Your client at a winter carnival
These cold-weather events are a great place to reach families
December 3, 2012
In cold-weather markets the period between the holidays and springtime is called the dead of winter for a reason. Not a lot goes on outside.
But there is one good outdoor option for out-of-home marketers looking to reach family audiences–winter carnivals.
Winter carnivals typically run over several days and feature a number of family- and sponsor-friendly events, such as parades, ice carving competitions, snow sculpture demonstrations and fireworks displays.
The audiences are mainly families, many of them affluent with extra money to spend.
To find out how to get your client at winter carnivals, read on.
This is one in a Media Life series on buying out-of-home venues. They appear weekly.
Advertising and sponsorship at winter carnivals.
Winter carnival event organizers handle advertising and sponsorship.
How it works
Winter carnivals are usually held during the coldest time of the year, the end of January and the first weeks of February. Some festivals in smaller towns are one-day events while larger carnivals can be two weeks long or more.
Top-level winter carnival sponsors have a presence throughout, including signage and banners at individual events, a presence on printed items such as ads or programs, and ads on the event web site.
Another high-profile option for brands is to sponsor events within the carnival that draw large crowds, such as fireworks displays or parades. A title or presenting sponsor receives mentions in the days and weeks leading up to the event.
Advertisers can be involved in the parade with a branded float or display as well.
Many winter carnivals have demonstrations and competitions for ice and snow sculptures, and brands can sponsor these events or even have a sculpture custom made to include the brand logo.
Other common winter carnival events include art shows, kid play areas, musical performances and ice skating areas. Some events have opportunities for advertisers to set up booths where they can interact with consumers and distribute samples or branded items.
As is the case with any other event that draws large crowds, street teams can be a good way to get in front of and interact with people. They can also distribute things that the audiences can use, such as free coffee or hot chocolate or branded hand warmers or scarves.
Many large and mid-sized markets in cold-weather states like Minnesota and Michigan host winter carnivals.
Attendance at winter carnivals varies by market. The St. Paul Winter Carnival attracts about 350,000 people annually to its various events over 11 days. The carnival in Quebec attracts about 400,000 over 17 days.
How it is measured
Carnivals track attendance at individual events to measure impressions. Individual advertisers can also track things such as how many samples or branded items are distributed.
What product categories work well
Recent or current winter carnival advertisers and sponsors include financial, retail, utilities, airlines, banks, restaurants, beverages and real estate.
Demographics vary by market, but the crowds are typically family-oriented and split evenly between males and females.
Among those who attend the St. Paul Winter Carnival, about 18 percent have an annual household income below $35,000, with 18 percent between $35,000 and $49,999, 21 percent between $50,000 and $74,999, 16 percent between $75,000 and $99,999 and 27 percent at $100,000 or higher.
Making the buy
Top-level sponsors typically secure deals in the late summer before the winter carnival. But provided there is available inventory, advertisers can get involved as late as a few weeks before an event.
Cost varies widely. Smaller one-off advertisers can be involved for $500, while top-level event sponsors can pay six figures.
Who’s already been at winter carnivals
Recent brands that have sponsored and advertised at winter carnivals include 3M, Wal-mart, Xcel Energy, Remax, Travelers, Securian, Southwest Airlines, Adirondack Bank, H&R Block, McDonald's and Bud Light.
What they’re saying
"It's a nice opportunity because it’s the dead of winter but people are still coming out. People are in good moods and so they're willing to listen and spend some money. It's a fun atmosphere to be a part of." – Beth Pinkney, president and chief executive officer at the St. Paul Winter Carnival.
Web site info
Saranac Lake Winter Carnival
Quebec Winter Carnival
St. Paul Winter Carnival
McCall Winter Carnival
Cooperstown Winter Carnival
Lake George Winter Carnival
Curtis Winter Carnival
Whitefish Winter Carnival
Stowe Winter Carnival
Beer Dabbler Winter Carnival
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