Last month I attended a festival in Croatia on the beautiful island of Pag, a remote dot of land within the northern Adriatic Sea. Swapping wrist watches for wristbands, my friends and I headed to Hideout Festival for week-long jaunt on a beach to enjoy a medley of our favourite DJs and artists.
Maybe it’s a sign of the times (or my age), but towards the end of the holiday – while throwing some particularly impressive shapes during a boat party – I found myself reflecting on how well organised the whole event had been from a comms perspective. In fact, I postulated, clear communication between the organisers and the 10,000 revellers had been absolutely critical for the festival to have been a success.
Now you may be thinking this true with any festival or large-scale event, and you would be right. But then, not every festival is on small, relatively unknown Croatian island with limited internet access and that was only, until recently, renowned in its homeland for its distinctive cheese and for being the home of the first Croatian wind farm. Throw in the fact that the vast majority of my fellow festival-goers were English and that the locals predominately spoke Croatian or German only, it was crucial – as customers – for us to know what was going on.
With 3G/4G too expensive to use and Wi-Fi hotspots scarce, we found ourselves deprived of our third arm – the smartphone and its infinite browsing-wisdom! Without it, you had the potential for 10,000 revellers to turn into 10,000 giant children, all meandering the streets; lost, desolate and confused. But fear not! In stepped Hideout, our surrogate mother, bearing a conveyor belt of print at every turn!
From the airport to our accommodation to the festival itself, print was at hand throughout to inform, advise, reassure, and cleverly, to sell. And it’s the latter that made the strongest impression on me personally. How often are you handed a flyer that you never read and merely drop at the next convenient opportunity? All the best deals are online, right? All tailored, personalised and delivered to your inbox. And that usually works. But what if your target market cannot access the internet at a peak time? How then, does the marketer reach his consumer and take advantage of having the latter on his temporary doorstep?
For the Hideout marketing team, it meant a return to print and a clear return on investment. Included in our welcome packs was a two-page flyer – printed on some beautiful card – announcing that the company was launching another festival in Croatia. It was the sort of marketing collateral that if my iPhone had been able to access the internet, I may not have even looked at. But it was a striking piece of print. And with no other media channels to keep myself busy in those rare moments of quiet, I must have picked it up and re-read it fifty-odd times over the duration of the holiday. And I wasn’t the only one. That new festival was the talk of the plane on the way back, with the flyer clasped in every other passenger’s hand. Print ensured Hideout was a success, and no doubt laid the foundations for the new festival to be a triumph too.