Why big brands are giving London’s Notting Hill Carnival the attention it deserves
By WGSN Insider

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Europe’s biggest street festival and the carnival is finally getting the attention it deserves from brands. WGSN’s Nicole McLennan reports

Aug 26, 2016
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Notting Hill Carnival- 50 years young!
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It is famous for being one of the most frantically-awaited events in British Caribbean culture, the Notting Hill Carnival takes place every Sunday and bank holiday Monday in August. Dating back to 1964 it was a way for Caribbean communities to celebrate their own cultures and traditions, in the face of extreme racism.

The two days are filled with lots of electrifying celebrations, delicious food and strong sound systems that you’ll feel through your body. Each year Notting Hill Carnival attracts over 1 million attendees over the two days, all different nationalities and races, and of this 50,000 people actively take part in the main parade.

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Flashback to 2012, Puma was the first brand to back Caribbean athletes with not only merchandise but a dedicated event space. It opened Puma Yard on Brick Lane in East London for the duration of the summer Olympic games. This was in tribute to their brand ambassador, Usain Bolt taking part in the 2012 London Olympics, but Puma Yard also became a hub/meeting place for Millennials to warm up and get ready for the Carnival.

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A ground-breaking concept not only conquered what it set out to do but also ended up alluring communities that were long awaiting Notting Hill Carnival 2012. Despite this being such a success, other big brands have failed to see events like Nothing Hill Carnival as a golden opportunity to engage their consumers …until now!

So why are big brands giving this occasion the attention it deserves? This is an opportunity for brands to reach the prime audience of Millennials and Gen Z by being present at an event that they enjoy the most. Each year sees an increased buzz, from the build up with the #nottinghillcarnival all over major social channels like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – even Snapchat previously had a carnival masquerade mask filter as part of their collection, and this year with the 50th anniversary of carnival, this event has been embraced by the most tuned-in brands.

Here is a roundup of 3 brands that are ensuring a strong presence at Notting Hill Carnival 2016.

Boiler room X Guinness

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Blaise Bellville is the founder of Boiler Room, which is a five-year-old unique live music streaming website that broadcasts DJ sets from an East London warehouse and secret music venues across the globe. What’s their USP? It’s a few, simple, effective cameras filming musicians perform live to a global audience.

This Notting Hill Carnival, Boiler Room X Guinness will film both days events live to a global audience. Bellville explains that ‘Half of our events are trying to emulate the feeling of Carnival, where the DJ is surrounded by thousands of people, records are being rewound, the crowd are singing the chorus when the volume gets pulled down. That chaos and energy is absolutely what Boiler Room searches for.’

Bellville is serious about broadcasting the authentic enjoyable carnival that the parade is known for. Both days will be broadcasted from nine different locations including famous Rampage, where cutting-edge British street sounds are showcased. Having Guinness get in on the action too, results in this being an ingenious brand partnership for all everyone involved.

‘Our role is to provide broadcasting that is long-term, that gives Carnival the recognition it deserves and it needs,’ said Bellville in an interview with Time Out. Check out the live coverage during the weekend on Boiler Room x Guinness website.

 

Converse

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Converse has been a subsidiary of Nike, Inc. since 2003. Although they have had a host of collaborations, this is definitely one to shout about!

In honour of the 50th year of Notting Hill Carnival, this week the brand has released a Custom Carnival Collection. The design team behind this elevated brand engagement partnered up with musicians like Lady Leshurr and BBC 1 Radio DJ Clara Amfo to design 3 decorative pairs of Converse. From the Rastafarian style sneaker in fire red, rich green and luminous yellow to traditional giraffe print in mustard yellow and chic black spots, Converse wants everyone to feel the beat this carnival. All of these options are ready to be purchased on Converse and start at a cool £70.

Also, watch out for the Converse Corner Party at Notting Hill Carnival this weekend where you will see more of this vibe played out before your eyes.

 

Adidas

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Just when we thought Stella McCartney’s clothing range and Kayne’s Yeezy sneakers were the biggest partnerships for Adidas this S/S 16, the brand has embarked on a new adventure!

Bringing together a finely curated selection of VIP influencers, Adidas will be having its first band party at Notting Hill Carnival 2016. Although they have been tight-lipped about all of the activities for the day, invited attendees have received a complimentary pair of sneakers, Adidas branded whistle and shoe protector by Crep Protect. On the day the VIP influences have been promised a fully stocked bar, food and great music.

What does Adidas get in return? A sense of exclusivity for its VIP consumers (despite them being such a renowned brand), undoubted social media exposure and of course live advertisement to almost 1 million people on both days of the parade!

For more information on how carnival is enjoyed around the world check out why Trinidad Carnival should be on your bucket list.

Like this? Follow Nicole on Twitter live from her music band float all weekend at Carnival here.

For street style coverage, music festival analysis and brand strategy, join WGSN.


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