The Carnival De Rio De Janeiro
The Rio de Janeiro is the world most prestigious Carnival and serves as the benchmark against which all other Carnivals are measured. The Carnival celebrations are spread across towns and villages all over in Brazil, with Rio de Janeiro acting “as the Carnival Capital of the World” (Rio Carnival, 2010). Being more of a religious event than a conventional cultural event, Carnival celebrations are also carried out in other Catholic countries all over the world 40 days before Easter. The collective annual attendance for the various towns and villages exceeds 500, 000 in the four official days for the event, and indicator that, the Rio Carnival has grown in leaps and bounds since its inception in 1850.
Critique of the Rio Carnival Marketing Communication Strategy
The steady growth of the Rio Carnival over the years has been occasioned by the marketing communication strategies employed by its organizers. Precisely, this has accorded the event status that surpasses its original meaning – it is seen as not just a fun place but also an opportunity for learning the rich Brazilian culture, particularly the Samba dances and parades. The marketing communication strategy employed can be analyzed into the 4 Ps – prices, placement, prices, and promotion as follows (Rio Carnival, 2010).
The Rio Carnival Product range of products includes the Samba dance which is considered as part of the Brazilian rich culture. This is a dance performed with much zeal and is by far the most glamorous product on offer in the Rio carnival. In addition, the Samba Schools or simply social clubs facilitate entertainment during the Samba Parade. There also exist street bands which offer “free-range” entertainment along the streets and popular joints particularly in the evening hours. Collectively, these products are wrapped in the Samba Parade, the Rio Carnival’s emblem of entertainment that comprises of a host of other products (entertainments and of course competitions) (Rio Carnival, 2010).
By fair terms, the Rio Carnival placement strategy can be considered as relatively effective. Precisely, the event organizers provide a number of competitive packages for persons who book in advance (3-4 months prior to the event). These packages comprises of a range of entertainment services at offer ranging from the reservation of seats as well as box tickets at the exclusive sectors of the bleachers, with special treatment (reservations for specific places in the Samba parade) is also given to attendees who make prior arrangements (Rio Carnival, 2010).
On the other hand, it can also be asserted that the Rio Carnival pricing strategy has positively impacted on the event attendance. Basically, the organizers invest in modern event hosting techniques that allow for direct coordination with all the attendees, hence avoiding any risks of exploitation by middlemen. The prices for the various packages are fixed according to the exclusiveness of the bleachers in the Samba Parade, with the allocated stands package being the most affordable and flexible as one can keep their seats for the whole night without the fear of loosing them. Essentially, the packages range from the grandstands, the allotted stands, the front box packages or simply the Frisas, and the luxury suite packages. The payment for the Samba Parade tickets is done through credit card and PayPal, with the actual tickets issued to the attendees in exchange of the electronic voucher on arrival in Rio (Rio Carnival, 2010).
Part of the promotional strategy encompasses a range of goodies for attendees willing to make prior reservations for the Samba parade. These goodies are fixed according to the value or exclusiveness of the packages purchased. Basically, they range from printed guides, t-shirts, rain coats, cushions, well labeled tickets, official Carnival magazine, drinks, appetizers, as well as beautifully customized bags. In addition, attendees who buy three or more of these exclusive packages are given the official CD for the events most exclusive Samba Parade group (Rio Carnival, 2010).
Proposed marketing Communication Strategy
The proposed marketing communication strategy for the Rio Carnival is hinged on the conventional wisdom that, customers (attendees) should not be viewed as targets but partners without whom an event cannot be successful (Kitchen, 1999). In this regard, it is hereby postulated that, the nature of the Rio Carnival demands that the salient cultural practices that have over the years been the main center of attraction should not be compromised for monetary gains.
Therefore, so as to enhance attendance while still upholding the richness of the Brazilian culture (Samba Parade), there is need to carryout a comprehensive survey among the attendees, Brazilian citizens, as well as global cultural events experts so as to establish whether the quality of the products offered has over the years been compromised due to the increasing number of attendees (Marketing Communications Strategy, n.d.). As it seems, there are very high chances that some of the salient Brazilian culture have been eroded due to the urge to rake in maximum benefits foe the event organizers as well as property owners and other business personalities in the country. Perhaps, the prevailing hard economic times has impacted heavily on the quality of some of the events such as the Samba Schools, street bands as well as the Samba Parade.
This argument is given impetus by Chen & Xie (2008) and Johnson et al (2004) postulations that, consumers (attendees) are heterogeneous. For instance, though they may still be loyal to the event (as confirmed by the high attendance), they may at the same time harbor resentful opinions regarding to the quality of some of the cultural practices or even auxiliary services such as the sanitation in the places of abode (hotels) traffic jams, high transport costs, or even unnecessary delays in the exchange of foreign currencies.
In addition, and as Schultz (cited in Kerr & Patti, 2002, p.2382) postulates, in contemporary “…marketing systems, there is almost no organization that can separate or isolate advertising, no matter how it is defined, from other promotional and communication elements…” the Rio Carnival organizers should consider incorporating an interactive and comprehensive promotional drive alongside the above described survey. Such comprehensive promotion drive should be aimed at sensitizing the public (local and international) about the main idea behind some of the salient cultural showpieces graced in the Rio Carnival (Marketing Communications Strategy, n.d.; Duncan, & Moriarty, 1998).
Given the volume of information expected as well as the expanse distance to be covered from such multi-pronged strategy, modern media innovations such as internet, mobile communication technology as well as other conventional forms of communication, should be utilized (Marketing Communications Strategy, n.d.; Chen & Xie, 2008). Essentially, it should adopt Schultz (1994) notion of brand communication, which is hinged on collectivity as opposed to segmentation. In this regard, it should involve all forms of media (online, print, radio, audio, and visuals) so as to reach out as many potential attendees as possible in predominantly catholic countries as well as non-Catholic ones (Baldinger, 1996). [see appendices for a structured representation]
The strategies strengths lies on Schultz (1998) clarifications that the aggregation of all communication stimuli send by the subtotal of the communication elements (product, placement, price, and promotion) enhances an organizational efficiency. Moreover, while adopting a practical approach to determine the overall impact of such communication efforts, Shultz (1998) also adds that, organizations should effectively carryout the cost-benefit analysis of such communication – costs incurred in adding new customers as well as retaining the existing ones while still increasing the value for their dollars so as to increase their overall purchasing power.
Though this strategy might be a little bit expensive, it is envisages its long term benefits should be gratifying. After all, as hinted by Masterman and Wood (2006), such marketing communication strategy should not aim at increasing the total revenue collected through the sale of tickets as well as corporate sponsorship deals but should aim at achieving the “goals specific to the direct effects of communication, e.g. brand awareness, response rates, attitude change, offer take-up, personal recommendations..” as well as other communication aims (p.8). in this regard, the Rio Carnival organizers should not be shy in investing huge amounts of critical resources as this strategy’s underlying idea is destined to enriching the core products (cultural practices) which in this cannot be duplicated by any other competitor (other global annual events). In a nutshell, this strategy qualifies to what Masterman and Wood (2006) refer to as “objective-and-task” given the noble objectives it espouses (p.11).
Baldinger, A. (1996). Integrated Communication and Measurement: The Case for Multiple Measures in Integrated Communication: Synergy of Persuasive Voices, edited by Thorson, E. and Moore, J.. New Jersey USA: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Chen, Y. & Xie, J (2008). Online Consumer Review: Word-of-Mouth as a New Element of Marketing Communication Mix. Management Science, 54 (3), 477–491.
Duncan, T. & Moriarty, S. (1998). A Communication-Based Marketing Model for Managing Relationships. Journal of Marketing Vol. 62.
Johnson, E., Moe, W., Fader, P., Bellman, S., & Lohse, J (2004). On the depth and dynamics of world wide web shopping behavior. Management Sci. 50(3) 299–308.
Kerr, G.F. & Patti, C.H. (2002). Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC): Where to from here? ANZMAC 2002 Conference Proceedings, pp.2381-2387.
Kitchen, P. (1999). Marketing Communications: Principles and Practice. London: International Thomson Business Press.
Marketing Communications Strategy. London Centre of Marketing, Module 13. Retrieved September 26, 2010, from: www.lcmuk.com/…/Module%2013.Marketing%20Communications%20Strategy.Notes.pdf/Masterman, G. & Wood, E.G (2006). Innovative marketing communications: strategies for the events industry. Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann.
Rio Carnival: The Rio Carnival Guide (2010). Retrieved September 26, 2010, from: http://www.rio-carnival.net/Schultz, D. (1994). Trying to determine ROI for IMC,” Marketing News, January 3.
Schultz, D. (1998). Determining how brand communication works in the short and long terms. International Journal of Advertising, Volume 17 Issue 4.
Envisaged design material structure for the proposed marketing communication strategy.
Source: (Marketing Communications Strategy, n.d., p.46).