One would associate a college festival with a sea of youngsters involved in some creative activity and cheering loudly when fellow participants take centrestage, or milling around food and book stalls when it's time to let the hair down. However, this very confluence of people, to be precise, young people, is virgin territory for youth marketers or advertisers to showcase their brands and induce trails. In short, provide a real-time experience of a particular brand.
As Yatendra Bansal, CEO, JAM Venture Publishing Pvt. Ltd, explains, "College festivals are an attractive proposition for companies that target the youth and do events to grab their attention. Normally, promotions and publicity for a regular event such as a rock show, fashion show or a star-studded activity would entail heavy expenditure. Associating with a college festival, on the other hand, can be a reasonable exercise in terms of the outflow of money."
The biggest advantage of associating with a college festival, points out Bansal, is the opportunity of cashing in on a captive audience. "A festival is held within the college campus. Second, you get undivided attention of the youth, which is significant, considering that college students tend to be fickle and are poor consumers of mass media."
Spotting an opportunity, JAM Venture plunged into the business of college festivals with a separate division called Colfest Promotions. "We offer customised brand-specific promotional packages aimed at college students through college festivals. We also have proprietary events aimed at college-going youth," he says.
The company draws from a comprehensive database of over 150 college festivals spread across the country. This information has been gathered over the years through systematic research and visits to various campuses. "The information we have deals with the quantity or the number of students participating in each festival, the unique qualitative feature of a festival, different packages available within a festival ranging from Rs 50,000 on the lower side to Rs 5-lakh-plus on the higher side," says Bansal.
This knowledge contributes in drawing up a cost-benefit analysis, which helps in determining the return on investment. "Typically, advertisers gravitate towards a few high-profile college festivals conducted by premier institutes. The bidding that follows pushes up prices since a number of advertisers are keen to hog the limelight and edge out competition. We focus on understanding the requirements of a brand, providing an appropriate blueprint."
To cite examples, NIIT is a serious brand, he says, and, at a college festival, a career workshop, quiz or computer game would be in sync with its personality. "Close-up on the other hand is about people getting close to each other, talking or interacting. In such a case, we will focus on interactive games."
For Johnson & Johnson's (J&J) disposable contact lens Acuvue, Colfest, at a festival recently, converted the simple stare-into-my-eyes-without-blinking exercise into an interesting contest between the two sexes. Titled CONTACT, the game invites couples to stare into each other's eyes and whoever blinks first, loses the opportunity to move into the next round. Final winners are awarded gift vouchers.
With active clients such as L'Oreal, Anne French, J&J and HLL, Bansal has a clear agenda, "College festivals are neither scientifically researched nor properly used. Using our skill sets and learning experiences we intend overcoming this knowledge deficiency, providing appropriate solutions to clients." © 2003 agencyfaqs!