Smaller event management companies 'make hay' in Mumbai

MUMBAI: The number of one-man show event management outfits in Maharashtra, particularly in Mumbai is increasing by the day. These smaller outfits coexist with the Big Guns such as Wizcraft, Percept D'Mark, IMG-TWI, JWT's Zest Connect, Fountainhead Promotions amongst others. All these event management companies, small or big, are cashing in on the innumerable opportunities presented by the propensity of the consumers to seek enjoyment, pleasure and joy.


The Maharashtra state government's decision to review the deadline for weekend outings and consider reducing the high entertainment taxes seems to have given a fillip to all event management companies. With the event management companies association pushing for a reduction in taxes from 49 per cent to 20 per cent and cancellation of sponsorship taxes, better days seem to be ahead.

Mumbai city hotspots such as discs, pubs, restobars and even outlets of Barista and Caf? Coffee Day amongst others are literally rocking. More importantly, several brands, advertisers and ad agencies are supporting the promotions. Well, event management is invariably linked to advertising, promotions, endorsements, public relations and direct marketing. Larger advertising agencies have spun off independent divisions to gear up to grab a share of pie - JWT's Thompson Connect, Zest Connect, WPP Media's BroadMind Brands and Films, Leo Burnett's Leo Entertainment, Lowe Initiative Media's Advent and Lintertainment.

Well, major players such as retailers (McDonalds, Caf? Coffee day, Planet M, Shoppers Stop, Crossroads), music labels (Saregama, Times Music, Magnasound), entertainment companies (Sony with its recent De Beers Nakshatra promotion for its Balaji serial Kahaani Terrii Meri, Mujhse Dosti Karoge and Cartoon Network's Kwality Walls promos) have all realised the importance of mega-promotions revolving around events conjured with the help of professional event management companies.

"In the next two years, event management will shoot up like crazy. People will employ agencies even during marriages to come up with innovative themes and ambience to make the event memorable. The best part is every player - big or small - is getting business such as club events, exhibitions, kids parties, corporate amongst others," says Raj Singh. No one knows it better than the youngster who floated his event management company at the age of 14 years.

Meet Raj Singh, the one-man show who has ensured that his Mumbai-based agency Contact Plus has managed to do 40 events in 2002. He has done seven events for Times Music (including War of the DJs, Kunika's album, Big B album); Prudential ICICI Mutual Fund's distribution related events; Tata Safari's new launch; Opel Swing thing; Romanov party; Maruti Alto promotions; movies such as Two Weeks Notice and Spiderman's promotions.

A courier company offshoot SOS Events will be conducting the third Ultimate DJ Grind Hunt 2003 event at Cirkus Cirkus, Lotus Suites Banquets in Mumbai's suburbs in addition to regular events at other hotspots such as Zwigs (Hotel Rodas) and even the retail chain Shoppers Stop. The company has just launched its Nitelife privilege club card member.

SOS Events India operations director Lina Ingle says: "We promise to give Nitelife Privilege card members a holistic experience encompassing a wide range of entertainment events. The identity cards are issued in the name of the female members who pay an entry fee of Rs 2000. The membership is by invitation and we give them a chance to be part of nearly 100 events per annum. Very soon, we shall be starting a model coordination division that will be headed by Amit Nayak."

Event management companies have also become adept in conceptualizing events. While speaking at Ficci Frames 2003, event management specialist Wizcraft director Sabbas Joseph said: "Ideas need to be the base or foundation of any attempt to stretch the rupee. The best part about using below-the-line activities to stretch the rupee is that there are no rigid rules as in TV or print. Marketers and advertisers start off with the premise of the idea and then innovatively use 360 degrees multimedia marketing to build up hype. Association with a winning idea is beneficial in the long-term as ideas have a life of their own. A clever mix of events and 360 degrees mix can make the brand experiential and ensure reach and interactivity with the target audience."

The best part is that everything is so intertwined that even the smaller event management companies are also getting into celebrity management. Smaller players such as Raj Singh are managing artists like DJ Ryan Beck who launched his latest album Swingthing in January 2003. The album is a compilation of remixes of old popular numbers such as Ek haseena thi, Bombai se aaya mera dost, Yeh jawaani hai deewani amongst others. How does he find time for all this?

"Well, it has become a passion and a challenge to something different. It was a moment of inspiration when we started pool in Razzberry Rhinoceros in the late 1990s. I also acted as a consultant when Scream discotheque was opened near the domestic airport," says Singh.

The future seems to heading towards more specialisation in an attempt to develop niche segment core competencies.

"Abroad, however, the event management companies develop core competencies around one particular beat. In India too, the market will soon head in this direction in order to develop specialisation," says Ingle of SOS events.

More importantly, there will be bidders for every rupee which clients will spend on events.

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