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