The primary purpose of our study was to gain a better understanding of how sponsorship in music festivals can influence the beliefs and attitudes of the participants. This study aimed to test the influence of attitude toward the sponsor, sponsor and event fit and fan involvement on the purchasing intentions of the participants. We also test the impact of sponsor / event fit and fan involvement on attitude towards the sponsor. Moreover, the unaided and aided recall was tested in order to determine the impact of sponsorship in the music festival (Latitude Festival 2010).
We found that all four variables were interrelated. First, we test the relation between attitude towards the sponsor and sponsor and event fit. Attitude towards the sponsor is associated in a positive way with sponsor / event fit and purchasing intention. Therefore, participant that perceives a logical connection between the event (Latitude music festival) and the sponsor (Tuborg beer) it is more likely to develop a positive attitude toward the sponsor. According to previous studies on sports sponsorship, sponsor and event congruence influence attitude towards the sponsor, brand awareness and purchasing intentions (Grohs et al, 2004 ; Gwinner and Eaton, 1999; Speed and Thomson, 2000). As a consequence, the similarity between the sponsor and the event is really important in order to influence the attitude of the consumer in a positive way. As McDaniel (1999) stated sponsor and event fit can support the brand to reach its target market and instigate the affective associations. Therefore, sponsors should consider if their brand image is relevant to the event that they want to promote in order to achieve an effective promotion of their products.
We also found that fan involvement influence both the attitude toward the sponsor and purchasing intentions. Thus, highly involved fans are more likely to buy the sponsor’s products and think favorably of the sponsor of the event. Previous studies had also lead to similar results (Alexandris et al, 2007; Bennett, 1999 ; D’Astous and Bitz, 1995; Dees et al, 2008; Fisher and Wakefield, 1998; Meenaghan, 2001; Schurr et al, 1988; Smith et al, 2008; Wann and Branscombe, 1993). Fans can share the same values as supporters of a team or an event and this strengthens the feeling of unity among them (Wann & Branscombe, 1995). Thus, an individual who is more involved in the event that he attends can comprehend the values of the event and associate these values to the sponsor of the event (Meenaghan, 2001). In addition, highly identified fans attend more games (Fisher & Wakefield, 1998; Schurr et al, 1988, Smith et al, 2008), spend more on tickets and products, and remain loyal (Smith et al, 2008). This type of fans should be the main target group of every communication campaign in order for the sponsor to reach high levels of awareness. As stated above highly involved fans are more likely to buy the products of the sponsor.
Correlation analysis and regression analysis was used to test the association between the variables. Correlation analysis results shown that all the variables are positive correlated. The Pearson correlation is .559 between Fan involvement and Sponsor and event fit, .570 between Attitude towards the sponsor and Fan involvement, .493 between Purchasing intention and Fan involvement, .574 between Attitude towards the sponsor and Sponsor and event fit, .629 between Purchasing intention and Sponsor and event fit and .627 between Purchasing intention and Attitude toward the sponsor. Therefore, every increase of one variable leads to the increase of another. For instance, if participants perceive that the event and sponsor are similar most probably they will form a more positive attitude towards the sponsor. All three independent variables (Sponsor and event fit, Attitude towards the sponsor and Fan involvement) had a positive impact on Purchasing intentions. According to the results of regression analysis Sponsor and event fit (B= .386, sig= .000), Fan involvement (B= .071, sig=.148) and Attitude towards the sponsor (B=.379, sig= .000) can be used as predictors of Purchasing intentions. We also run a regression analysis to test the impact of Sponsor and event fit and Fan involvement on Attitude towards the sponsor. The two independent variables (Sponsor and event fit, Fan involvement) had a positive impact on Attitude towards the sponsor. According to the results, Sponsor and event fit (B=.376, sig=.000) and Fan involvement (B=.349, sig=.000) can be used as predictors of Attitude towards the sponsor.
Brand awareness was also tested. Beer sponsor of the festival (Tuborg beer) had high levels of both unaided and aided recall. In the unaided recall question (Which is the sponsor of Latitude Festival 2010 that comes first in your mind?) the level of awareness for beer sponsor was high. 16.8% of the participant could recall the beer sponsor which is the third highest unaided recall and only Vodafone (21.5) and Pepsi Max (21.2) scored higher. On aided recall question (Which was the beer sponsor of Latitude Festival 2010?) 54% of the participant could recall Tuborg beer as the beer sponsor of the festival. We can conclude that the level of brand awareness was relatively high and we must also consider that it was a multi sponsored event with one soft drink and two alcoholic beverages as sponsors (Pepsi Max, Gaymers cider and Tuborg beer). We can conclude that the level of awareness for beer sponsor (Tuborg beer) was relatively high but it would be better to test brand awareness before and after the event. However, this would be too difficult to be executed especially if we wanted to interview the same people before and after the event in order to test the difference.
5.1 Marketing implications
This set of finding can be useful in the development of a consistent marketing communication strategy. Marketing practitioners should take into account sponsor and event fit in order to promote the appropriate brand in a relevant event. For instance, a beer can easily be a sponsor of a music festival. According to our finding Tuborg beer is perceived as relevant to a music event like Latitude Festival 2010. In addition, target audience of the event should be considered when the message is communicated. For instance, the target audience for pop/rock music festivals like Latitude Festival is young people from 16-34 and their social status is ABC1 (Mintel, 2008). Another important aspect of sponsorship is fan involvement. According to our finding highly involved fans are more likely to form a positive attitude towards the sponsor. Therefore, marketers of events should try to communicate the unique characteristics of the event in order to attract people who are more involved in the specific event. For instance, Latitude Festival is promoted as a fresh and artistic festival which is more than a music festival. As already mentioned Latitude Festival also comprise elements of art, comedy, cabaret, poetry, politics, dance and literature. Therefore, it attracts people who are also interesting in other art forms except of music.
There are limitations in this study that they should be acknowledged when we interpret the results of the survey. First, we used only a limited number of variables in order to test the effectiveness of sponsorship in a music festival. The variables that we used (brand awareness, attitude toward the sponsor, sponsor and event fit,
fan involvement and purchasing intentions) were enough to draw our conclusions, however, in future, researchers should examine more variables that are related to sponsorship in order to be more accurate on their results. Moreover, the results of our study cannot be generalized because we only used one music festival (Latitude Festival 2010) and one sponsor (Tuborg beer) to conduct our survey. Therefore, future studies can explore more than one event and different kind of sponsors. The sample also consisted mainly of young people because Latitude Festival and similar events attract young people, so the results cannot be generalized to attendant of music festivals. Another limitation of the research is the fact that we used purchasing intention in order to measure the effectiveness of sponsorship. Purchasing intention is totally different than the actual purchase of the product. As Gwinner and Bennett (2008) mentioned future researchers can use the actual purchase behavior in order to measure effectiveness. It is also important to stress the difference between multi sponsoring event (e.g. Latitude Festival) and event with only one official sponsor. According to the results of Rowley and Williams (2008) survey sponsors that had their full names incorporated into the official titles of the festivals were recalled in a higher level than sponsor that were not incorporated in the official title of the festival. Most previous studies focused on the effectiveness of sponsorship in sport events. Hence, future studies can explore the influence of sponsorship in music events. Sample size was also limited to 400 participant of Latitude Festival; from 400 questionnaires only 339 were appropriate for our analysis. Another limitation of our study was the fact that all variables were tested at the time of the event. Therefore, we could not make a comparison between the variables before and after the event. It will be more useful for future researchers to examine brand awareness, attitude toward the sponsor and sponsor / event fit, fan involvement and purchase intention before and after the event if they want to have an integrated view of sponsorship value.
5.3 Future research
As partly mentioned in the previous part about the limitations of this report there are many areas to be investigated by future researchers. Future studies can expand in more than one music festival. The survey was conducted in Latitude Festival 2010 which is an indie rock festival. In the future different kind of festivals with different kind of music can be examined. As stated above the sample of the study mainly consisted of young people, thus, it would be useful for future studies to focus on festivals and events that attract older people. In this way the results may be different than the existing one due to the generation gap. The sample size can be larger in future studies and expand in more than one festival. In addition, future researchers can test other brands which are sponsors of music festivals or events. Latitude Festival is sponsored from nine brands which makes it a multi sponsored event. On the other hand, many festivals and events have only one official sponsor. Therefore, future researchers can test the impact of sponsorship effectiveness between one sponsor events and multi sponsored events. Another interesting aspect of sponsorship is long term influence. There are no studies to examine the long term effects of music festival sponsorship on consumer behavior. Hence, it would be interesting to test the impact of music festival sponsorship in the long term. All the variables of our study were tested at the time of the event. Future researchers can measure the variables (brand awareness, attitude toward the sponsor, sponsor / event fit, fan involvement, purchase intention) before and after the event in order to draw more accurate conclusions. The measurement of the variables was based on scales that were adopted from previous studies. Future researchers can develop more detailed scales of measurement for their studies. The impact of sponsorship on music festivals and events has not been investigated as much as sport sponsorship. As a consequence, there is a need for more studies that focus on sponsorship of music festivals and events. The beliefs and the attitude of music event participants can be of major importance for the development of effective marketing campaigns.