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Fringed with success

For the coolest festival on this half of the earth, print is the best way to reach its audience. And because of its complex needs, the Adelaide Fringe needs an unconventional print partner – one that can juggle, if you understand our meaning.  

In 1960 a small group of independent artists began the Adelaide Fringe to create opportunities for local talent. Nearly six decades on this curator-free event, devoted to giving artists from all disciplines a way to share their work, has become the largest arts festival in the southern hemisphere, contributing around $70 million of associated expenditure to the South Australian economy.

In the festival’s own words, it’s ‘fantasmagorical’.

To keep being fantabulous (another Fringe word) and having such a large economic and social impact, while continuing to draw enormous crowds, the festival needs to promote itself and its details about every single one of its 1,200 acts over four weeks – whether they’re staged in established venues (think theatres, hotels, art galleries, cafés and town halls) or pop-up venues (think parks, warehouses, lane-ways and empty buildings).

Enter: ’The Guide’.

Julie Moralee, Head of Marketing, Brand and Business Development says: Our guide is the Fringe bible, it’s still the number-one marketing tool for ticket buyers to obtain their information.

And while the guide is available online, 2018 festival research showed that 84% of survey respondents picked up a printed copy.

That’s a brilliant statistic in this digital age. People love to have something to read over with a cup of coffee and there’s something nice about being able to flip the pages and circle what you want to see. Even in a digital age, getting your hands on a physical guide is like signifying the start of the festival season, linked with summer, social outings, long days of sunlight, and busy, vibrant Adelaide streets. It’s like getting your hands on the Royal Adelaide Showbag Guide as a kid. It’s a symbol for so much more than just a list of potential shows: it becomes almost a coffee-table book for homes and offices across Adelaide and the rest of the country, as the edges become frayed, the pages dog eared, and shows circled.

84% of survey respondents picked up a printed copy – that’s massive in a digital age – Julie Moralee

Balancing a long promotion time for ticket sales while giving artists as long as possible to enter requires the right skills, processes and set-up.

Paul Wallis, Commercial Director at Finsbury Green said: Artwork is finalised nine days after act entry closes, then we print and deliver 290,000 guides seven days later so people can start buying tickets to shows. It’s a ‘hot potato’ in that everything runs right to that last minute, but that’s fine. We’re famous for that.

While the 144-page guide is the biggest, most visual item Finsbury Green does for Fringe, we also produce 139,224 other pieces of marketing collateral, including die-cut wallets, artist pocket books, a directory, A2 and A3 posters, an artist magazine, annual review brochures, artist calico bags, generic and personalised credentials cards, season passes and night passes, membership cards with variable data and a matinee guide.

For us, it’s very important to keep raising the bar of the quality, turnaround and technology that we can offer.

Julie says: Finsbury Green’s staff make things simple and easy! Their flexibility through the whole process, and willingness to trust Adelaide Fringe’s vision, creates confidence and strengthens the relationship we share with the entire Finsbury team. They are easy to work with, very capable of handling the large orders we require within our tight timeframes. The quality is assured, and their eco-friendly printing processes and business ethic is a great fit for Fringe.

Turn-around time and quality are key to success for this major economic contributor – Julie Moralee

Finsbury Green’s support and guidance on printing the guide has allowed Adelaide Fringe to continually use their services with confidence, and know the final product will be immaculate.

Without our strong relationship and mutual respect, we would not be able to deliver the overall campaign with such great success.

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