partners for the event included Mun2 and LATV.
Al Borde also owns and operates the Al Borde Lounge in Los Angeles, a venue that hosts the types of alternative rock acts that are featured in the magazine. It is here that the company holds its Acoustic Sessions series. Started in 2007, the Acoustic Sessions is a series presented throughout the year. The event consists of 4 concerts annually: “What we typically do is invite a local alternative band to come and play this special setting,’ says Aguilar. “It’s a ‘by invitation only’ event for die-hard Al Borde readers,” Aguilar adds. “Capacity at the Al Borde Lounge is a mere 150-200, so it’s really a treat for the fans. We like to provide these events to our readers to free, as a reward for reading. Our pub is extremely niche and our readers don’t typically get catered to, so this is a good chance to do that,” says Maria Elena Aguilar, spokesperson for Al Borde. Along with Monster Beverage Company, Jack Daniels is a regular corporate sponsor of the event.