New Year's Eve in Times Square: Subtly Insert your Brand Here

by , Oct 18, 2002, 12:00 AM
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Whether you watch the ball drop on New Year’s Eve on TV or in Times Square, one thing remains certain. You will notice the Discover card sign below where the Waterford Crystal ball drops, that contains Philips light bulbs, and is powered by conEdison. These 4 brands are just a few players participating in the sponsoring of New Years Eve in Times Square. Panasonic provides TV signs for the crowd to watch, the V.I.P after party is held at the DoubleTree hotel and Korbel champagne supplies the party beverages.

Making your brand a part of the New’ Years Eve festivities draws a huge audience. Deals are available now for the 2003-4 celebration. For this year, you’re out of luck. Two companies handle the decision making and sponsorship packages: The Times Square Business Improvement District (TSBID) and Countdown Entertainment. TSBID represents the businesses and property owners in Times Square, and Countdown Entertainment represents the New Year’s Eve Ball (who knew it had its own rep), along with the owners of 1 Times Square. Sponsorships are offered for no less than 3 years at a time, says Jeffrey Straus, President of Countdown Entertainment. Anything less would not properly build your brand, and Straus says that “if you sponsored for one year, by the time the event was over, you’d have to go right back and renegotiate deals”.

Pricing begins at $200,000-300,000 annually, and all sponsorships begin equal, with the product then “built” into the event. For instance, how do you add champagne to the event, when liquor is prohibited in Times Square? Aside from supplying the champagne at the New Year’s after party, Korbel hands out balloons to all the Times Square revelers. At the start of Q4, Korbel also changes the packaging of their champagne bottles, having each label bare an “official sponsor of Times Square New Year’s Eve logo”.

Not all company ideas are accepted by Countdown Entertainment. Straus says that they want companies to understand and appreciate the nature of this event- so when a company wanted to hand out French fry shaped balloons to the audience, the idea was rejected. Straus further stated that “when you see the New Year’s Eve Ball, you know its Waterford Crystal, but the name isn’t anywhere in sight”.

New Year’s Eve Sponsorships are limited to between 6-8 brands, and Countdown Entertainment is looking for jewelry/diamond companies (it is the third most popular night to get engaged) and someone in the food industry (anything from fast food, snacks and candy) as potential sponsors for next year’s festivities.

Panasonic is a New Year’s Eve sponsor, and they also have had supersigns located in Times Square since 1996. Justin Camerlengo, Executive in charge of Media Events at Panasonic, says that being a New Year’s Eve sponsor has given them what they wanted: International recognition. “The investment is the single most exciting media purchase we’ve ever made. We are able to project our image to the world and are able to sell to the world.”

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