The 13th edition of Sula Fest will kick off on February 1, 2020, in Nashik near the Gangapur Dam. The vineyard and music festival has, over the years, established itself as a popular event especially for those who want to take a break from the city rush and spend a couple of days amidst greenery.
Essel group's lifestyle channel Living Foodz (LF) finds the event an effective tool to connect with its community. Living Foodz is the top channel in the lifestyle category as per Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India data. In week 3 of the year, it fetched 1.3 million impressions to secure the pole position ahead of Network 18's FY TV18 (0.90 million impressions) and Discovery's TLC (0.49 million impressions).
"When we look at food and lifestyle, wine is a great part of that mix," says Amit Nair, business head, Living Foodz. This is where Sula Fest becomes relevant for the channel. He adds, "The audience who visit Sula Fest are full of life and ready to experiment with whatever is served to them. This is also an NCCS A audience which is also LF's target audience, adding to the relevance of the event for us."
Youth forms a big part of that audience at Sula Fest and Nair believes this helps brand LF communicate about other mediums that it operates. "Ultimately, LF is not just a TV channel but a 360-degree medium. Along with the television offering, we have #LF Originals - a Facebook and Insta offering with exclusive digital content and Livingfoodz.com, a digital platform and a major part of the consumption comes from youth," he informs.
To get noticed at the venue, LF creates various zones, dishes out bits and pieces of digital content tagging Sula Fest, and runs hashtags on social media platforms. "There is no point in brands pushing themselves in the face of the consumer. How we can make the brand a part of the consumer's life is the marketing we cater to," says Nair. He adds that the chatter on social media emerges as the biggest tool to analyse the return on investment for such associations.
"If you are subtle enough to be a part of the consumer's life, they will accept you. Last year, we made a tunnel at Sula Fest which was called the Livfinity tunnel where people could see content that was relevant to them as they entered it. We weren't pushing our shows but displaying the philosophy of LF and it worked. We made an anti-gravity booth there and people loved it, clicked their picture and then shared it on social media. These experiences are an important part," he explains.
Lifestyle is a niche segment in India and is known as a perception driver. Nair believes ratings alone do not define the effectiveness of the channels in this segment. While in advertising initiatives on television, print or digital, the numbers would define the reach and thus the effectivity for associations like the one with Sula Fest, he feels it is the "impact" that is critical. "For the days during the festival, be a part of the consumer's life. That would make you memorable and if that is done, it is certain that they will sample," Nair opines.
Apart from marketing, LF also creates a lot of content from the venue which is then put up on their social media platforms. This year, LF's objective through the Sula association is to let the attendees know that LF is not just a TV channel but a 360-degree media channel, Nair says.