What we like about this partnership: The tie-in between these two brands is so natural. The niche event gives the brand the chance to generate content and to get behind a cause.
A couple of musician friends jamming together was all it took to plant the seeds for The Best Fest, which has since become a New York institution that celebrates rock music greats from Bob Dylan to Tom Petty to The Rolling Stones.
Every year, as part of this event, a concert series brings artists together from different walks of life to create a one-of-a-kind experience that’s somewhere between a concert and a huge party. Stars of the music industry and the big screen appear on stage with an authenticity and an intimacy with the audience that is unparalleled. Despite its small size, music critics flock to the event and provide substantial media coverage.
Jameson, a unique Best Fest partner, has grown significantly in the last few years, alarming the brand’s faithful who make up the core of its consumer base. Barmen, hipsters and whiskey lovers have expressed concern that their brand of choice is catering a little too much to the general public. It was important for Jameson to show them some love.
The Best Fest is a great fit for Jameson’s image, and it gives the brand the chance to create interesting content where the product plays a subtle background role. The brewery finances the undertaking on its own and gives all of the proceeds from ticket sales to the Jameson Neighbourhood Fund, which redistributes the money to local charities that provide education and resources to the local bartender, musician and craft communities. This initiative falls perfectly in step with the brand’s strategy of strengthening its ties with its first followers—the very people who inject life into the neighbourhood.
The partnership has been successful because it is aligned with the current trend towards smaller and more intimate events that generate buzz, both on site and online with content generated for digital consumption. Jameson is well suited to such an environment, and it also brings the added dimension of its own cause, which strikes a chord with the fan base. As a result, the company succeeds in pulling off multiple communication objectives.
In sponsorship, companies often make the mistake of getting on board with an event that is already saturated with partners, making it difficult to bring its own brand experience fully to life. There are two other options for sponsors to consider: creating an event from scratch, which can be costly, or finding an under-the-radar event with a ton of potential. The latter generally tends to be a smaller affair with few partners involved.
Joining forces with a growing organization comes with its fair share of risk, but it can pay off big for a company that gets in early and contributes to the success of the event in a lasting way that benefits the brand.
However, compared to building a property from scratch, partnering with a growing event doesn’t give a sponsor as much power or control. New sponsors will always want to come on board. And there’s the danger of sponsorship rights increasing as the event draws bigger crowds. Still, for brands that aren’t in a position to create their own event, partnering up with one that is growing in popularity can prove to be a profitable venture.
With The Best Fest, Jameson has found a distinctive territory, a unique atmosphere, a sense of authenticity and a bond with the public. They got on board at the right time, and have created a partnership that reflects their image and their target audience to a tee. The partnership also gives them the chance to produce interesting content and communicate their commitment to a cause.
Lastly, by giving all of the profits from the partnership to a charitable organization, Jameson also benefits from a more human brand image—an approach that is part of the rising trend of cause sponsorship, which is becoming more and more popular.