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Be there or be square: Marketing festivals and other special events

Strategic Direction

ISSN: 0258-0543

Article publication date: 20 September 2011




This paper aims to consider the factors contributing to the successful marketing of one‐off special events.


Uses a case study of Festival Melbourne 2006, a multi‐site, multi‐activity sporting and cultural event, to investigate ways of increasing participation through effective marketing communications.


Have you ever been invited to something only to discover that it has already happened? That you have missed your chance to take part in something special? That is the marketing challenge facing the organizers and promoters of special events – large‐scale, never‐to‐be‐repeated happenings taking place in several venues: how do you attract prospective participants and get the right sort of information to them at the right time?

Practical implications

Offers guidance on what does and does not work in the marketing of special events and the level of information needed to deliver a memorable experience.

Social implications

Highlights the importance of tailoring marketing materials for local events to the socioeconomic and demographic characteristics of the community audience.


Draws attention to the distinctive challenges of marketing special events.



(2011), "Be there or be square: Marketing festivals and other special events", Strategic Direction, Vol. 27 No. 10, pp. 9-11.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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