When you lean in for a New Year’s congratulatory kiss as the clock strikes 12 on December 31, will you be thinking, ‘Hey, I’m glad I’m standing with her’ or will you be thinking ‘Mmm, good job I applied my Nivea lip balm.’
Yes, New Year’s Eve is well and truly commercialised. It’s become brand central - a unique, once-a-year opportunity for brands to get in on the action however they creatively can.
Nowhere is this more prevalent than NYC’s Times Square. But the annual event that attracts over a billion people both in person and on TV isn’t open to any old brand that wants a piece of the New Year pie. The Times Square Alliance and Countdown Entertainment - the powerhouse producers of the celebrations – have strict rules that the brands should not only fit but be relevant to the occasion.
Which is why, for the third year in a row, Nivea is the official sponsor and will be handing out over 30,000 lip care samples to Americans ready for their New Year’s Eve kiss. Another big sponsor is Duracell, which is powering the countdown lights through their Power Lab mobile charging station, which for the rest of the year will be deployed to disaster areas to provide vital power for cellphones and laptops.
Other examples of excellent sponsorship tie-ins include a wedding magazine, which held a contest for a couple to win a wedding in NYC on New Year’s Eve (given as it’s also one of the most popular times to get engaged) and Mastercard, which is doing its bit for charity by donating a dollar every time someone uses their card in Times Square.
These are all excellent examples of how context is so important in the new era of movements versus traditional advertising. Context is going to be increasingly king in this dysfunctional world where breaking through to people is becoming a huge challenge. For 2011 the words to remember are Cultural Movements, times and context.
So rest assured that as you share your favourite brands of food and drink with friends and family this New Year’s Eve, many others are doing exactly the same. We talk about it for months, we plan it for months, we want it to be the best New Year’s ever and we enjoy it together. It’s one heck of an activated group of passionate people, wouldn’t you say? Cheers and Happy New Year!