Stars land

Shia LaBeouf hits the red car­pet at TIFF for the world premiere of his ilm Borg/McEn­roe

Metro Canada (Toronto) - - NEWS -

A space in the Toronto In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val’s four­day ‘street fes­ti­val’ is cost­ing a year-old travel com­pany al­most half of their bud­get for 2017.

“It’s a good chunk,” Maria Mavridis, a rep­re­sen­ta­tive from Be­for­eiFly.com, told the Star. She wasn’t com­fort­able di­vulging the dol­lar value they spent.

But, like all the other in­ter­ac­tive ad­ver­tise­ments, or ‘ac­ti­va­tions,’ dot­ting King St. — shut­tered to traf­fic be­tween Univer­sity Ave. and Peter St.— the com­pany bit the fi­nan­cial bul­let in the name of ex­po­sure.

“They have a huge fol­low­ing, right?” she said, stand­ing in­side Be­for­eiFly’s 360-de­gree, vir­tual-re­al­ity, green-screen photo booth. Fes­ti­vals were a good way to get ex­po­sure, but with TIFF’s in­ter­na­tional draw, it was bet­ter still.

By post­ing the pho­tos from the booth on so­cial me­dia and tag­ging their com­pany, she ex­plained, pedes­tri­ans could win a trip for two to Banff.

And, by mid-morn­ing Thurs­day, the pedes­trian zone be­tween traf­fic block­ades was plas­tered with sim­i­lar of­fers. Air France set up an elab­o­rate mock-bistro, where young women in red berets and striped shirts drew passerby’s in for an of­fer of free non-al­co­holic cham­pagne and mac­arons.

The mar­ket­ing scheme? Snap pho­tos with their Eif­fel Tower statue, use the com­pany’s hash­tag, and give your­self the chance to win two tick­ets to Paris.

Ev­ery de­tail of the Parisian bistro ex­pe­ri­ence was fine­tuned, from the plas­tic fo­liage around the fenc­ing to a jaunty red um­brella over­head.

Only a few feet away, though, the On­tario College of Trades vied against the glam- our to draw at­ten­tion to an up­com­ing short­age of trades­peo­ple in the Cana­dian film in­dus­try — 250,000 peo­ple, the college re­ported.

“It was very dif­fi­cult, be­cause we don’t have the Air France money,” Tyler Charlebois, mar­ket­ing man­ager for the college, said.

“We’re funded by our mem­bers’ fees. This was all about get­ting aware­ness and show­ing what peo­ple do, so it was dif­fer­ent from be­ing cor­po­rate brands.”

He, too, couldn’t pro­vide an ex­act fig­ure for how much their ac­ti­va­tion was cost­ing them. Ev­ery day, they’d be draw­ing at­ten­tion to a new trade; on Thurs­day, it was auto bod­ies, so they had a plasma cut­ter set up to try out.

The cost was all part of a larger part­ner­ship with TIFF, he said, and at the end of the day, it was just im­por­tant for them to have “a foot­print” there.

“When you go fur­ther be­hind the cam­era, there’s the hair­styl­ists, there’s the elec­tri­cians, there’s the cook and the chef, there’s the iron work­ers, there’s the au­to­mo­tive folks,” Charlebois said.

“It’s not just the An­gelina Jolie’s of the world.”

Wan­der­ing fur­ther down the block, hemmed in for a large part by lemon­ade ad­ver­tise­ment ban­ners or Grolsch brew­ery lo­gos, Casper mat­tresses of­fer pedes­tri­ans an 8-minute nap ex­pe­ri­ence in one of the built-in sleep pods within the ve­hi­cle.

You have to take off your shoes be­fore you en­ter. They’ll of­fer you a pair of padded slip­pers for the ex­pe­ri­ence. A red lac­quer phone, when lifted off the re­ceiver and to the ear, croons out bird sounds or bed­time sto­ries.

Dur­ing the eight-minute ses­sions, more than one per­son can be in the bed pods, com­pany rep­re­sen­ta­tives cheer­fully in­formed the Star. They weren’t in­tend­ing to sell many mat­tresses that day: just to give an ex­pe­ri­ence.

Even more lav­ish still, the Ritz Car­leton Ho­tel is boast­ing its own ac­ti­va­tions — in­clud­ing an $1000 cock­tail ex­pe­ri­ence for two, served with Glacier Bay oys­ters and Aca­dian wild stur­geon caviar.

But, only a few feet away from the glitz, glam­our and price-tag of the street fes­ti­val, the reg­u­lar ven­dors of a farmer’s mar­ket in David Pe­caut Square set up their tents to sell fruit, veg­eta­bles, flow­ers and pies. Some bas­kets are la­beled in mask­ing tape. Cus­tomers ex­change fa­mil­iar­i­ties with the ven­dors.

Rob McCa­mus, who stood with his brother to sell the maple syrup their fam­ily has been mak­ing for a cen­tury in Peterborough, said they were pay­ing around $2000 to claim that spot for a year. They had to leave at 2:00 on Thurs­day, but would be back to pitch the tent again next week.

“I’ve never been near the place for TIFF,” McCa­mus chuck­led. “It’s in­ter­est­ing, very in­ter­est­ing.”

THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

TORSTAR NEWS SER­VICE

the Fes­ti­val street ini­tia­tive takes over King street be­tween Peter street and univer­sity av­enue this week­end. among the things you can ex­pe­ri­ence are a mock bistro by air France, a spot where you can nap for a few min­utes on a casper ma­tress, and a vir­tual-re­al­ity photo booth from Be­for­eiFly.

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