Vodafone adds boutique festivals to sponsorship line-up
Mobile operator puts €4m into music and comedy events
Solange Knowles performing in east London last weekend. The singer is one of the main-stage acts at next month’s Body & Soul festival, which Vodafone has added to its sponsorship list. Photograph: Yui Mok / PA Wire
Vodafone is investing €4 million in festival sponsorships over the next 18 months as it adds this weekend’s Forbidden Fruit in Dublin, the Body & Soul festival in Co Westmeath, Sea Sessions in Co Donegal and Castlepalooza in Co Offaly to its summer calendar.
Brand manager Paula Murphy describes the events as boutique festivals with broad appeal. The mobile operator already sponsors Live at the Marquee in Cork and Electric Picnic, as well as the Vodafone Comedy Festival in Dublin’s Iveagh Gardens.
Festival sponsors’ on-site activity has evolved in recent years in tandem with increasing smartphone penetration, says Murphy.
“We always offered recharging facilities, but for the last two years we have set up social media stands, so, for example, you can get a picture taken with a funny backdrop at the comedy festival and post it to Facebook.”
Sponsorship activity must have the right fit with the festival, she adds. Vodafone ties in its corporate social responsibility programme World of Difference with Electric Picnic, offering Stradbally-goers the chance to win a year’s salary to leave their job and go and work for the charity of their choice.
“The sort of people who go to Electric Picnic, they tend to be quite environmentally conscious and they tend to be socially conscious.”
Vodafone plans to ramp up its distribution of festival content on social media this summer, promoting video clips and “buzz” through an online platform it is calling Vodafone Centre Stage.
Tapping into one-off performances has become a more pleasurable experience for armchair music fans, says Murphy. “The quality of the online video content is so much better than it used to be.”