Scared of negative sentiment, slowdown and inclement weather, Navratri organisers were almost down and out. Suddenly, telecom companies, which had been silent on this nine-day festival for the last two years, stepped up as saviour for the organisers of garba nights beginning Saturday.
Since 2008, the garba organisers have been complaining of difficulties in getting sponsorships.
But, every year, they somehow managed to get sponsorships either through branding or barter system. This year, too, the trend is pretty much the same.
“Like every year, even this year, it was difficult for us to attract sponsors till Saturday,” said Jaydeep Mehta, director of True Events. “After two years, the telecom is back again. Not only the telecom operators. Even the mobile phone companies have shown interest. Not the big companies, the domestic brands,” he said.
Every year, the garba organisers keep two associate sponsors and four co-sponsors, said Mehta.
“Owing to the slowdown, the sponsors have slashed their budget. In that case, we have got four associate sponsors and eight co-sponsor instead of two. This fulfils our motive,” he said.
Companies have budgets earmarked for events. But they want to get maximum mileage out of it, said Arvind Singh, the business head of Expertz. While Shiv Corporation is organising garba nights at Rajpath Club, Expertz is conceptualising them.
“Our cost of organising such events has increased with revenue being 50% of the total cost.
Suddenly, telecom has become the saviour. Now, we hope not to incur losses this year,” said Singh.
The telecom sector has increased its scale of spending this year compared to the previous year, said Brajesh Bajpai, the Gujarat business head of Vodafone.
“Navratri is an important festival for us as part of our marketing and customer engagement activities. Being the undisputed market leader in Gujarat, we constantly aim to stay connected with our large customer base in Gujarat and this Navratri, too, we have allocated strong resources for the event. Our scale of activity is actually much larger and wider than last year whereas the budget allocation is similar to last year,” said Bajpai.
The unexpected rain has also played spoilsport. “A few clients even backed out last week.
Probably in the name of rain, they withdrew their sponsorships. So, we had to manage sponsorships from other groups and companies. And, with the budget having shrunk, we will have to rely more on the sale of tickets instead of bartering of tickets,” said Meghal Shah, a garba organiser and event manager in Ahmedabad.
According to Shah, sponsorship from automobile, finance and education sectors has been minimal. “For automobile, it is like recession. While educational institutes crib about the fall in number of students, finance sector believes that garba events are just not their cup of tea. In such a situation, food and beverages and telecom have helped garba organisers to a great extent,” he said.
Every year, organisers face difficulty in attracting sponsors for the nine-night event, said Anand Doshi, director of Sharda Communications. “With the grace of god, event management companies organise the event. Like every year, it was very difficult to raise money this year, too. But we do it by hook or by crook,” asserted Doshi.