tours are going digital
June 12, 2008
Simon Property Group
is aiming to make something that was once considered a
promotional event that only reached consumers for a
matter of hours into a fully integrated, interactive
event that creates buzz online long before -- and long
after -- the final performance.
"In the beginning, the tour would come into market, we
would pre-promote it and the experience would be there
for that first day, anywhere from four to six hours,"
said Cathi Weiner, senior-VP of Simon Brand Ventures.
"It has evolved into a stronger marketing platform, with
a very robust online strategy."
Online presence grows
While the company dabbled in digital technologies last
year, this year, executives say it's being taken to a
new level. Simon dTour Live, which kicks off on Friday,
will be the company's most interactive yet. More
resources were dedicated to the development of the
tour's MySpace and Facebook presence, as well as its own
website. A full-time blogger will chronicle the tour, as
well as serve as a host at the events.
At each event, there will also be more interactive
elements, which will serve the dual purpose of getting
the teens involved and providing Simon with plenty of
proprietary content for its sites and OnSpot Digital
Network, which is broadcast in 50 malls.
Coca-Cola will sponsor the Coke Photo Booth, where
consumers can take pictures with a simulated version of
Lebron James or other Olympic athletes. And it will have
its new touch-screen vending machines, where consumers
can download music and wallpaper, among other things, on
Getting in on the act
A separate video booth, will allow consumers to record
their own performances, which will be posted to the
dTour Live website, where fans can vote for their
favorite. Fans can also text messages to be displayed on
a screen during the performances.
Tod Dalberg, VP-business development at Simon Brand
Ventures, said that about two years ago the company
began thinking about ways to extend dTour Live beyond
the mall. "Obviously [consumers are] in our malls, but
[we wanted to figure out how to] touch them through
online, through text messaging, in all the places that
they live outside of the mall," he said.
The resulting program has increased the visibility of
the event, as well as its performers and partners,
executives said. ABC Family, Coca-Cola and Sprint are
key sponsors of the event. Talent for this year's event
includes All American Rejects, Kate Voegele and The
Switches. In the past, Ashlee Simpson, Taylor Swift and
Brooke Hogan have been headliners.
Average attendance at the tours has doubled and
continues to grow. Just a few years ago the average
venue attracted between 1,000 and 1,100, while last year
average attendance reached 2,500, with some locations
drawing between 4,000 and 5,000 fans. The tour has
driven enough sales of its artists' CDs to affect
standings on music charts, Ms. Weiner said.
"Clearly it's beneficial for Simon to deliver this type
of programming for the mall," Ms. Weiner said. "The
benefit to the artists and the brands is not only
touching the consumer face to face but also having that
connection on all of the additional media channels where
the consumer is."
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