Brand opps on offer for Rogers Picnic

Hot bands are lining up to appear at a cool event in an offbeat venue, and marketers are being invited to partake of the scene.

Rogers Wireless is the presenting sponsor for the inaugural Rogers Picnic, skedded for July 29 at the unusual venue of historic Fort York in downtown Toronto. Also off the beaten track is a mobile element enabling tickets to be SMS’d to buyers’ phones, with the digital result substituting for paper tickets at the event. And during the picnic, music fans will be encouraged to vote by SMS in real time for which songs they want the bands to play during their encores.

Event partner The Source will soon launch a mobile contest in which wannabe picnic-goers can text PICNIC to 4744 for chances to win full VIP access, including chowing down and hanging out with the artists, for six. This will be promoted on 10,000 premium items delivered via street teams.

With Nokia as official handset partner of the event, an interactive tent, co-branded with Rogers, will feature local DJ’s spinning music off of Nokia 5300 Xpressmusic handsets, plus street teams demo-ing Rogers MusicStore features on the 5300.

Brand exposure opps are still on offer, Rogers rep Philip Camino tells MiC, for ‘the right kind’ of other marketers. What he means is that ‘this is going to be a very cool, very youth-oriented, Toronto-specific community event. So all the brand integration needs to fit in with that.’ Possibilities include signage, sampling, product display in a vendor village, and food and beverage sponsorship. The organizers are also interested in attracting sponsored art installations.

Fort York’s capacity of 7,500 doesn’t allow for mass attendance. But a desirable demo – youthful music fans – is bound to be attracted by such bands as The Roots, Bedouin Soundclash, Bad Brains, Little Brother and Apostle of Hustle. Camino says additional acts, both home-grown and international – possibly even headliners Sam Roberts and K-OS – will end up on stage.

Promotion for the Rogers Picnic began yesterday with full-page ads in local free weeklies NOW and Eye and will run for six weeks. National pubs Exclaim! and Vice will carry full-page ads throughout June and July, plus banner ads on their websites. Facebook, blogs and online message boards began viral buzz after a write-up appeared in the Toronto Sun on April 29. Edge 102.1 and Flow 93.5 are the event’s radio partners, and one or both may broadcast the concert. A wild posting campaign will begin in Toronto later this month and, once all the talent is confirmed, testing revolving around My5 will be launched.

Media buys and creative design are being handled by the event’s promoters, Toronto-based REMG Entertainment and Embrace Productions.