Can anyone explain just what the punter gets from a sponsored gig?
This post is prompted by the confirmation of the news that Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds are playing Dublin Castle on May 3. Tickets will go on sale on Friday at €49.50 a pop. Nothing wrong with that, you …
Nothing wrong with that, you might say. Nick needs the cash, there are a lot of Bad Seeds to pay and sure, he and his Mister Thirteen And Two Thirds Percent know Irish audiences are good for the ticket price.
This, though, is a Heineken Green Energy gig. It means Nick will be playing in front of a couple of beer lorries and banners, probably. It means the singer will be wearing a costume which makes him look like a big green bottle of beer, maybe. For sure, it means Heineken are paying quite a lot of cash to the promoter MCD to be involved in this festival and this gig.
So what’s in Heineken’s branding of this gig for the punter? Does the punter just have to be grateful with the chance to see the act? Why does the presence of a sponsor mean that the tickets are as expensive as they would be if the sponsor was not involved? Surely the tickets should be cheaper in that case? If Heineken are paying a lot of money to be involved, why isn’t some of that cash making its way to the punters who will come through the gates in the shape of cheaper tickets?
I’m not singling out Heineken here (I know they do a series of free gigs up and down the county which I’m sure they would claim offsets this), but it’s something which I’ve been wondering about for quite some time and which is becoming more and more relevant. As more corporates and brands move into the music market looking for exposure and association, what’s in this landgrab for the punter? For example, Nokia (by the way, whatever happened to the Nokia Trends Lab?) and Budweiser (through their Bud Rising gigs and fests) are two brands heavily involved in sponsoring music events in Ireland, yet the prices for the vast majority of their shows are as expensive as every unsponsored gig on sale at Ticketmaster.
Any brand managers care to take time out from their hectic schedules to answer these questions?