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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

You know things bad .....

When certain bands start advertising in the newspapers! Imagine my surprise when I was flipping through the daily newspapers and saw an advertisement for one of the "new" bands on the scene for Carnival 2007.

There I was thinking they were advertising a party or some event only to realise that they were in fact advertising the band. Now, I cannot recall seeing a mas band openly advertise in the press before. I have seen billboards, posters, marketing tools such as the calendars and booklets but to take out a paid advertisement strikes me as desperate measures for desperate times.

The thing is, with it being the second week in November and TRIBE, Island People and Harts are the only bands so far with sold out sections, I am sure other bands who launched around the same time are now getting nervous! With TRIBE and Island People still having sections open, when all predictions were that they would have been sold out by now, seems like the competition for the masquerader who are still undecided is heating up a bit!

I am guessing that to be competitive this band in particular should not have priced their costumes so high as a new comer on the Carnival scene. See, they are also suffering the stigma of the band they broke away from with people still thinking that it is the "same ole ting" under a new name. I have seen the costumes, visited the very nicely accommodated mas camp and I am also surprised that at least one section is not sold out as yet.

The advertising does seem a bit desperate to me (and also others in the mas fraternity) and I would think that their P.R. people should have advised them against this move. Instead, in my humble opinion, the better option would be to employ marketing tools aimed at their target audience such as taking out a full page advertisement announcing their sponsors, hilghlighting the fact that the band offers a premium beverage or hosting an afterwork lime at the mas camp or a competition in conjunction with a sponsor where a "free"costume is offered as a prize or being the feature of an article written for the daily newspapers or having the costumes modeled at some event/party/fete.

These are only some of the ideas that I can pull off the top of my head, I am sure with all the experts with years of background experience in Carnival involved with this band they could have come up with a much better idea than a black and white advertisement in the newspaper!
I wish them luck, maybe sales will pick up in the next two months and if I see they implement any of the ideas that I have given for marketing, I am charging a consultant fee!

p.s. If you want to see the ad, check the Trinidad Guaridan on October 30th or November 3rd. I would scan it but, not looking to mash any toes!

Trini Revellers Mas Camp

Yesterday afternoon I made my way to Trini Revellers Mas Camp to have a closer look at the costumes as well as to get an idea of prices. While there I enquired as to when the website will be up and was told tentitively by today.

The Mas Camp is located at Gallus Street at what appears to be the downstairs portion of someone’s house. There was no air condition, I have to point this out since it was a HOT day yesterday, but it was the first mas camp where beverages were on sale!

I counted something like 26 or 27 sections; most of the Costumes were displayed at Trini Revellers Mas Camp, even the special sections that had private mas camps located elsewhere. I was informed that the all sections with the exception of one is offering all-inclusive as an option. Some sections are all-inclusive only while other sections have both the option of costume only or paying additionally for all-inclusive.

Upon closer inspection of the costumes I have to say that while the ideas and drawings of the costumes I had seen prior to the launch were fabulous, somehow the execution failed to deliver and as a result some of the costumes look ok, some could be that much better with some adjustments and some were just downright dreadful.

That being said, I do like “Declaration of the Rights of Man”, “Les Aristocrates”, “Royalty”, “ Les Fetes Gallantes de Versailles “,“Royal Court De Versailles” and the blue and white section with the mask (cannot remember the name!).

It was my luck that Kyle Matas, the young man who designed and is producing the section “Royal Court De Versailles” was at the mas camp adding some touches to his costume display and we had a long chat. I have to say, without bias, that “Royal Court” in my opinion is the best looking costume in the band. While it may not look too much like a “costume” to some people, the details and accessories that go into making the costume is beautifully done and the prices are reasonable for what you are getting at between $2600.00 to $2950.00.

What you cannot see from the photographs is the detail on the corsette; made from peu de soie fabric it is laced on the sides, decorated with appliqu├ęd lace both back and front and has rhinestone straps. The bottom piece of the costume can be adjusted with less fabric or even a shorter skirt if you prefer; the costume can be tailored to any request. In addition the frontline costume with the huge headpiece is sold out, all ten of that special costume are gone! Little details such as a diamante bracelet, ring and the option of a marabou feathered fan or rose “bouquet” all add up to making the costume really stand out from the rest. Kyle informed me that he wants to deliver an ultra-premium all-inclusive experience with champagne, a French themed menu catered by Tony Romas as well as having servers on the road!

Prices for the rest of the sections range from $1550.00 to $2950.00 and the downpayment is $400.00, with one of the more popular sections being Rugeri's "Paris is Burning" which is priced at the lower yet still offers an attractive costume. Hopefully the website will be launched soon and everyone will have access to the costumes with a click of their mouse. From what I have seen so far, the band on the whole looks interesting and it will be anyone's guess as if to they will retain the band of the year title for 2007.
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