Not only has The Times launched a great new-look website, but the daily newspaper has also pledged its support for the 2011 Out in Africa Film Festival, which is dedicated to screening films for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender audiences.
“Briefly, it is not a sponsorship as such, as there is no cash support. Rather we are a media partner and we give Out In Africa about R240 000 worth of ad space to promote the festival in exchange for the brand association,” said Susan Russell, general manager of marketing at Avusa. “The media partnership came about following a similar media partnership we have with the organisers of the Encounters Documentary film festival.”
It is the kind of support Out In Africa needs as sponsorship in these trying economic times can be tricky. Organiser Nodi Murphy makes no bones about it. On the OIA website, is a button dripping ‘blood’ that says it all: BLOODY GIVE. [http://www.oia.co.za/8333-programme/]
As Murphy said, there is ‘little’ budget for bells and whistles, such as advertising, so The Times’ ad support is most welcome. “We have little budget for advertising – other than our website and printed programme,, which is more marketing than advertising. So we actively pursue what I call ‘editorial’ – reviews and interviews on all platforms – print, television and radio.”
Russell said that as The Times is “a relatively new title” she looks for interesting opportunities to increase brand visibility. “It is part of our strategy to look for associations with events/properties that do not already have media support or sponsorship and that we feel will be of interest to our readers and to people who might not already read The Times, but will once they have experienced it,” Russell said.
For example The Times sponsored the first Comics Choice Awards.
“The Times is a lively and opinionated newspaper, with a like-minded readership, and we feel our media partnership with both Encounters and OIA reflects that. We’re happy to continue the association and editorial has supported both events with some coverage and ticket giveaways,” she said.
In the meantime, in the lead up to the main festivals taking place in August, Murphy and her team are working on a digital strategy to help grow support and sponsorship.
“We have a generic digital advert that goes up on Nu Metro screens some weeks before the Festival opens. This advert is also on our website. We made great use of our database, Twitter and Facebook for the last outing in April and it worked very well,” Murphy said.
“We also work with all the LGBTI orgs and they assist by putting a button on their site and posting info out to their databases. There are some sponsor’s sites where we are included as an even.”
Great news is that they are also preparing an app for smart phones. “Basically, it will download the programme to your phone. We will also make use of QR codes so smart phone users can just point, press and download,” she explained.
“We put out a call for designs for our covers for this year and had a great response from designers and schools that generated excitement, which got our audience involved,” said Murphy.
Last year’s ad campaign involved eight different covers for the programme, Murphy said, which gave them “variety for a campaign”. “This year our design morphs slightly from programme to programme, but this means that we run the same advert in all issues of the Sunday Times and The Times in which we are included.”
The elements of this year’s publicity campaign will include the programme, posters, Facebook, Twitter, databases, print adverts, cinema adverts…
“And we hope to include trailers of individual films which we will ‘top and tail’ with the Festival artwork and the screening dates. These too can be screened by Nu Metro in their digital cinemas before the Festival opens.
“With regard to the Sunday Times/The Times, they too are an AVUSA company and in support of Nu Metro they offer us ‘unsold inventory’. So the danger is that if a paying ad comes in we may be moved…but they give us everything they promise. They are a nice company to work with,” she said.
Murphy said that in terms of support for this year’s event, they are still looking for a car sponsorship. “We have accommodation, restaurants, may have flights and money from the relevant international arts councils. We want to sell adverts on web and in programme and have a strategy for that.”
For more information, www.oia.co.za
Watch the advert here: http://www.youtube.com/outinafricaFF/