Can Ibiza rock without a new headline sponsor

As the sun sets on this year’s summer party season, Jo Roberts sits down with the Ibiza Rocks team to talk candidly about the highs and lows of sponsorship

Ibiza Rocks has learnt some hard lessons after losing its headline sponsor Sony Ericsson this year. The mobile phone brand supported the event almost since its inception four years ago, providing the young business with a much needed cash injection.

When the headline sponsor announced that it would no longer be supporting Ibiza Rocks, it might have been expected that this would leave a gaping hole in the brand’s finances. But apparently, the brand says its biggest loss has been the withdrawal of Sony Ericsson’s marketing support.

Ironically, Andy McKay co-founder of Ibiza Rocks, claims the business achieved double-digit growth in all areas of operations despite the end of the mobile phone brand’s sponsorship. He says that in some ways, being forced to find financial success without a corporate backer has been “very good for us”.

Dawn Hindle, co-founder of the event, expands: “It’s like having your security blanket taken away from you; it forces you to focus.”

Despite the positive statements, Hindle does not deny that losing a headline sponsor was initially a worry for Ibiza Rocks, especially in the midst of a recession. But Hindle says the team has been forced to become much more commercially-minded. “It has moved us on as a business and we’ve become much more creative in terms of how we generate income.”

Different packages have been created to lure in a young, carefree crowd. A mid-week break has been developed this year so that those who want to go on holiday to the Ibiza Rocks hotel can avoid peak weekend flights.

Ibiza Rocks promoter Shane Murray says thinking carefully about what the brand’s target market wants has attracted a high turnover of holidaymakers during the summer season. “It’s about creating a new flexible package for an audience that doesn’t have as much money but has time on their hands,” says Murray.

Sponsorship deals are still a central business strategy for Ibiza Rocks, however. Murray admits that such deals are a necessary plantform for Ibiza Rocks to promote the business: “Our brand has been built today on well selected brand partnerships.”

With Sony Ericsson gone, the subsidiary sponsors (see list below) have had more attention this year and Murray claims this has offered them the chance to develop stronger relationships with the Ibiza Rocks brand.

While Ibiza Rocks isn’t ruling out a replacement headline sponsor in the future, the team say they would have to think carefully about ensuring the right brand fit. The ambitions of the team have grown since its initial operations as a one-island brand.

Hindle explains: “Now we want to be going into Europe or even globally, we want a sponsor to help us to move into those market.”

To read more about the development of the Ibiza Rocks brand, click here:

Xbox – Hotel sponsor and Content Partner

Xbox is the content partner of this year’s Ibiza Rocks, along with Guitar Hero World Tour. Xbox also provides gaming facilities. Xbox Kiosks and jukebox are positioned in the branded hotel’s lobby and Electric Bar and there is a dedicated Xbox ‘Social’ games room which has Xbox 360s and Guitar Hero World Tour stage alongside pool tables and TV screens. Xbox has also converted the Ibiza Rocks penthouse, where many of the event’s performers stay.

Monster Energy – Event & Hotel energy drinks partner

The Monster energy drink is looking to grow in Europe and has chosen Ibiza Rocks as part of its strategy to expand in the continent. There is a Monster bar and its logo is also incorporated into some generic Ibiza Rocks-designed branding. Sampling is key to Monster’s strategy and each hotel room has a can placed in the fridge for every new arrival. This partnership is being developed further in 2010.

Bench – Official Streetwear Partner

Fashion brand Bench has joined forces with Ibiza Rocks this year. A co-branded clothing range has been developed and sold in hotel’s store and in Bench outlets. Staff also wear the clothing so that it can be visible to all guests throughout their stay.

Religion / Ibiza Rocks clothing range

A dedicated high-end range has been designed through a collaboration between Ibiza Rocks’ co-founder Dawn Hindle and Religion. It is distributed internationally and driven by a key campaign and a holiday prize offering a trip to the Ibiza Rocks Hotel.

BBC Radio 1

The Ibiza Rocks Hotel is now the main venue for the Radio 1 weekend at the end of July each summer. This year it hostedfive hours of live-to-air broadcasting featuring R1 DJs Annie Mac and Pete Tong.

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