The Indian arm of the Italian coffee chain, Barista Lavazza has flagged off the sixth edition of its annual property, Friendship Jam, an acoustic singing competition that invites participation of bands and individual singers from Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru and Kolkata. Every year, the coffee chain organises this contest around Friendship Day.
Shortlisted bands will perform in their respective cities and will be judged by members of celebrity bands The Underknowns (Delhi), Prithibi (Kolkata), The Chronic Blues (Bengaluru) and What's in the name (Mumbai).
These bands will also perform at the finals on August 4.
The contest is also open to bands and individuals from other cities and towns. Interested contenders need to upload performance videos on Barista Lavazza's YouTube page.
Speaking about the on ground initiative, Nilanjan Bhattacharya, COO, India and SAARC, Barista Lavazza, says that it is a branding activity and not a revenue generator. "Friendship Day, which falls every year in August, gives Barista Lavazza another reason to celebrate with its patrons. To celebrate the day, Barista Lavazza launched 'Friendship Jam', a flagship annual property, in 2008. Through Friendship Jam, we wanted to give our patrons a platform to share their music and their creativity with the world," says Bhattacharya.
He adds that Barista Lavazza has always been known to associate itself with promotions which revolve around art and culture and give upcoming performers/artists an opportunity to unleash their creativity. This contest is hence an opportunity to let patrons connect and bind over music.
The contest will take place at 11 stores across the four cities. According to the coffee chain, these cities are the key markets where consumers love to experiment, share, create and indulge.
The winner of the contest will get one year's supply of free coffee as well as a signed guitar from the organisation.
The coffee chain is using social media along with in-store branding to promote the event and catch eyeballs. Tent cards and posters are also being used at the chain's outlets.
The winners at last year's contest were Avyakta band (Mumbai), The K Reactives (Delhi), Mahesh B Raghunandan (Bengaluru) and Zion (Kolkata).
Speaking about driving the activation for six years, Bhattacharya says, "The encouraging feedback over the years has kept us going for five long years. We have taken the contest to the next level since last year, by engaging and involving celebrity bands."
Some of its other annual properties are Click-a-Coffee contest, which gives amateur photographers an opportunity and the Scrabble Championship, a board game contest.
Barista Lavazza is one the most popular coffee chains across India with more than 200 outlets and a 12 per cent market share. Some of its competitors are Costa Coffee, Cafe Coffee Day, Starbucks and others.
Bhattacharya adds that in today's age, the major marketing challenge is to educate the consumers about a superior cup of coffee, especially in India, which is a tea drinking country. Rising cost of raw materials and goods is also one of the challenges that exist in the retail space.
Barista was established in February 2000 in India. In 2007, it acquired Barista Coffee Company and is now known as Barista Lavazza. It also has cafes in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, UAE and Nepal. The coffee chain operates in more than 80 countries.