Friday 28 November 2014

Music to sponsors' ears: which brands shone at EP

Published 04/09/2014 | 02:30

From l to r, are Paddy Watkins, Emmet McEnroe and Tom Atkins at the last day of the Electric Picnic Music Festival at Stradbally, Co. Laois. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 31/8/2014
From l to r, are Paddy Watkins, Emmet McEnroe and Tom Atkins at the last day of the Electric Picnic Music Festival at Stradbally, Co. Laois. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 31/8/2014

After months of planning and anticipation, Electric Picnic 2014 has come and gone. This year's music festival, the largest yet, saw an unprecedented level of investment from brands and sponsors. From the enormous Casa Bacardi stage modelled on the company's Cuban headquarters of the 1930s to Vodafone's huge phone recharging station, brand-run installations have become as integral to the event as the acts playing.

Given that this year's Picnic was the largest ever with 41,000 revellers and a huge array of distractions on offer, sponsors and vendors had more to compete with than ever. So who swam and who sank? Postscript has the answer thanks to exclusive brand impact research from Pembroke Communications, part of the Pembroke Slattery Group. Pembroke surveyed over 400 attendees on the Monday and Tuesday after the event .

When respondents were given an unprompted awareness test - asked to name any sponsors they saw over the weekend - the big three of Heineken, Electric Ireland and Bacardi dominated. Heineken, which had a massive presence in Stradbally including its own stage and large bar areas, was cited by a whopping 57pc. Electric Ireland came in at 52pc after hosting a popular set with ballad-blaring Bonnie Tyler, despite an ironic power cut. The ever-popular Bacardi, whose Casa hosted some of Europe's biggest DJs, came in at 43pc. New entrant Just-Eat.ie did remarkably well, earning 21pc unprompted awareness for its foodie retreat area.

Awareness is all well and good, but what about the actual impact or impression left by brands? The same big three of Heineken, Bacardi and Electric Ireland again came out on top when impact was polled. Red Bull was also popular for its forest-based Rave in The Woods area.

"What this survey definitively proves is that the sponsors of Electric Picnic are getting huge cut-through and those who do things with a clever festival twist are making the biggest impact" said Pembroke managing director Michael O'Keeffe. "There is almost no sponsor confusion and the festival organisers allow sponsors to create their own mini areas and experience to engage with those in attendance in a non-intrusive way that adds value."

"The other vital point is that many sponsors have been partners of the Picnic for several years - they are now part of the attraction as much as the music, food and partying are. The sponsors' pre-promotion of their own areas and presence is a crucial marketing tool for the festival itself too. The more competitive sponsors become and the more added value they bring to the table, the better for Electric Picnic."

As Just-Eat.ie's success showed, food played a key role at the event. Pembroke's research found that Asian restaurants did the best with hungry revellers. Saba was number one followed by Pakistani restaurant Kinara and Siam Thai. Beloved pie vendors Pieminster came fourth.

In terms of music, there was a lot of hype about lesser-known acts like London Grammar and Mogwai - but Pembroke's research found the main stage headliners still made the biggest splash. Chic scored the highest with 16pc of the vote, closely trailed by Hozier at 10pc. Some 6pc cited US group Outkast and 4pc chose Beck.

The research also gauged what attendees would have changed. Interestingly, the infamous toilets weren't their biggest bug bear. The size of this year's festival was the thing that irked people the most, with some claiming it has lost some of its boutique feel. Phone charging and more ATMs were a concern for some. However, negative sentiment was, overall, very low.

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