If the Electric picnic had to have one sponsor who was suited to the brand it would have to be Electric Ireland.
There are many going along to Stradbally in the coming days who will just imagine that the Festival is so named because of the brand and to be fair they have been in it for the laung haul.
Entertainment for Business caught up with Electric Ireland’s group Sponsorship and Activation manager Edel McCarthy to see how the final plans were coming into place for Friday and beyond.
EfB: It must be a fun sponsorship to be involved with. How early do you start planning for the following year?
EMcC: For sure it is great to be involved with and while there is a huge amount of work that goes in from the team, it is willingly undertaken.
Every year we review what worked best and make whatever changes we feel are needed for the following year. We have had the Throwback stage now for five years and it has been very enjoyable working on who we would like to have appear on stage.
EfB: Is that something you are closely involved in?
EMcC: We have a great partnership with Live Nation and we tap into their global experience in terms of gaining access to the bands.
This past year we worked with Rothco as our lead agency and we had a sit down probably last October to start throwing names around as to who might be really popular.
Johnny Logan was such a jit last year that it was tempting to have him on again but in the end we decided to go further back in our picnic history and go with Bonnie Tylere as one of the headline acts.
Bonnie was part of our stage five years ago when this idea first formed but it was the Power Ballads stage then.
There is always a period then when it goes into the mix on fees and availibility. If a band is touring the US in September then they will hardly fly over for one gig but there are lots of other considerations as well.
EfB: You added N-Trance to the bill as well in recent days. The acts have a universal appeal but are they tilted towards a slightly older festival-goer?
EMcC: It’s always hard to pinpoint excatly. The Electric picnic audience has grown younger over recent years after Oxygen stopped, but it has retained an appeal within a group for whom this might be their inly festival of the year and we do tend to score well with that group.
EfB: As a mass market brand is it harder to get a real pinpoint on who yoou want to appeal to?
EMcC: It’s a fair question. We are not a cool drinks brand that can recreate Havana and know pretty much the exact kind of person they are going to attract and who are going to become a longer term customer.
Three are similar to us but have gone down the creativity route last year and this with their three Made by Music campaign. That’s really strong and it’s relevant to the brand through downloads and streaming.
We are more of a broad appeal so we have focused on nostalgia and bringing family events together.
It’s more of a relaxed vibe around our area with the lunchtime Cinema screenings and family activities. Kind of easing people into the day. It has worked really well for us.
EfB: how does the Picnic fit into your broader Sponsortship portfolio?
EMcC: We have what we refer to as our partnership promise which in essence means that any sponsorship we get involved with has to make the event better for our being there.
The relationshipwe have with Darkness Into Light is important across society and enables Pieta House to operate on a broader scale than would otherwise be the case.
With the GAA we are focused on youth and bringing the stories and the skills of the younger players to the fore.
Electric picnic has been about nostalgia for us but we are increasingly aware, through our customers of the strong sense of importance around sustainibility and there are strong features around that this year.
EfB: What will that look like?
EMcC: It’s in the small details and the bigger ones. All of our staff on site this weekend will be given a Festival pouch. In that they’ll have a refillable bottle which they can fill from a tap at our base. Trying to remove single use plastics is important and this area is one that we will be developing further.
We also provide all the energy efficient festoon lighting that will help to guide people around the site at night.
It’s fun but it has a serious side as well.
EfB:Will your stage look different this year?
EMcC: We work with Verve to create what people always see as a fun experience. The last few years that has been tweaking the Throwback idea rather than inventing from scratch. 2019 will be an itereation of last year but with Bonnie belting out the Ballads it’s always the music that matters most.
EfB: And finally how have you engaged with your own customers in the run up to this year?
EMcC: We always run a number of customer competitions to win tickets which attcat a huge entry. We also have fun givaeaways like Festival packs with Bamboo toothbrushes.
This year we ran a Bust-a-move competitin with Lords of strut which went down really well.
We are a part of the Festival and the way that people think about it. That’s a nice position to be in as a brand and certainly helps keep us front of mind with customers when the time comes to review their energy needs.