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July 18, 2016: How the Essence Festival Became a Major Event For Marketers, Brazil to Take Extra Security Measures for Olympics, Bonnaroo Ticket Sales Hit an All-Time Low

1. HOW THE ESSENCE FESTIVAL BECAME A MAJOR EVENT FOR MARKETERS: Over Fourth of July weekend, Time Inc.'s Essence Festival drew around 450,000 people to New Orlean's French Quarter. In its 22nd year, the festival has grown into one of the nation's most massive live events, as well as a new haven for marketers. Advertising Age: "But one could argue it's the marketer presence that's been reeling in crowds. Joining presenting partner Coca-Cola were major sponsors Ford, McDonald's, State Farm, Verizon and Walmart. Each vied for consumers' attention with loud, alluring activations in the convention center designed to engage attendees and stimulate brand loyalty, oftentimes with celebrity assistance. McDonald's was hosting a chat with singer Andra Day, whose image appears on 40 million McDonald's cups as an extension of Coke's "Share a Coke and a Song" campaign. An interview with Sherri Shepherd stopped traffic at the Essence convention center stage. And at the Walmart activation, actresses Tisha Campbell-Martin and Tasha Smith dished on sisterhood to an engrossed audience. Aside from star-studded attractions, marketers sought to stand out via their booths. The brand activations were mini productions, equipped with green rooms, sound operators and the requisite DJ blasting old-school tunes and hip-hop party-starters. Coke enlisted 'Real Housewives of Atlanta' star Kandi Burruss and radio personality Big Tigger to host its activation. Responsible for hyping crowds, the duo charmed attendees with concert ticket giveaways, silly banter and lively call-and-response: 'When I say Coca, you say Cola!'... While brand messaging was key, marketers were quick to note that the purpose of their festival presence was more about connecting with attendees than selling. 'Essence represents community and that's what State Farm represents as well,' said Tracie Haywood, sponsorship analyst-enterprise marketing at State Farm. 'We feel it's important that we continue to be connected, not only with the community, but what the Essence Festival allows us to do is connect with the African-American woman.'"

2. BRAZIL TO TAKE EXTRA SECURITY MEASURES FOR OLYMPICS: On the heels of last week's attack in Nice, France, that left 84 dead during a Bastille Day celebration, Brazil will restructure its security for the Olympics, which is expected to attract as many as half a million tourists to Rio de Janeiro. Washington Post: "Extra measures will be imposed including intensified searches, increased security on streets, restrictions on traffic on some routes and an increased safety cordon around some venues, ministers said without providing details. The city had already planned to deploy 85,000 police, military and members of a Brazil-style national guard called the National Force on Rio’s streets. But the scale of the carnage caused by the truck used in the Nice attack prompted Brazil to reevaluate its security measures. 'The level of concern rose,' said Defense Minister Raul Jungmann. 'Instruments of security and control were increased.' He told reporters at the airport that Brazil had a database of 500,000 people suspected of some association with terrorism, compiled with the help of the United States and France. 'Anyone wanting to watch the Olympic Games will have to go through a barrier where they identify themselves and their details are checked,' he said. 'This person will then pass through a second barrier where everything they are bringing with them will be scanned.' A 'third barrier' will involve 8,000 to 10,000 plainclothes security agents mingling with spectators and trying to identify anyone acting suspicious."

3. BONNAROO TICKET SALES HIT AN ALL-TIME LOW: Ticket sales for the 15th annual Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival—which took place in Manchester, Tennessee, last month—were the lowest in the festival's history. The event sold 45,537 tickets, which is a 46 percent decrease from its all-time high in 2011. The Tennessean: "Industry experts attributed the drop in ticket sales in part to what some viewed as a so-so slate of headlining artists–Pearl Jam, LCD Soundsystem and Dead & Company–along with rising competition among summer music festivals. Some within the music industry say that improving the headliners would return Bonnaroo to its 10-year average of about 75,000 tickets sold. But for the first time since its inception, there are questions as to whether Bonnaroo’s ticket price is worth the cost for four days of music and camping at the height of Tennessee's sweltering summer. With Live Nation's backing, Bonnaroo has invested millions of dollars in infrastructure at Great Stage Park in Manchester, and organizers are hoping to bring more music festivals to the farm in the coming years. ... Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp. President and CEO Butch Spyridon said he doesn’t view the drop in ticket sales as a cause for concern. He said CMA Music Fest saw its attendance ebb and flow before it entered the hot streak it's been on the last several years. Spyridon added that he supports holding Nashville’s CMA Music Fest, which set a new attendance record this year with 88,500 fans but had direct visitor spending fall by $900,000, on a different weekend than Bonnaroo. In the past, the two festivals have tried both options–sometimes falling on the same weekend and other years separating by one week in June. Spyridon said Bonnaroo visitors frequently stay in Nashville a night or two before or after the festival, but it’s harder to accommodate them when CMA Fest is in town."


CHICAGO:  Josh Levine has been appointed director of sales for Hiltons of Chicago Business Travel Sales Complex. 

LAS VEGAS:  The fourth annual TopSpin Celebrity Ping Pong Tournament, presented by IHG Rewards Club, will take place Thursday at the Venetian Las Vegas. 

LOS ANGELES:  DineLA Restaurant Week, which is presented by the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board and sponsored by American Airlines, runs today through July 30 .

For information on upcoming events in Los Angeles, visit Masterplanner:

NEW YORK:  Ozy Fusion Fest, an inaugural food, music, and topical panels festival, will take place Saturday at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park. The lineup includes performances from and Andra Day, and talks from Issa Rae and Broad City’s Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson. 

For information on upcoming events in New York, visit Masterplanner:

ORLANDO/CENTRAL FLORIDA:  Chefs James and Julie Petrakis, owners of Cask & Larder and the Ravenous Pig, will open a new concept at Disney Springs. The Polite Pig will open in spring 2017 and serve a variety of wood-fired smoked and grilled items. The 5,000-square-foot venue will have seating for 200 people. 

SAN FRANCISCO:  Eat Drink SF is slated for August 25-28 at Fort Mason Center. Presented by the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, the food and wine festival will feature a variety of tastings, dinners, and classes, as well as a taco-making competition. 

TORONTO:  On Tuesday, the Citizen Restaurant & Bar will unveil a revamped menu from new co-chefs Jonathan O’Callaghan and Binh An Nguyen. 

WASHINGTON, D.C.:  Capital Pride Alliance, NOVA Pride, and Baltimore Pride will host the fourth annual Pride Splash & Ride at Six Flags America on July 30. More than 1,000 people are expected to attend the fund-raising event. 

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With contributions from Jenny Berg in Chicago, Alesandra Dubin and Claire Hoffman in Los Angeles, Mitra Sorrells in Orlando, and Carla Hay, Beth Kormanik, Michele Laufik, Jill Menze, and Ian Zelaya in New York.

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