4:05PM August 15 2014
If you’ve ever been to the Edinburgh Festival, or even just in the city in August, there’s one word that’ll send a chill twice as frosty as a Scottish summer down your spine. Flyers. You get onto the Royal Mile and a colourful chap dressed as some form of mythical character will sashay towards you and thrust a flyer for his show your way. You smile, thank him and take it. By the time you’ve got to the castle you look like you’ve been tarred and feathered. Flyers, moulting from you like you’re a glossy paper based Wookie. Once you adapt to avoiding this though, you can marvel at the largest arts festival in the world.
Marketers are also given an extra bonus once they’ve stepped back for a second from the top of the Royal Mile to take a look at what’s going on beneath them.
There’s a scene in The Warriors, where all the gangs of the city meet to discuss a truce. There are thousands of weird and wacky looking individuals dressed in all sorts of colourful outfits all crammed into a tiny space. The very same happens in Edinburgh at festival time.
It struck me during my time there this year that the world’s largest arts festival allowed me to watch marketing in its rawest form. Boots on the ground, face to face, take a leaflet, pay attention to me marketing. The range of marketing experience will vary from none at all and a one-man operation promoting his own show, to a paid army of scripted professional comedy chuggers handing out expertly designed leaflets for comedy legends. Like the launch of a brand, product or title – and as pointed out by our Creative Director Martin – in possibly the most cluttered marketplace of all (for 1 month a year), each show at Edinburgh needs to quickly establish its reason to exist.
It’s like you’re David Attenborough surveying a whole load of different animals co-existing in nature. Beautiful, yet slightly terrifying when you realise your next venue is at the bottom of the hill.