Sponsorship continues to plague SMC

One of the biggest challenges being faced by Spicemas Corporation (SMC) on a yearly basis is the issue of sponsorship, according to CEO of the corporation, Kirk Seetahal.

Speaking on a radio programme last Friday, Seetahal said that the annual Carnival event is being taken for granted by business places and they are not maximising the benefits that Spicemas brings every year to them.

He stated that it is time for the business houses to look at the festival differently in terms of the value of their sponsorship.

“I always tell them … listen when you sponsor Spicemas I don’t want to have to come and knock on your door and beg next year. You (are) supposed to be saying to me, Mr. Seetahal I sell shampoo during the year and during the carnival season my shampoo sales rose from 001 to 03000, I see the benefits of Spicemas…”, he said.

The SMC boss accused the people hired to do the marketing by the business houses as acting as “brand people” and not “marketing people” and not looking at the opportunities available “to push the sales for their product”.

“…There are so many different products that can benefit from carnival but a lot of the market here are brand people…marketing to them is coming and stick up a banner to say Digicel, to say Flow,” he said.

“I’ll be very honest with you, sponsoring an event is about getting a VIP ticket and coming and flaunt in VIP. It’s not about the activation or what the benefits can bring to the company.

“It’s a social status…we sponsor this event…but they are not looking at what they can get out of it…or maybe they don’t have the right people in place to look at how they can really push this activation forward – how I can increase sales during the period?

“I think that’s one of the challenges that we face and we will continue to face, but I am engaging my sponsors…”.

Seetahal called on local business entities to always have an activation plan in order to understand what is needed to be done in order to get value for money spent on major events like Carnival.

He said: “…In my days (with) Digicel, if I didn’t have an activation plan for every dollar I spent, Patricia Maher the former CEO of the company) would have said look the door (you are fired) because as much as the company wants to give and they have a mandate to give back, they looking also at how they can benefit from the sponsorship and from the activation…”.

According to Seetahal, a lot of companies have reduced on their sponsorship of Spicemas for various reasons but they needed to relook that decision.

“…I really want people to seriously sit back as a business personnel, as a sponsor and really think where you’re going to get the most activation over your product…where you going to sell the most juice, where you going to sell the most drinks, where you going to sell the most food, when there are people in the country that are going to be bombarding your restaurant, when are all the hotels filled – so really look and understand the importance of Spicemas”, he said.

“I think a lot of us take it (Carnival) for granted… I hear a lot about Music Festival but as far as I am concerned the Music Festival of Grenada is Spicemas…Grenada’s music festival is Carnival,” he remarked.

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