Branded

Image“Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing, but nobody else does.” – SH Britt

In a scenario of a sponsored event, should spectators or members of the audience be refrained or prohibited from wearing a shirt or any item of clothing with a brand name of another company not sponsoring that event?

                From the point of view of the sponsors, I bet they would side on the positive. Imagine after shelling out thousands of pesos in sponsoring the event, another company can just pay for 10 tickets, hire people to attend the event, dress them with their brand name or logo and just easily catch the attention of the cameras. Boom. Free advertisement. They’d wish they had thought of that earlier. But instead, their logos are relegated to banners displayed side-by-side with other sponsors on the walls of the event ground. It would be lucky if the cameras will even pan on their direction. Other brands would be luckier (well, richer.) if they are able to close a deal with the production arm for exclusive on-site selling. But of course that comes with an even bigger price tag. Not to mention, if the event is filmed live via satellite (or televised at a later time), the TV network will more or less have their own advertisers who have already paid for their commercial slots.

                Reality is, if you don’t have the money, you must have the brains (or a team working for you who has them) to devise other ingenious (and cheap) ways to put your brand out there for everyone to see. If you don’t have both, maybe it’s time to re-think if you’re on the right wagon.

                From the point of view of the production team, maybe they’ll swing more to the side of their sponsors since they were the ones who convinced them in the first place to shell out thousands to support the event. Just imagine the nightmare of having to face an angry sponsor lashing out on you about not being able to control an obvious premeditated (and rather successful) feat of another company or brand (worst, their competitor) advertising freely.

Honestly, could you have controlled it? You wish.

It will be heaven for any production or events team if they can control the will of their audience. No rowdy behaviour, everyone will happily form their lines in the entrance gates, no one attempting to upgrade their seats by jumping down barriers, no scalpers, no illegal filming of the event, no one will attempt to bring in anything prohibited, no request for refunds, everyone will be perfectly happy.

You wish.

The thing is, can the events crew even prohibit those people from wearing other brands? Can they attempt to throw those people out of the event? Of course not. Those are people who legitimately bought tickets. So unless they are hitting each other with beer bottles in the head, or flashing, or doing anything illegal, they have the right to stay.

Can a dress code be imposed in an event? In a wedding, maybe. But I haven’t had the occasion of attending a concert with a specific dress code imposed prohibiting  brands who are not the event sponsors displayed on shirts and I don’t think it’s a very good idea to start having one. It might even pose as a detriment rather than an advantage for the sponsor.

From the point of view of the audience, definitely it will be on the negative. People don’t respond well whenever there’s an attempt to control them especially if it’s not for a good reason. Audience won’t give a rat’s ass about some contract between a producer and an advertiser. They are there for the event and they should be allowed to wear anything they want (as long as they are wearing something).

                From my own point of view: it depends on the event.

                If the event is one presented or done directly by the company/brand, then I feel that it is only right that clothing exposing other brands/logos (especially their direct competitors) can be prohibited in the event.

                An example of this would be the Bench Fashion Show. Imagine if 10 people sitting in the front row of the event are wearing shirts bearing “Penshoppe” or whatever competitor brand that Bench has. It just isn’t right. Friendly competition between brands is healthy but that act would be downright low and can constitute as a sabotage. Between competing brands (or any two entities competing, for that matter), there must always be mutual respect.

                But if the event is not specifically created or done directly for or by a specific brand (band concerts, professional sports games, etc.), then I feel that people attending such event (who most probably paid to get in) should be allowed to wear anything they wish. It’s not entirely about the fact that I paid to get in but it’s about having the freedom to choose what I want to wear.

                If people/companies/brands choose to take advantage of such events or situations, then let them. I feel that it is in the hands of the production or events team to deal with them. Not by asking them to leave the event, but by consciously filtering what they televise on the live feed.

                First of all, they are the ones under contract with the sponsors so it is their obligation to make sure that the sponsors get the exposure that they paid for.

                The latest concert I attended/watched was that of Maroon 5. It was amazing. I can remember what songs they sang and what was being sold inside Araneta during the concert but I couldn’t recall any of its sponsors.

                Maybe events are not the best venue to advertise since no matter how much money you spend on tarpaulin, posters, on-air exposure, etc., there will always be something bigger than you. And that’s the event itself. So unless you do something grand on the event itself, or have Adam Levine wear your shirt (then take it off), more or less the audience will just forget about you.

Second, being the ones in charge of the event and having the power to be anywhere inside the events grounds, they are the ones who should be aware of the presence of people hired for the sole reason of hoping to get free exposure or air time. Then they should instruct their cameramen to avoid filming these people.

I have experienced watching TV shows shown in cable TV where the network blurs brand names in some shows to avoid free advertising. They may choose to also do the same thing.

The point is the freedom of choice of the people should not be sacrificed for the mere fact that certain groups of people paid big bucks in order for their logos to appear on the event’s materials. It is not the obligation of the people to comply with an internal agreement between a sponsor and the events handlers. 

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