As February’s Mardi Gras celebration draws near, the city of New Orleans is now aiming to shore up festival sponsors with the help of MediaBuys.com, an online media buying club. MediaBuys is currently offering marketers the opportunity to be involved at multiple levels: their “Presenting Sponsor” packages, which include promotion before and during the celebration; press releases, signs, banners and product samplings during the festival; and PR coverage and placement in a national ad campaign, start at $2 million. Revenue generated through the Presenting Sponsor packages will go to the city, and will help pay for incidentals such extra police protection and emergency services throughout the festival.
For those whose pockets aren’t quite so deep, $5,000 — $250,000 “Advertising Support” packages (which include media promotion and commercial branding) are also available for purchase. These packages will allow sponsors to show their support for the city’s rebuilding efforts by having their brands displayed within the ad campaign on broadcast spots and in print & online ads.
This ambitious effort to help jump-start New Orleans’ Katrina-battered economy may push the budget for the Mardi Gras ad campaign into the multi-million dollar range. “Some [sponsors] will get involved for philanthropic reasons, but many have a vested stake in this market and would like to see it’s restructuring as soon as possible,” MediaBuys CEO, Chick Ciccarelli, offered in a recent statement.
This is the first time in the celebration’s 150-year history that the city has sought corporate sponsorship to help bear the cost of the endeavor, hoping that a big marketing push will help re-vitalize New Orleans’ tourism industry. In previous years, Mardi Gras has pumped more than a billion dollars into the local economy.