The Macau Arts Festival (MAF) is an annual program held at Macao during the month of May. The main objective of the yearly event is to showcase cultural and artistic life enrichment for both the locals and visitors. The activities during this celebrations focus on promoting arts and artistic education to encourage people, especially the residents to embrace arts in their daily lives. The May 2018 MAF is the 29th festival and the theme symbolizes springs of life and serves to broaden the society's thinking of life (Macau Art Festival, 2018). The events require annual promotions through various advertisement platforms, to reach many people and inform them of the significance and the need to attend the occasion. The promotions during this year's event were carried out through the use of social media (MAF Youtube channel and Facebook page), internet (MAF official website), and festival's brochures. All these platforms highlight and give detailed descriptions of the event plan or program flow during the whole event.
The highlighted programs or the event content of the 29th MAF annual festival are 26 in number. The programs bring the local, national, and international works together. The focal points of the programs are seven, which include the following; Thematic Focus (Roots), which retraces the key meaning of life exploring war, crime, community life, gender, local life, and capital; new cutting edge (link), which creates deeper emphasis on local issues hence connecting Macau to the world; cross-border creation, which breaks the border and stalemate of theaters (dance, drama, visual arts, installations, and body theaters); The government office (talented artists' performances for joy and warmth); and fine arts. The success of the event relies on the level of art promotion in the community (Macau Art Festival, 2018). The advantages and disadvantages of the employed communication strategies used in the MAF, 2018 were as follows.
The Facebook media advertising platform enables the marketers to create an event, set date and programs, and know the number of people interested in joining the event as well as the number of those who plan to attend. It is possible to track the performance of the previous events and the number of people attracted through the platform. Moreover, Facebook can also enable users to create links such as website links so that followers are able to retrieve more information regarding the event from the main website, blog, and Youtube links (Hensel, & Deis, 2010). The platform also enables quick notifications, and orderly posts starting with the most recent information coming or appearing before the older posts. The number of 'likes' and 'loves' or any other form of reactions help the promoters to do analysis and estimate the customers' response to the occasion. Facebook also enables the target community to visually appreciate the picture coverage of an event in the form of photographs.
The Facebook promotion of the event is able to reach many people, especially the target group at a low cost. The festival MAF festival advertising using the platform requires a small budget. The event can still reach many people, the majority being the youths at a low cost. Also, it is possible to estimate the potential reach using the Facebook platform. Therefore, the event planners are able to know the group worth targeting and that on the contrary. Lastly, there is a high chance that the advert will go viral due to the capability to share, besides the ability to engage directly the fans and the community at large (Hensel, & Deis, 2010).
The Facebook advertising also has certain limitations. Today, statistics show that the percentage of people who like, share, and click posts decreases every year. The page and posts engagement rates decrease every year. There is also a danger of alternative fake profiles to Facebook pages that are likely to counterfeit the original page. Such pages can provide misleading information and cost a great loss to the festival. Lastly, since credibility is crucial, anyone can advertise on Facebook, but unless the post is credible, it will be regarded as a scam.
The MAF also used Youtube as an advertising platform. The video posting on the Youtube is free and therefore, there is no worry about advertisement costs. Second, the platform allows a combination of sight, motion, and sound thereby appeals to the senses and attracts high attention, as well as high reach. Also, not so many businesses dwell in video making and adverts on Youtube, making the platform to have a little higher customer attention compared to other social media platforms. Also, Youtube only allows the interested parties to watch the videos, and there is, therefore, no need to waste money advertising to uninterested people. Lastly, the platform creates an opportunity to connect with clients or customers.
Nevertheless, Youtube advertisement has certain disadvantages. First, the long videos can be exhausting and lead to quick loss of interest. Second, the poor graphics of both images and videos may not appeal to the audience (Skurpel, 2016). Lastly, there are higher chances of infringement of copyright issues on Youtube.
The MAF also used the brochures in advertising of the event. The advantages of this technique of communication and advertisement include their flexibility, ability to dramatize a message, and full control of the event and people. The MAF brochure captures a graphical image of the event on the cover page and a detailed description of the schedules throughout the event. Nevertheless, the limitation of this method is that the overproduction of brochures can cause runaway costs.
The MAF also advertised the event through the internet use. The internet has the advantages of high selectivity, relatively low cost, and interactivity. The MAF website is dynamic and accessible easily even through the mobile phones platform. The graphics are light and, therefore, easy to access. However, the use of the internet is not yet explored fully in some countries, hence a low number of users (Skurpel, 2016). Also, the navigation may be challenging if multiple pages are opted for in building the website and given a difficult mobile and computer user interface.
These methods analyzed were useful in one way or the other even though there were some little limitations. The future advertising and communication techniques before and on the MAF scheduled for May 2019 can follow the following recommendations for improved marketing communication. First, the videos on the website, Facebook, and Youtube should be kept short and precise to maintain the audience' interests and concentration. Long videos are exhaustive, especially for those who do not have interest in the event. Therefore, the only way to win them to embrace technology is to maintain short, precise, and accurate contents.
The MAF can also use the commonly known and government-regulated platforms to increase credibility and trust. The advertising can be in future carried out through radios, televisions, and newspapers to reach both the young and the old equally. The internet technology (social media and websites) today mainly favors the youth and that can be discriminating.
Hensel, K., & Deis, M. H. (2010). Using social media to increase advertising and improve marketing. The Entrepreneurial Executive, 15, 87.
Macau Art Festival. (2018, May). Macau Art Festival (MAU). Retrieved from http://www.icm.gov.mo/fam/29/gb/
Skurpel, D. (2016). Advantages and disadvantages of internet marketing research. World Scientific News, (57), 712-721.
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