Marketers have it taped

More and more firms are filming and videoing live events not just as a record of the occasion but also as an opportunity to use the material for further marketing initiatives. Jo-Anne Flack reports

New life is being breathed into live events as marketers continue to squeeze every last drop out of their budgets.

And through film and video these days the content of such occasions is being transformed into further marketing activity and even into a marketing tool, either or both of which continue working for the brand long afterwards.

One of the attractions is the relatively low outlay. Filming an event or even producing a brand film for an event usually costs between £25,000 and £30,000. This is cheap when viewed against TV production and media costs. And the sums get better when a production’s extended life is taken into account.

As for film and video production firms, business is booming.

Much more mileage
Take Can Communicate. This Richmond, Surrey-based company set up nearly five years ago with the aim of being a straightforward film, media and events house. But creative director Phil Brown says they soon realised there was much more mileage in brand and event films.

He explains: “Traditional TV advertising is just not working any more. The young are not watching TV in the way they used to, and other media such as sponsorship are there to create the emotional links that brands want.

“The real growth area though is in branded content, especially for internet TV. We work with a company called Nowstep.com that can distribute marketing content to mobile phones and ipods and so on.”

Can’s work is largely for sports clients and in 2006 it produced a film, Football’s Hidden Story, initially for FIFA’s Congress. The brief changed during filming and the result, FIFA’s new Mission & Values, was screened to 3,000 delegates – and aired on FIFA’s website, as well as being distributed to all 200 federations and shown on local TV channels.

Marcus Childs, account director at Smartfusion, says: “We need to push hard to use the material from events as much as possible.”

Smartfusion helped to stage the launch of 3’s X-Series. “The task,” says Childs, “was to convince a sceptical audience that unlimited broadband had arrived. The trick was to show people why they would want the X-Series. By using video we were able to do just that. We interviewed people and asked them why they would like the technology and how they would use it.”

The event was filmed and the material is being used for marketing purposes.

Childs also says that sites like YouTube can be used to post videos for clients and gain a further massive audience. However Art Lewry, creative director at SPS, warns: “Don’t assume that your audience is as interested in what you’re trying to communicate as you are – so think hard about how you should tap into their emotions and motivations.”

Paul Gowers, creative director at film production company Wilder, has to do this a lot when creating films for clients involved with competitive bids, one of them London’s successful wresting of the 2012 Olympic Games. He says: “Films add emotion to any presentation. We work closely with companies to ensure that the films reflect the story of the event.”

Adam Norris, head of film and video at Jack Morton Worldwide, says: “Recently we were asked to do an opener to an event that was the internal launch of a new sub-brand for a top mobile telecom company. The film was eventually used for press, analyst and consumer exhibition audiences. Additionally it was played in retail stores and pre-loaded on to customer handsets – and became the global above-the-line campaign.”

Events companies need to take a much broader view of their work. Simon Hambley, managing director at live events agency Acclaim, comments: “In the old days such firms just did the events. Now it is much more about being in tune with a client’s overall marketing strategy and knowing how the material we create could be used elsewhere.” 

Acclaim produced the annual kick-off event for BT Global Services in Disneyland Paris, using a circular LED screen. The event was also made available on the internet afterwards, so in the end an occasion created for an audience of 1,250 was seen by 30,000 BT people around the world.

Key in the development of this trend in live events is new technology, both in terms of new media and the hardware available to live events agencies.

Even higher levels
Says Norris: “HD (high definition) has really come of age in the events industry and enhanced the viewing experience. It has become a lot cheaper as well. And soon 4K chip projectors will push content quality up to even higher levels.”

Says Lewry: “We spend our lives in front of screens – laptops, mobile and bluetooth screens and LCD screens at events themselves. Great ideas can join up these screens to create messages that are hard to ignore. The opportunity for a consistent approach to screen content, and of course your messages, has never been greater.” 

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