Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Brands Missing A Live Opportunity

I read last night about Jeremy Deller's Procession, an amazing public art performance, happening as part of the Manchester International Festival. It added to my growing feeling that brands aren't taking advantage of a huge opportunity to create interesting large scale public events.

I've written here and here about the consumer desire to engage with live experiences. Typically these events are provided by promoters, but the promoter model, driven by the need to generate short-term profit, leads to fairly unadventurous live experiences.

Live public art, unrestrained by the need to demonstrate a financial return, is fulfilling people's desire for the spectacular. Upcoming examples include the East End domino topple and Anthony Gormley's fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square.

Brands, like public art, have the opportunity to meet the consumer desire for live that isn't being met by promoters. Brands' startpoints are very different, the financial return they are looking for isn't directly from the event but from the acruing benefits to their business.

When brands start to think about how they could express their passion through a live spectacle they arrive in wonderful places that no promoter would ever get to; Red Bull Flugtag, Nike Human Race, Howies Do Lectures, Tmobile Singalong. In reality few brands are really proving to be brave enough to follow the lead of these pioneers.

There is a huge public craving for these unrepeatable one-off events, and that is more than can be said for other forms of marketing, this alone should convince brands that there is real value to be found in these bold public events.