Types of competitive events:

Competitive events can be divided into various types. These are contests which test sporting skills, artistic talents, knowledge levels or compare participants on the basis of any other parameter as a constraint within a certain set of rules and regulations applicable to all. Sports, Talent and Beauty contests are the most visible examples of competitive events.

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Competitive events, being the most popular events category, have tended to become mass audience oriented. The live telecast opportunity for the television media – and thereby increased scope for reach and revenue-has tended to blur the interaction part of the benefit that events provide.

In addition, the excitement generated during such an event grips the spectators. Any interaction diverting their attention from the contest could be perceived as an intrusion. Therefore, competitive events provide more reach and fewer interactions. Given these characteristics, competitive events are primarily used for:

(i) Visibility and exposure to the brands

(ii) Prolonged impact

(iii) Corporate/brand awareness

(iv) Consolidating the positioning of brands

(v) Merchandising and sale of licensed products around the event

The most popular competitive events are sporting events. The hysteria surrounding the 2000 Olympic Games held in Australia is proof of the popularity associated with sports so much so that it is touted as the “greatest show on planet Earth Games have always evolved from the ethos and lifestyles of the people.

Converting everyday activity by exaggerating the constraints into a competition was a sure shot way to have fun and test peoples’ courage and wisdom. If not each community, in general every nation at least has a few games that have evolved indigenously.

The popularity of sporting events and its prolonged impact can be judged by the relaunch of Prudential, a UK-based insurance company, in India.

The Prudential World Cup of 1983 will remain forever etched in the minds of millions of cricket aficionados in India. One of the world’s greatest all-rounder’s and the Indian captain in the 1983 World Cup held in England, Kapil Dev, and his team made India proud by winning the cup against all odds.

They defeated the mighty West Indies who had won the two previous World Cup. This had sent the nation into frenzied celebrations unmatched till date.

That was the year 1983. Exactly fifteen years later, Prudential, which had pulled out of India due to some reasons, was on the front pages of leading Indian newspapers and in the reports on the multitude of satellite channels.

The stars of 1983 – to be precise, the entire team was present at the launch ceremony where a replica of the Prudential Cup was awarded in a mock ceremony to Kapil Dev by a top- ranking official from Prudential.

There was not a single advertisement released neither in newspapers nor on television. Yet, every cricket fan was aware of the re-entry of Prudential into India.

This is just a post-event benefit. There are other numerous benefits attached to being associated with competitive events. They have a prolonged impact because one can build on a competitive event, have follow-ups, and feature a series for many weeks before and after the event. The sponsor can have curtain- raisers and curtain-downers, and thus keep the event alive.

Still a new and exotic game for Indians, Bacardi Asian Beach Volley ball Championship on the Chowpatty beach in Mumbai fitted in perfectly with the brand image and exposure requirements of Bacardi, a liquor brand launched in India in late nineties.

The reason for this interest in sports is due to the extensive national and international television coverage thus providing visibility and exposure to the brands of the sponsoring firms at a relatively low cost. Adding to the excitement is the prospect of live coverage providing greater value to the audience and an opportunity for a larger reach during the event.

The tremendous increase in popularity of competitive events for sponsorship can be attributed to the advent of satellite television. Moving beyond corporate / brand awareness, competitive events are also being used by corporate for consolidating the positioning of brands in the minds of the consumers.

For example, sponsoring sporting events such as golf, polo, tennis, squash, etc. is akin to marketing a lifestyle for the well-heeled elite audience. The 1996 Miss World pageant sponsored by Godrej with ABCL handling the marketing and management of the show is another example that can be cited here.

Coming as it were, after the crowning of Sushmita Sen and Aishwarya Rai as Miss Universe and Miss World respectively, it was an ideal opportunity for Godrej to consolidate its position as a world-class company especially, after the restructuring of its tie-up with Procter & Gamble.

Sports venues usually have multiple sponsors and the entire playing area is surrounded by branding opportunities. The boundaries especially are prime spots.

Other unique branding opportunities exist in different games. In tennis, for instance, the guts of the rackets of players carry the logo of the sponsor.

Same can be seen on the dress or uniform that the players wear. The 1998 World Cup soccer tournament in France is the ultimate example of the popularity of sporting events with sponsors. The total value of the 12 World Cup sponsors and the organizing committee was about $428 million.

In addition to this, the turnover from the sale of World Cup licensed products was estimated at over $1 billion. And these figures do not include money by other advertisers. Other sponsors include those who have agreed to back World Cup teams or for providing free services to the organisers or for television broadcasting rights.

The competitive spirit is not only restricted to the sporting arena. Creative minds and spirits also equally share the limelight when it comes to competition.

De Beers, the World’s largest diamond mining company, in association with The Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council, organized a unique competition to commemorate the beginning of the new millennium-the premier Annual National Diamond Design Contest.

The focus of the contest was the creative diamond jewellery designs that women would love to wear in the new Millennium. De Beers took special pleasure in inviting all designers to participate in a design competition artists a great opportunity to exhibit their talent on a scale like never before.

It was undoubtedly a competition that offered talented designers a platform to display their brilliance on the world stage and to win national as well as international recognition.

Most importantly, the winning designers got an opportunity to be the Creator of the Millennium Diamond Design and to attend The Diamond International Awards ceremony in Paris.

At the event, referred to as the Oscar’s in Jewellery Awards, three Indian jewellery designers won the Diamond International Awards 2000 amongst 30 millennium winners. The presentation was during the Haute Couture week. The year 2000 competition broke all records for entries with 2530 designs submitted from 42 countries.

The winners came from 17 countries: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Israel, Japan, Korea, Mexico, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and United States of America.

The post- event follow up included an Indian Exhibition in October 2000 where the Indian audience too had a chance to see the latest talent as the Diamonds International Awards 2000 Collection was on a world tour after the awards presentation in Paris.

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