Fair operators seek brand sponsorship and advertising

Travelling fairground operators are seeking brand tie-ins and are offering advertising space to brands, as they attempt to overhaul the image of fairs and present them as family-friendly environments where children are safe.

The Showmen’s Guild of Great Britain, the trade body for travelling funfairs, began to co-ordinate marketing two years ago, with a central website and regional press advertising, to combat the growing threat from theme parks and other leisure destinations (MW August 22, 2002). A National Funfair Week over the recent Bank Holiday was fronted by pop act the Cheeky Girls.

Showmen’s Guild spokesman Desmond Fitzgerald says: “The guild is having to move, as much as possible, to market the fairs in a more corporate way. It is keen to develop partnerships with food, drink, fashion and other brands and their agencies.”

Desmond adds that each fair is “highly regulated” and together they offer hundreds of “as-yet unbranded” food and drink outlets. He adds that they offer the opportunity to reach “millions of young, free-thinking customers at play”.

The money raised by partnership or sponsorship will fund rising operating costs and further marketing. The Showman’s Guild represents fairs with a long history, including the Nottingham Goose Fair, Oxford St Giles fair and the Hoppings in Newcastle.

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