Ever hear of Wacken in Germany? Every year, this boondocks town in the German State of Schleswig-Holstein, population just over 1800, hosts the world’s biggest heavy metal festival. Last weekend, with 75,000 music fans in attendance, Wacken Open Air (WOA) proved how valuable the entertainment environment can be for advertising brands.

The economic potential of the entertainment industry is undisputed, with fascinating collaborations cropping up again and again – some even span genre boundaries: This year marked the first time that WOA organizer ICS cooperated with eSports company Electronic Sports League (ESL). Wacken Open Air featured a dedicated, 1800 m² eSports zone, blending eSports and heavy metal. It showcased demonstration matches and involved metal bands and pro-teams.

Coffee producer Melitta is another example. As a sponsor to no less than five festivals in Germany including Wacken Open Air, the brand not only focuses on the “enjoyment of coffee”, but also offers many other activities. By the way, Melitta is also active in the sports industry, and has been official coffee partner to Manchester United, record champion of the English soccer league since November 2017.

German discount supermarket brands like Penny or Lidl have extremely strong presences at festivals. They supply festival-goers with everything they need to survive the festival weekend. Besides the awareness boost among music fans, the brands benefit from the multiple touchpoints with them through their involvement. This creates wide range of activation opportunity on-site and via digital communication channels.

Effective communication is increasingly becoming a challenge for brands. More and more consumers are avoiding advertising environments directly, credibility is low, and the brand overload in classic advertising media is a major problem. Clever brands like the examples above reacted to this a long time ago, and go where their consumers have fun!

Fun is a natural and obvious consequence of the hedonistic society. People go where they can have fun and be entertained, either alone or with like-minded others. For years, popular sporting events have attracted huge numbers of spectators to stadia and arenas; many festivals are sold-out and continue to grow at an amazing pace. eSports events are also growing in popularity. In short: The entertainment market is booming. Target group analyses by Nielsen Sports also reveal enormous potential overlaps between the interest groups of different entertainment genres:

Entertainment 360 – Target group profile

In particular, it is the high-purchasing-power and brand-focused generations that want to have fun. A financially strong customer-base that spends less time in front of their TVs, and is more likely to attend appealing entertainment events, liking, sharing and communicating them in digital media.

From a sponsorship point of view, the positive aspect of this is that many brands are already in the heart of things! Some consumer brands have succeeded in associating themselves with fun and entertainment of all kinds. The successful examples mentioned above, as well as the almost daily reports of new deals, e.g. in the eSports sector – including Deutsche Telekom, Mercedes-Benz or McDonald’s – are impressive proof of this.

However, this approach is not only for the top dogs, even smaller brands can find ways to fill a niche in the entertainment sector. They can communicate specifically with their target groups, emotionalize their brand, make their communication credible and keep up with the latest trends in their targeted community.

The most important thing for marketers to remember is don’t be replaceable! The brands are often exclusive in their categories and form a close bond with the entertainment sector.

As a result, we want to give you four good reasons for successful brand communication in the entertainment sector:

  1. Choose a growth market – Entertainment is growing, everywhere!
  2. Be different, be credible – Strong performances in entertainment environments can help you!
  3. Be where your customers have fun and consume!
  4. Entertainment goes viral – Benefit from strong digital communication on entertainment topics!

If you are looking for other ideas and inspiration for successful implementation of your entertainment strategy, you can contact me – or visit a 1,800-citizen village in Schleswig-Holstein next year

Lars Stegelmann
Executive Vice President Commercial
Tel.: +49 171 6453311