Digital, experiential a growing focus for TIFF partners in 2017

Acting director of corporate partnerships Reena Chohan on the sponsorship trends the organization is seeing heading into this year’s event.

Hollywood is about to descend on Toronto next month for the 2017 edition of the Toronto International Film Festival. And sponsors looking to get in on the action (and attention from the estimated 480,000 visitors) are increasingly going beyond the actual festival and into digital and experiential, according to Reena Chohan, acting director, corporate partnerships, TIFF.

New sponsors this year include Air France, IWC, Uniqlo and Acura. Over 30 partners are returning as repeat sponsors, including lead sponsor Bell and others such as L’Oreal Paris, Visa, Coach, Birks, Pepsi and Dairy Farmers of Canada.

Many activation details are still being ironed out, but so far Uniqlo formally has announced its sponsorship of the TIFF X Instagram Shorts Film Festival, which is running for the second year. IWC has signed on as sponsor of the Short Cuts Programme and Air France has been announced as the partner of the Platform Programme of films.

Chohan said she has noticed more of an emphasis on digital offerings this year, including social media integrations. While contracts are still being worked on (and, therefore, details are being kept under wraps), Chohan said new digital activations this year will include an original branded content series and a live red carpet content stream.

But that push towards digital has not come at the cost of interactive activation spaces. Many brands will be present on TIFF’s Festival Street, which closes down a section of King St. West to allow pedestrians to tour through various installations. Last year the street festival attracted an estimated 100,000 visitors.

Confection company Lindt, for example, will be on Festival Street this year, handing out samples of its new Lindor Fudge Swirl truffle. Bell will be present with a VR cinema experience created by Academy Award winner Brandon Oldenburg, as well as the Bell Lounge, which provides an up-close vantage point of the red carpet.

Chohan said sponsorship revenue for this year’s festival is tracking on par with 2016, but could not share exact figures.