With the Toronto International Film Festival almost here, there’s cinematic buzz in the air. As red carpets get prepped and stars get preened, Marketing offers this roundup of the festival’s major sponsors and how they’re taking part in this year’s event.
Sponsor name: Skyy Vodka
Years sponsoring TIFF: 6
What is it doing?: Skyy has assembled what it calls a “robust” sponsorship package highlighted by the “Skyy Vodka Award for Best Canadian First Feature Film,” which features a $15,000 prize.
It has also created a series of official Festival cocktails honouring three TIFF stars: The “Skyy White Knightley” honouring Keira Knightley (starring in Anna Karenina); the “Skyy Good as Gosling” honouring Ryan Gosling (The Place Beyond the Pines) and the “Skyy Peach Paltrow” honouring Gwyneth Paltrow (Thanks for Sharing). The drinks will be available at several official events.
Consumer marketing will include ads in the LCBO’s Food & Drink, Tribute and NOW, and a partnership with 99.9 Virgin FM to bring listeners Festival coverage.
The partnership with Tribute also includes a contest for a VIP Festival experience including roundtrip airfare, three nights at a premium downtown hotel, tickets to a major film premiere, VIP access to a Skyy Festival party and a chance to interview a celebrity at the Tribute Celebrity Interview Lounge. The contest is being promoted in print and online at Skyy.ca/TIFF.
The vodka brand will serve up festival news, film information and reviews and celebrity photos via its Facebook and Twitter pages, and will be offering consumers the chance to win Festival-related prizes including tickets to exclusive events, Skyy Vodka prize packages and DVDs of previous hit films from TIFF.
Why TIFF?: Chris Staresinic, senior marketing manager for Skyy Vodka, says the brand’s core essence is represented by the words “sexy glamour” – qualities that TIFF possesses. The brand has enjoyed a long association with film dating back to its early ’90s origins, when it sponsored small independent film festivals.
Highly targeted sponsorship and events are a key marketing platform for Skyy, which typically sees what Staresinic describes as “double-digit” growth in the immediate aftermath of TIFF.
The vodka category in Canada is dominated by Smirnoff and Absolut – which Staresinic says control more than half of the market – with Skyy battling for share with several other brands. “It’s so fragmented that image building becomes so important to build share of mind,” he said.