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Type: Thesis
Title: The Art of Selling the Arts: Shifting Fringe Arts Strategic Marketing to the Digital Sphere
Author: Nancarrow, Amy Elizabeth
Issue Date: 2020
School/Discipline: School of Humanities : Media
Abstract: This thesis examines the role of marketing within fringe arts festival environments, which are known for their open-access model, cross-genre programming, and rapid expansion in both popularity and size. Looking specifically at the two largest fringe arts festivals in the world – the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and the Adelaide Fringe Festival – this thesis provides insight into the different stakeholders within fringe arts environments, and how each of these stakeholders has a particular motivation for the use of, and practice in executing, strategic marketing. This project uses an ethnographic research framework which includes participant observation research, in-depth examination of key marketing touchpoints from the 2018 Edinburgh Festival Fringe and the 2019 Adelaide Fringe Festival, and semi-structured interviews to study the current state of marketing within the fringe arts festival industry. Coming from a perspective of curiosity rather than with the intent to test a hypothesis, this type of examination of the Fringe festival marketing environment has not, at the time of writing, been conducted to this extent before in academia. Fringe arts festivals are complex environments, with interconnecting international networks, competing financial interests, and multiple stakeholders seeking different outcomes from the same event. With intrinsic cultural ties and community values in Fringe arts festivals, marketing different forms of content within these environments is a delicate operation that requires strategic planning. Audiences are increasingly seeking participatory experiences, and Fringe arts marketers are required to provide opportunities for engagement whilst also cultivating a brand personality that audiences can trust, particularly as what is being marketed is an intangible good. What emerges from this work is threefold: firstly, a framework of understanding for the roles of key Fringe stakeholders, and how they position their brand within the festival landscape. Secondly, the interviews reveal the need for a shift in understanding when it comes to best practice for marketers in fringe arts festival contexts. Often over-worked, under-paid, and under-resourced, Fringe arts marketers within a number of institutions are required to complete a large amount of work in a short timeframe. Not only does this indicate the potential need for restructuring within fringe arts festival work cultures, it also highlights how marketers have had to shift towards a predominantly digital media strategy in order to achieve the greatest results with the resources available to them. Thirdly, this thesis proposes a new, qualitative methodological approach to festivals marketing – one that seeks to examine the lived experience of people working directly in the field. Using theoretical approaches from cultural and media studies, this thesis examines the marketing mixes within the 2018 Edinburgh and 2019 Adelaide fringe festivals, the purpose(s) behind these mixes, the shift towards digital media marketing strategies, and the implications of using data collation and analysis tools to segment and target desired audience streams. Patterns form within these two environments, and as the Edinburgh Festival Fringe has provided the framework for fringe arts festivals worldwide these findings can provide indications of trends within fringe arts environments around the world. Keywords: Digital media, fringe arts, festivals, audience engagement, brand relationships, marketing mix.
Advisor: Bowd, Kathryn
Barbour, Kim
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, School of Humanities, Department of Media, 2020
Keywords: Digital media
fringe arts
audience engagement
brand relationships
marketing mix
Provenance: This electronic version is made publicly available by the University of Adelaide in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. This thesis may incorporate third party material which has been used by the author pursuant to Fair Dealing exceptions. If you are the owner of any included third party copyright material you wish to be removed from this electronic version, please complete the take down form located at:
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