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Posts Tagged ‘promotional merchandise’

AEO and local residents fight Olympia tube closure

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

The event industry is joining forces with the local community to protest against plans by Transport for London (TfL) to cut District Line services to Kensington (Olympia).

Austen Hawkins, CEO of the Association of Event Organisers (AEO), who is leading industry opposition to the move, has already met with local resident Brendan McGrath, editor of campaign website www.myolympia.org.uk, to discuss how they can work together.

“Closing the District Line link to Olympia could kill the events business there, but away from my industry the closure of the line would have a real, and detrimental effect on local residents, particularly those with disabilities,” said Hawkins.

“Brendan has been fighting the closure on behalf of local residents. He has done an amazing job raising this issue, and has set up the excellent website which really highlights the many negative effects of the potential closure as well as telling people what they can do to save the connection. It makes total sense for us to work side by side in saving the line.”

Local residents and the AEO plan to organise a number of meetings with local politicians and possibly public protest events to highlight the importance of the connection to both business and the community.

“The consultation process has now been extended on three occasions, each time due to vigorous protests from local groups and politicians. It does make you think that they keep extending the process, because they are determined to push the closure through at any cost,” said Brendan McGrath.

Event numbers down but future looks brighter

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

Eventia, the official trade body of the events and live marketing industry, has just revealed research that indicates the impact of the recession on the UK business events sector.

In its survey entitled ‘UK Events Market Trends Survey 2011′ (UKEMTS11), Eventia shows that the overall value of the UK business events market fell by 13 per cent in 2010 compared with 2009. Although the number of events staged – some 1.3 million – was similar, the level of expenditure generated fell from £18.8 to £16.3 billion. This includes spend at venues and expenditure in the wider destination by organisers and delegates.

Whereas 26 per cent of events were residential in 2009, only 21 per cent were in 2010. The average event duration stayed the same at 1.5 days, but 68 per cent of events in 2010 lasted one day or less, compared to 64 per cent in 2009.

On a brighter note, the research shows that venue managers are optimistic about prospects for 2011, with 42 per cent anticipating that business will increase and 36 per cent expecting that it will remain the same. Interestingly, the figures also reveal a resurgence in corporate sector events, which accounted for 51 per cent of all events staged – compared to just 47 per cent in 2009.

The UKEMTS11 report is compiled from data supplied by a representative sample of 360 venues across the UK and is supported by major events industry organisations including VisitEngland, drpgroup, Conference News, Accor Hotels, Conference Centres of Excellence and Event Assured. Eventia Chairman, Rob Allen, commented, “UKEMTS is a crucial barometer of what’s happening in the business events sector and should be required reading for anyone who needs an informed view of the trends and changes in our sector. We shall be using the trends and other market intelligence revealed in this survey for education, marketing and advocacy purposes.”

The Bribery Act

Monday, July 25th, 2011

The Bribery Act has been the source of much debate in the world of corporate hospitality in recent weeks. Introduced on Friday 1st July, the act is among the toughest anti-bribery and corruption legislation in the world today.

However, most commentators feel that fears have been overstated. Indeed, the government has published guidance that makes it clear that it is not the intention for genuine hospitality or reasonable and proportionate business expenditure to infringe the law. The objective of The Bribery Act 2010 is to catch hospitality that is really a cover for bribery.

In his foreword to the guidance, Ken Clarke, Justice Secretary, made it clear that the new legislation was aimed at those responsible for corruption and not designed to burden unduly the vast majority of decent, law-abiding firms. For example, he said that nobody wants to stop firms getting to know their clients by taking them to events such as Wimbledon or the Grand Prix. So, corporate hospitality firms and suppliers of promotional marketing products – including custom-printed carrier bags – can breathe a collective sigh of relief!

For those interested in the fine print, for there to be an offence in a commercial context, the prosecution must show that the hospitality both provided an advantage to another person AND was offered or given with the intention of inducing the person to perform a relevant function improperly or in the knowledge that the acceptance of the advantage would in itself be improper performance.

New show to rival Confex

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

Ocean Media Group is set to launch a brand-new show to rival International Confex. To be called The UK Venue Show, the new exhibition will launch next year, being co-located with Ocean Media’s Event Production Show (formerly The Event Show) on 1 & 2 February at Olympia. The new show has already received support from some potential exhibitors, as well as the Association of Event Venues (AEV).

The UK Venue Show has cheekily booked its slot a month ahead of International Confex, organised by UBM Live, which will take place at its new venue of London ExCeL in March 2012. News of the rival event has been warmly greeted by the promotional goods market, as Confex exhibitors have traditionally been great customers for a variety of exhibition items such as carrier bags, pens and USB sticks, and new shows are always welcomed as a source of promotional marketing activity.

Commented the show’s Director, Tanya Cohen, “Running alongside the Event Production Show, staying in central London and capitalising on the increasing strength of the UK domestic market means we have an excellent USP – quite simply to give people exactly what they want and have been asking for.  We anticipate over 250 exhibitors and 5,000 visitors over two days in year one – with lots of exciting plans still to be announced.”

Ocean Media Exhibitions is a leading events organiser operating in four key areas: specialist fashion, events production, leisure and social housing. The company staged 16 events in 2010 in the UK, Holland, Germany and Poland, with its portfolio of shows supported by its magazines, websites and conferences.

QR codes: thinking outside the box (or bag!)

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

One of the hottest topics in marketing right now is the subject of QR codes. If you’ve not encountered the term before (where have you been?), QR stands for Quick Response. Looking something akin to a barcode, the QR code bridges the gap between the online and offline world and, as such, is set to revolutionise business by integrating marketing communications.

Although they resemble barcodes, QR codes can carry significantly more data – such as links, videos, text, photos and other content – and they don’t require a scanner to read them, as most modern mobile ‘phones can do this using their cameras (hence the ‘quick’). You have probably spotted them in magazines and newspapers, and perhaps on business cards, on T-shirts, on billboards and even in store windows.

How does the system work? Well, marketers put a QR code on an item – such as a magazine advert – and a user scans it with a smartphone. In order to read the QR code, the phone must have a QR code reader, which can be downloaded free from an app store (and many Android devices now come with QR code readers). The phone’s camera decodes the QR code and takes the appropriate action – for example, directing the user to a mobile website.

QR codes can be seen as ‘doors’ to digital content, with readers on smartphones acting as the ‘keys’. By allowing consumers to access dynamic content – anywhere and any time – QR codes hold all kinds of possibilities, particularly in terms of brand promotions and the provision of exclusive media content. Brand owners should be considering QR-coded stickers, T-shirts and carrier bags to promote their digital identity and connect their real and virtual worlds.

According to a recent study, 57% of Facebook users have scanned a QR code. The problem is that there are still vast swathes of the population that are not digitally literate and are not in the Facebook community. Plus, of course, not all of those that are on Facebook have yet adopted smartphone technology. This lack of understanding and participation has definitely been standing in the way of progress but the future for QR codes is bright. Most QR codes now simply link to the company’s mobile website, but brand owners are starting to think outside of the box, so this is one to watch!

Branded carrier bags: a powerful weapon in the marketing arsenal

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

When it comes to promotional marketing, the options are almost limitless. Once your logo exists in a flexible and portable format – EPS or PDF, for example – there is a plethora of relatively inexpensive marketing options, from USB sticks and pens to baseball caps and cool bags.

Few, however, have the versatility and universal appeal of a printed carrier bag. Whether it’s a printed paper bag or a branded plastic bag, this product is used by both genders, all ages and every demographic. Bags are, of course, particularly useful at exhibitions or other events, where visitors or delegates tend to collect a whole bunch of materials that need to be transported home or back to the office. They can be used to carry merchandise purchased in shops or for give-aways at corporate functions, as well as for press kits at product launches. Bag users unwittingly become advertising agents as they move about, promoting your message to everyone around them.

Is there anything that you can do to enhance the power of branded bags even further? Well, yes. They have to be functional, that’s a given – so strength in construction is important. But they can also be attractive. An aesthetically pleasing or trendy design will maximise the use the recipient makes of it and promote re-use on other occasions. This means that great design and high-quality printing contribute to the environmental friendliness of carrier bags. Of course, any copywriting on the bag must sell the brand, product or concept being promoted. It should be short and sweet – and correctly spelled!

Rob Allen returns as Eventia chair

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

Rob Allen has been named as the new chair of the industry association, Eventia. He replaces Mark Saxby, Sales and Marketing Director of Universal World Events, who has led the association for the past year. Mr Allen, CEO of experiential marketing and events agency, TRO, previously headed the association in 2007-8. The decision was made at the organisation’s AGM, held at the Science Museum on 8 June.

Said Rob Allen, “I am delighted to be back in the chair for a second term of office and especially encouraged by the really strong make up of our new board. Naturally we will continue to look at how we can add to and improve member services, and indeed work in stronger collaboration with other associations to beat the drum for the events industry in the UK.”

Simon Hughes, Director of Live Events for the Central Office of Information, has taken up the position of vice-chair – and will become chairman from 2012 – while Tracy Johnson continues in her role as Marketing Services Director. The AGM witnessed a number of changes to the board, with Mark Taylor of BI Worldwide, Stephan Roberge of Monaco Tourist Authority & Convention Bureau and Ruth Robinson of Lancashire & Blackpool Conferences all stepping down.

The financial figures for the year to the end of 2010 saw the association’s turnover dip, leading to a deficit of over £1,600. “We have had a tough year,” admitted Allen, “but our costs have been down by roughly the same proportion as our turnover. The good news is our membership base has broadened.”

Eventia signed up 67 new members last year and its total business membership now stands at 281, of which 37% are partners, 29% are agencies, 14% are overseas, 6% are affiliates and 2% are groups. The organisation now has nine corporate members – including Cisco, Barclays and Linklaters – and is aiming to grow that number.

Carrier bag report removed from EA website

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

Mystery surrounds the decision by the Environment Agency (EA) to remove an influential report from its website. The long-awaited report – which was scheduled for publication in 2007 but did not actually appear until February of this year – was removed from the EA website on 12 April due to ‘a legal query’. Its publication had been broadly welcomed by the packaging industry, as it concluded that cotton bags were actually no greener than plastic bags.

An EA spokeswoman recently told the website packagingnews.co.uk, “We removed the report on the Life Cycle Assessment of Carrier Bags from our website after we received a legal query regarding it. We are making some minor changes to provide clarification on technical points but, at this stage, do not expect the conclusions to change. We plan to publish it again very soon.”

The EA has not revealed the nature of the legal query, nor the identity of the organisation or individual who raised it. The report shows that HDPE bags are almost 200 times less damaging to the environment than the cotton bags favoured by green campaigners, and that they have less than one third of the C02 emissions of paper bags. Thus, in order to offset the small impact of each plastic bag, consumers would have to use the same cotton bag every working day for a year, or use paper bags at least three times before binning or recycling them. Critics of the report, however, have pointed out that its findings totally ignore the effects of plastic bag litter. All this comes at a pivotal moment, as the EU is considering a Europe-wide ban on single-use plastic bags as part of its plans to reduce the impact of plastic waste.

Over 25% of Olympic hospitality tickets sold

Friday, May 27th, 2011

Prestige Ticketing, official London 2012 hospitality ticket provider, has revealed to Haymarket’s Event Magazine that it has sold more than a quarter of its 88,000 hospitality packages for the London Olympic Games.

Whereas public tickets are being allocated by a random ballot process, the corporate tickets have been sold on a first-come-first-served basis since 15 March. Prestige says that the most popular tickets have been those for the athletics, rowing and diving events, closely followed by cycling at the Velodrome, gymnastics and beach volleyball, the latter taking place at Horse Guards Parade. While equestrian events, basketball and swimming have also been popular, tennis matches only just made the top ten in the popularity stakes. This may be due to the fact that the tennis events take place at the All England Tennis Club less than six weeks after the start of the Wimbledon tournament.

Prestige will be building temporary venues in the Olympic Park, Horse Guards Parade, Greenwich Park, Eton Dorney and Weymouth for the Olympics, with each having its own theme and design. The company has also secured all 96 boxes at the O2 Arena, which will be renamed the North Greenwich Arena for the duration – some hope of that catching on, we think! Hospitality ticket prices range from £325 per person up to a whopping £4,500 per person for an opening or closing event.

Boris creates cultural diary for London

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Flamboyant London Mayor, Boris Johnson, is working in co-operation with Visit London to produce The Culture Diary, an online resource detailing all the cultural events that will take place in the capital during London’s key year of 2012.

Organisations and individuals planning such events for next year can upload details for free at The Culture Diary, right up until 31 December.

Said Mr Johnson, “London is the most exciting city on the planet, let there be no doubt,” adding, “In 2012 we are going to put on one of the greatest shows on earth, and throughout the year, not just during the Olympic and Paralympic Games, our city will offer a cornucopia of wonderful cultural events, large scale and small, from east to west and from north to south.”

Boris encouraged London’s event organisers not to “hide our collective light under a bushel” – something he is rarely accused of himself, we might add – by missing out on the opportunity to be part of the 2012 calendar.