Event marketing is the attempt by a brand to improve its standing in the eyes of consumers by linking itself to some valued event. Bear Naked Granola engaged in event marketing by sponsoring the world’s largest slip ‘n’ slide, set up on a hill in San Francisco.
The success of event marketing depends on three things: (1) how people feel about the event; (2) the strength of the connection created between the event and the brand; and (3) the meaning of the connection–that is, what the connection tells people about the brand.
Bear Naked Granola picked an event that looks like fun to everyone, especially young people. The brand strengthened the connection between Bear Naked Granola and the slip ‘n’ slide by making sure its name and package were visible throughout and picking a producer/director (devinsupertramp) sure to get attention online.
But Bear Naked Granola did little or nothing to define the meaning of the connection between the brand and the slip ‘n’ slide.
Sometimes, defining the meaning of the connection is easy, like when Seiko became the official timer of the Olympic Games. Even if it’s not easy, defining the meaning of a connection is almost always possible–and defining the meaning of a connection is what gives event marketing its power. If, for example, the brand wanted people to see Bear Naked Granola as a great way to start your day, it would have been easy to make that the meaning of the connection. All it would take is a couple of shots of people looking out their windows in the morning, pleasantly surprised to see a giant slip ‘n’ slide running down their street. Bear Naked Granola brings you another great way to start your day.
Bear Naked Granola simply stood the brand next to the event and left it up to the viewer to figure out what, if anything, the connection meant. Viewers won’t bother.