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How to get noticed at a major festival?

Written by Simon Drysdale 14 / 03 / 2013

For major events like the Brighton or Edinburgh Fringes, word of mouth, social media and attention-grabbing stunts are essential components of successful marketing campaigns.Here we look at how to get noticed at a major festival.

a guy all painted blue and scary for brighton festival

Image by Heather Buckley

Some lucky artists will have access to previews and reviews online and in printed media, perhaps a local radio interview. But most will need to rely on simple publicity tools they can generate for themselves.

The magic ingredient for any lively urban celebration of weird and wonderful entertainment is the humble handbill.  For centuries since the invention of the printing press leaflets have been the mainstay of advertising for local events.  Whether it’s a political rally, village fete, jumble sale or entertainment, the printed sheet still has the power to stimulate interest and call people to action.

Witness the UK’s major Fringe Festivals, Brighton and Edinburgh; boisterous handouts on the Royal Mile, and the more furtive, but equally compelling, distribution around the Lanes of Britain’s favourite seaside city (you need a licence to hand out leaflets in Brighton & Hove) are the mainstay of the marketing effort.  Leaflets push shows into the limelight and it’s hard to imagine these events without the immediacy and utility of this cheap, cheerful and compelling medium.

At Impact we put millions of leaflets into the hands of interested audiences each year.  We like to think we know what makes a good piece of printed publicity.  By that we mean something that is fit for purpose, something that engages the recipient enough to consider seriously the offer in front of them, and something that faithfully represents what it’s selling.

a scene in outer space on a leaflet for a play

Impact award winner 2012

This is our second year of running the Impact Award for printed publicity.  Last year we saw a fantastic array of leaflets promoting poetry, theatre, comedy, dance and live art.  The winner of our award in 2012 was comedian Mae Martin’s show Mae Day.   It was a difficult decision but we thought the leaflet embodied all the things needed in a successful printed marketing tool:

  • Visually engaging
  • A clear offer
  • Genuinely representative of the show
  • Contains all the necessary information
  • Stands out against competing print

 

So we look forward to seeing the entrants for this year’s award and their opportunity to win network distribution of their leaflet plus a cheeky little £250.  Judging by the buzz already emanating from the Brighton Fringe offices we’re not going to be disappointed!

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