Percept in the News

Brand Sunburn to go international: Singh
19 November, 2009

Shaliendra Singh, Joint MD, Percept Limited in an interview with the Herald, spoke about Sunburn, Its relationship with Goa and future plans.

Explain the concept behind Sunburn Festival?
Sunburn is India’s first homegrown electronic music dance festival. Within the space of two years of operation it has managed to be recognized as one of the Asia’s most popular and biggest music festivals. The three day long music festival on the Candolim beach is a celebration of all kinds of electro-techno music, with international DJ’s, in addition to 35 other artists.

How did the idea germinate?
The idea evolved from the statistics of the fact India has the youngest nation in the world. Thus the thinking process to develop more youth friendly products was set in motion. 70 percent of all 
products and advertising is now youth oriented aspiring towards imbibing the cool quotient that seems to be on everybody’s wish list. Sunburn is for those who are young or at least the young at heart, which are utter lifeoholoics and believe in living life with gusto.

What’s the rationale behind choosing Goa as the venue to host the festival?
The spirit of Goa allows you to be yourself. And that’s what Sunburn is all about. Goa endorses Sunburn and Sunburn endorses Goa. It’s an association based on Mutual respect and admiration. Besides Goa presents a unique synergy to the concept that is Sunburn, considering that the event has its roots in Goa having evolved from the concept pulsating and psychedelic ‘Goa Trance’ a trance music variant unique only to Goa.

How does it contribute to the economy of Goa?
Every year that Sunburn is organized in Goa, there are 2500 local activations that happened. We utilize lot of the local manpower for security, hospitality and other aspects of event management. Besides it also helps project Goa in a positive light and we have a lot of tourists who plan their holidays in Goa around the time of the Sunburn Festival.

What are the investments? How much are you hoping to raise this time?
This is a huge project with great demands on infrastructural support and other logistics. The investments every year come close to around 2.5-3 crore. Last year we have posted a profit of 25 percent. This year we are targeting to top the same and will manage to do so if there are no major glitches with authorities and other governing bodies.

How is the event promoted?
We are manipulating the digital space quite aggressively and 90 percent of our promotions happen online. Otherwise most of the promotional tools employed are localised to Goa. Besides we have been organizing Sunburn mid size events across the country culminating towards the Sunburn Festival in Goa as part of our pre event promotions. We also have Neha Dhupia as our brand ambassador. The other names associated with Sunburn include Aarti Chhabria and Anushka Manchanda.

What is new this year?
This year we have tried to take Sunburn at a new level and make it more than just a music event. We have endeavored to design and execute a whole experience that includes hospitality, food courts, sporting and shopping to appeal to the multitudes of people, both Indian as well as tourists who flock to Candolim.
Sunburn is not only about head banging from morning to night. Rather it is a whole experience that appeals to a host of consumer preferences and tastes. If the consumer has had his fill of the music he could always engage in sports, sample some food or simply pamper himself with a message or shopping.
Sunburn has also launched the first edition the twelve page Sunburn calendar designed around the theme of Lifeoholic. The Sunburn Lifeoholic calendar is everything is everything that Sunburn stands for, which is complete celebration of life. It has been shot in Goa by ace photographer Ram Bherwani.
We are also coming up with Passion 09, a music festival along the Sunburn lines though attracting a different kind of crowd altogether and a very different theme of music. A part of our strategy to block competition, it is centered around Valentines Day, scheduled to be held on 12, 13, 14 of February. We hope to attract an older and more mature crowd along with the youngsters as well.

What are the major challenges involved when orgasnising an event of such magnitude?

The infrastructure and the security preparations are a major challenge. We employ around 80 CCTVs, 20 sniffer dogs, fire brigades, ambulances and poilcemen off course. Besides we also have a strict no drug policy the implementation of which again is major challenge and requires strict vigilance.

How do you see the Sunburn festival being proposed in the future?

Hopefully bigger and better. The plans are on to export the brand outside India to places like Dubai, Malaysia and Hong Kong next season. We want to make brand Sunburn even bigger than what it is now and the decision to take Sunburn outside India is part of our international agenda.

How do you see the face of entertainment in India changing in the future?
I envisage the entertainment industry turning increasingly from standard television entertainment to live experiences and ticketed events. A massive changeover requires to be initiated. It is my endeavor to encourage the transition of pop artists to pop icons which sadly is not the case in India. However the catch is that advertisers and sponsors do not see the potential in live events and thus just view it as a two or three day event over and out and do not see potential in the brand that could be built up.