Gateway’s Vodacom Durban July promotion ‘wins the race’

The trend of shopping centres becoming lifestyle destinations that offer a fully inclusive leisure experience has resulted in excellent post campaign results for the Gateway Theatre of Shopping’s fourth partnership with Durban’s annual Vodacom Durban July (VDJ) event.

This year’s 360 degree campaign at the mall – which is managed and marketed by Primedia Lifestyle, a subsidiary of Unlimited – resulted in a massive 98% increase in foot count over the figures recorded in 2011 (i.e. 26 112 vs. 13 158).The promotion also secured sponsorships and media partnerships to the value of R3 172 638; almost a third more than the initial target of R2-million.

Gateway Theatre of Shopping Marketing Manager Penny Barlow says; “The trend driving this massive campaign is that shopping centres are no longer just retail destinations but also lifestyle destinations that add value to shoppers’ lives.”

“In 2011, the success of the Vodacom Durban July pre-event set a new benchmark for Gateway Theatre of Shopping. In order to make the 2012 event bigger, better and more memorable for shoppers, tenants, the media and VIPs, this year’s campaign consisted of pre promotions such as a ‘Recycled’ fashion designer competition, shopper competitions and a competition on 5FM’s Fresh Drive show that ran a week before the main event day.

“The awareness generated by these activities was bolstered by point of sale within Gateway, print ads in local newspapers, an 8 page fashion supplement in the Mercury a week prior to the event, street posters and constant reminders via social network platforms – Facebook and Twitter. Regular press updates and briefings further raised awareness of the main event day,” Barlow reports.

This year’s VDJ promotion took on a brave new ‘green’ hue by focusing on the question
‘A material world?’ alluding to the need for society to be more environmentally-friendly.

The main portion of the promotion took place the day before the VDJ and included: a 5fm outside broadcast, an Ultimix at 6 performance, the highly anticipated VDJ Race Day Fashion Show, a free music concert featuring well known local performers Liquideep; Fresh & Euphonik and Niskerone.

Two hundred and fifty of South Africa’s VIPs, celebrities and influential public figures were also hosted in a VIP area that embraced the ‘green’ theme of the event by featuring exclusive recycled décor pieces and a giant Zen Garden.

Other key aspects of the campaign that boosted its success included:

  • A national competition for both aspiring and established designers that resulted in world-class designs being showcased on the main event day.
  • Excitement was created by turning the VIP Area into a truly magical experience by incorporating a theatrical welcome at the entrance and including the VIPs and celebrities in the theme, by inviting them to participate in an eco friendly activation at the main event.
  • Celeb presence in the VIP Area was achieved by tying the Fresh Drive and all artists performing at the event, into a one hour minimum appearance in the VIP Area.
  • Incorporating theatrics into the Fashion Show enhanced the audience’s experience of the event.
  • The incentive of a prize of an international holiday and entertainment experience served as an excellent incentive for shoppers to enter the Spend and Win competition.

Barlow explains that to extend the campaign message and gain brand exposure throughout the entire centre, tenants were invited to dress their shop windows with campaign-specific material provided by the marketing team as creatively as possible.

“Stores with the best window displays were given live models to incorporate into
their storefronts on the weekend of the event, which certainly attracted attention for the
stores involved!” she explains.

Overall the campaign achieved higher values than anticipated and the marketing team at Gateway are ready to take this event to an unprecedented level in 2013.