Wednesday 20 May 2009

North America’s getting the Caribanabuzz


The Buzz has already started! Websites. Blogs. Twitter talk. Newspapers. Radio and Television. The Scotiabank train has just left the station and is picking up steam.
It is May and the flowers are only now beginning to come out, yet, people are talking about this summer’s festival already, using words like, bigger, better and international. Why is it all this excitement beginning so early this year?
The big reason is that the media has turned its collective eye on the festival, predicting to its readers, listeners and viewers that Scotiabank Caribana will be the recession buster for Toronto’s tourism industry. They learned this late last month when the Festival held its kick-off press launch at the Royal Ontario Museum.
Over 45 reporters, photographers, videographers and bloggers from 22 different media outlets covered the one-hour morning press conference. The “presser” was information heavy – news about new corporate sponsors, new media partners and increase in support from title sponsor Scotiabank was released by Scotiabank Caribana.
The big story, delivered by Christine Williams, vice-president of Scotiabank, is that the bank has extended its two-year sponsorship of Caribana by an additional three-years. This is the second year that the bank is sponsoring the festival – so the bank’s name will be twinned with Caribana until at least 2012.
David Whittaker the CEO of Tourism Toronto and Joe Halstead, the head of Scotiabank Caribana talked candidly to the media about the economic climate in North America at the press conference. They told the media heavy audience that they expect large numbers of GTA residents will be staying in Toronto this summer and hundreds of thousands of them are talking about taking in the festival for the very first time. And, in the US border states, people will be looking to the festival as “The” vacation of the summer -- with a lower Canadian dollar, reduced gas prices, and special Caribana hotel and restaurant packages luring them north.
The MCs for the event were: Melissa Grelo, Co-host, CP24 BREAKFAST (left) and Andria Case, Anchor and Reporter, CTV News ( The pair was at the podium directing the press conference because CTV and CP24 are the new television media partners for the festival. CTV was the media partner two years ago. All news CP24 – recently acquired by CTV - has never been a media partner of the festival.
CP24 broadcast the press conference live on television and the Internet. As well, new radio partner; CFRB conducted a live on-air interview from the Museum during its noon news programme. CFRB has been a media partner of the festival for many years; however, it was not a sponsor in 2008.
The festival announced at the presser that the Toronto Sun is once again the newspaper sponsor of the festival and that Sway is the official magazine of Scotiabank Caribana and Toronto Lime is the on-line media partner.
Three media representatives in the audience found out first hand about Scotiabank Caribana’s newest corporate sponsor … the Blackberry phone. There was a lucky draw held following the press conference and three reporters went home with new Blackberry cell phones. The festival’s PR department has already fielded requests from phoneless reporters wondering when the next press conference and Blackberry draw is going to be held!
CUTLINE:CTV and CP-24 are the new media partners for Caribana'09. The two TV newsrooms sent help for April kick-off of ScotiaBank Caribana 09. Master of Ceremonies are: Melissa Grelo, Co-host, CP24 BREAKFAST (left) and Andria Case, Anchor and Reporter, CTV News


Interested in covering Caribana events for your blog, website, newspaper, radio, television or newspaper? Make sure you feel out a media application located on the Scotiabank