London Mardi Gras hunts sponsors

The UK’s largest gay and lesbian festival – the Mardi Gras open-air party, parade and two-week arts programme – is seeking sponsors for its millennium event.

Organiser London Mardi Gras (LMG) wants to make the event a flagship brand for companies to directly target gays and lesbians. It is estimated the festival – to take place in June – will cost &£1m to stage.

LMG festival director Jason Pollock says: “The gay market is lucrative and trendy. Brands now realise this is a market they need to capture.”

Above- and below-the-line advertising and promotional packages are available for five primary sponsors paying &£75,000 each, ten main sponsors paying &£15,000, as well as site-specific sponsors.

The organisers are looking to strike exclusive sponsorship deals with cosmetic, clothing, electronic goods, pharmaceutical and food companies, and an airline. Breweries will run 11 on-site bars.

A six-month national and international ad campaign starts in December. Some 80,000 people are expected to attend the party, which will be broadcast live on Radio 1 and BBC2.

LMG is working with the British Tourist Authority, London Tourist Board, National Express, D-Tours and music festival organiser Mean Fiddler to set up the event.

LMG was set up by a consortium of gay and lesbian businesses in March following the demise of the free Gay Pride festival. Mardi Gras attendees pay &£10 a ticket.

The “Pink economy” is believed to be worth &£8bn a year in the UK.

Holsten Pils, Red Bull and Finlandia were among the sponsors of the 1999 Mardi Gras.

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