Event Marketing

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Journal of Marketing Management, 2006, 22, 643-669

Markus Wohlfeil1 and Susan Whelan2

Consumer Motivations to Participate in Event-Marketing Strategies As part of the Adidas goes street-campaign, the Adidas Predator Cup was a fun-soccer tournament designed to "reconnect the youth in Germany with Adidas and the soccer sport by enjoying the pure fun, freedom and personal happiness of playing an informal soccer match with friends". Despite knowing that the Adidas Predator Cup was designed to communicate the same commercial messages they would have actively avoided otherwise, the young target audience participated in large numbers in this event-marketing strategy. The current study investigates why young consumers are motivated in such large numbers to experience the hyperreality of the Adidas soccer brand by feeling for an afternoon like being Ronaldinho, Beckham, Ballack or Keane. Using Wohlfeil and Whelan's conceptual model, four predispositional involvement dimensions are identified as motivational drivers and tested, before interesting results are discussed.

Waterford Institute of Technology

Introduction Due to an increasing saturation and fragmentation of markets, marketers are in recent years confronted with a significantly changing marketing communication landscape. Here, brands can no longer be distinguished on their quality and functional benefits alone (Weinberg 1993; Kroeber-Riel 1984) and the effectiveness of classic marketing communications is decreasing steadily as a result of a stiff competition of communications (Wohlfeil and Whelan 2005a,b; Levermann 1998). Indeed, because classic marketing communications are solely based on a push strategy where brand Correspondence: Markus Wohlfeil, Postgraduate Researcher, School of Business, Waterford Institute of Technology, Ireland. Tel: +353 51 302000 Fax: +353 51 302456 E-Mail: mwohlfeil@wit.ie 2 Susan Whelan Waterford Crystal Centre for Marketing Studies Waterford Institute of Technology Waterford, Ireland, Tel: +353 51 30 2438, Fax: +353 51 30 2456, E-Mail: swhelan@wit.ie 1

ISSN1472-1376/2006/5-6/00643 + 26

©Westburn Publishers Ltd.

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Markus Wohlfeil and Susan Whelan

messages are forced on consumers through a variety of media, consumers respond to the growing information overflow with low media involvement and engage actively in a variety of avoidance strategies (Rumbo 2002; Tse and Lee 2001; Kroeber-Riel 1987). Thus, new marketing communication strategies are emerging with a communication structure that often differs strongly from those of established strategies such as advertising or sales promotions by their tendency to offer interactive dialogues between marketers and customers instead of the usual monologues (Evans et al. 2003; Sistenich 1999). Subsequently, event-marketing has become a popular alternative for marketers in Continental Europe and already accounted in 2000 for 22% of German companies’ total marketing communication budget (Drengner 2003; Lasslop 2003). Event-marketing is defined as the interactive communication of brand values by staging marketing-events as 3-dimensional brand-related hyperrealities in which consumers are actively involved on a behavioural level and which would result in their emotional attachment to the brand (Wohlfeil and Whelan 2006). However, as a pull strategy within marketing communications, the effectiveness of event-marketing strategies is highly dependent on consumers’ voluntary participation. In reference to advertising research, media involvement in combination with the motivation and ability to process brand-related information is seen as a crucial prerequisite in determining the effectiveness of any communication media in influencing the perception of brand images (Drengner 2003; Petty et al. 1983). Interestingly, previous research has already proven that consumers tend to be highly involved in eventmarketing strategies because of their voluntary participation in them (Drengner 2003; Nufer...
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