26 November, 2020 | 4:00 - 6:00 PM _________________________________________________________________________________ FESTIVAL CONNECTIONS
An Annual Programme of Expertise, Knowledge, and Networking between India and the UK. Sponsorship and festivals: Through the looking glass __________________________________________________________________________________
In India, with the lack of cultural funding from the government, brand sponsorship has been a lifeline to many a festival. Both homegrown and international brands have supported festivals. Brands that range from banking to beverages, and oil to automotive -- these sponsors support some of the biggest names in the festival sector.
In this session, we explored the dynamic role between brand sponsorship and festivals and the changes it has undergone in recent times. The panel included Jobin Mathew, Media, Digital and PR Head at Asian Paints, Ravi Deecee, Founder, Kerala Literature Festival and CEO at DC Books and Udit Mediratta, Director, Brand Marketing at AB InBev. Jobin spoke of the association of Asian Paints and St+art Foundation and how they have collaborated together for multiple festivals and projects across the past decade. Ravi explained to the audience the sponsorship model of the Kerala Literature Festival (KLF), which interestingly does not have a title sponsor. He mentioned how KLF has a numerous small sponsors chipping in with little sums, and well-wishers who support them through F&B, Hospitality and Travel. Udit Mediratta from Ab InBev was looped in to the conversation by the moderator of the panel discussion, Rashmi Dhanwani. Udit addressed concerns around, finding the right partners to support festivals, integrating the brand identity indirectly through festival experiences and the importance of co-creating cultural projects. The panel also discussed the social objectives of brands in their support of festivals and the metrics they use to decipher the value of a cultural project. They also explained how they revamped their strategies during COVID-19 to support the cultural organisations they partner with to ensure the continuity of projects. The discussion closed with an intimate Q&A with the audience which comprised of festival directors, managers and other cultural professionals.