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June 23rd, 2017
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How Sponsors Benefit from Trinidad Carnival

Above: On a shoot for a credit card advertisement, featuring one of  two costumes supplied by Island People and Spice Carnival Band for the sponsor, First Citizens Bank.

 

Every year the same sponsors join the foray of sponsorship for the Carnival Season. No corner shop, music truck, rest stop, or even mobile washroom is safe. With hundreds of thousands of dollars being spent in the production of seemingly endless feet of bunting, specially made mesh wraps for vehicles, lit signs on Mas Camps and more, the question begs to be asked. How effective is the sponsorship of carnival at increasing brand visibility and ultimately achieving sales?

The fairly short link between the imagery of the brand and the action of selecting the product at the nearest bar truck, has ultimately limited this typical approach to sponsorship to liquor brands, soft ….(and more recently, energy) drinks and the like. So, how do other types of companies that are not involved in the production or importation of consumer products of the like, approach the sponsorship game. Well, until quite recently, many of them have not.

Now don’t get me wrong! There are many state institutions and even some corporate entities that have adopted some steel pan and performance groups as their branded beneficiaries. However, unless there is an established Corporate Communications strategy in place to justify the spend, many others are clueless as to, how spending upwards of an average persons yearly salary can be beneficial for just a few weeks of exposure. Well, it can be, really..

There are many benefits that being a part of Carnival Sponsorship can bring; some that are just not available though other avenues of advertising throughout the year.

The emotional attachment of a sponsors’ brand to an exciting event can embed into the minds of the masses, the feeling that you would want attached to the product; happiness, excitement, adventure. These can all be good feelings to associate to, maybe energy drinks.

However, as bands are becoming more and more in-touch with their demographic and even their “Brand Positioning”, they are crafting their ability to align with brands of similar targets and back that relationship up with data-mining stats, numbering in the thousands of masqueraders. This can be important to everybody from a new car retailer trying to reach a “20 something” employed person looking for their new car, to a banker selling credit cards to gainfully employed young adults that have a knack for spending.

For the 2013 Trinidad and Tobago Carnival Season, First Citizens Bank entered its first year of sponsoring three, count em, three….. of the top carnival bands of the nation. After two years of supporting one band (Spice Carnival) as they crafted their presence in the festivities we were contracted through our newly formed “Carnival Guru” brand, to negotiate and execute the sponsorship entitlements in all three bands for the season, Bliss (The Punchy Punch Section), Island People Mas and Spice Carnival Band.

Of course there will always be hidden benefits like Tax Incentives, Brand Visibility exercises and just plain old Philanthropy in some instances, as all manner of business seeks to try their hand at the poker game known as marketing.

As marketing of our Mas and Carnival continues to be fine tuned in an ever competing industry, its becoming interesting to see where the sponsors are lining up to spend their budget and how that is being interpreted as being a benefit to the company after the Powder, Calypso and Soca has ended.

 



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