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Muhammad Sobrie Mohatam
Temasek Polytechnic
Festival and Events Management


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November 2008

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Monday, November 24, 2008


The purpose of this report is to identify how the various components of the event marketing mix had been adopted in the festival/ event that I have visited and evaluate how effective these components had been used to contribute towards the success of the festival/ event and consider the role of this festival / event to Singapore and its value to the tourism economy.

Observation was made throughout the field trip to analyze the marketing mix that was used in the festival. Some of the marketing mix was efficiently applied but somehow, some have rooms for improvement to market the product.

The Singapore Biennale is a contemporary art exhibition by artists hailing from all over the world, showcasing artworks that enable the audiences to feast their senses
on the multitude of their artworks.

Biennale now, once again, reopened its arms showcasing the different talents of international artistes' artworks in Singapore with their new theme, "Wonder". Biennale 2006 was a succesful hit with its theme, "Belief".

"Wonder" is a feeling of surprise and admiration caused by something beautiful, unexpected or unfamiliar, and as a verb, it is not only to “feel curious” or “desire to know”, but also to "feel doubt" - Concise Oxford Dictionary, 11th Edition, pp1658, 1859.

Biennale 2008 now has grown mature with its new theme "Wonder". Through contemporary art, "Wonder" serves as a challenging premise that calls for us to be awed, but more importantly, to let people recognise this and allow themselves to be surprised and tantalised.

This festival was made to public from 11 September 2008 to 16th November 2008. Venues were scattered all over Singapore's town from City Hall to South Beach Development in South Bridge Road. Biennale 2008 encompassed of different programmes such as exhibitions, vernissage, encounters, kid's biennale, education and outreach, and other parallel events.

As for me, as a visual type of person, I decided to visit the exhibitions that Biennale had to offer in City Hall. I was amazed by magnificent artworks by various artists such as Zadok Ben-David's "Blackfield", Lee Yong Deok's "I'm Not Expensive" and E Chen's "Tropicana".

Evaluation of the Effective Use of Marketing Mix

It's important for an event/festival to use the Marketing Mix to market their product/services to their customers.

The Evaluation:

Firsly, let's look into Biennale's first marketing mix, Product.

The product is the physical product or service offered to the consumer. In the case of physical products, it also refers to any services or conveniences that are part of the offering. It also defines the characteristics of the product or service that meets the needs of customers.

As for Biennale, it's clear that its main target audience is not only for the tourists but for the general public who are interested in contemporary art. Biennale is unique in a sense that it’s an augmented product. It has additional features that differs from normal Arts exhibition like for example, its exhibitions are scattered around Singapore’s city, its artworks which transmit messages to all the five senses and with tour guides conducting tours around the venue and at the same interacting with them for the visitors’ satisfaction. It also has Kid’s Biennale which Biennale and Little Art Bug Workshop worked together to design an integrated programme to introduce Primary school children to this year’s theme of Wonder. The Kids' Biennale showcased the best works and special projects by participating schools. More than 36 schools and 8000 participated in this special initiative to rethink what art education means. This shows that Biennale has augmented its product to cater to a new target group.
Biennale too has improved its exhibitions from the previous one due to the fact that it has more venues to exhibits its artworks and a new theme for a new experience for the visitors and it’s Kids Biennale.

Overall, I think Biennale has used it’s product mix efficiently that has successfully caters to its target market which is the general public by having different programmes that might interest them.

Secondly, Price.

Pricing is considered one of the most important Ps in the Marketing Mix. Pricing is difficult and must reflect supply and demand relationship. Pricing a product too high or too low could mean a loss of sales for the organization.

Biennale has succesfully priced their product that suits the affordability of the mass public. As their target group was for the general public, it priced their product that caters to different market group. For example, Biennale offered a 50% discount for students, senior citizens and children above 3 years old. As what I believe, Biennale used bundling pricing which includes freebies, tour guide and a guide book for the price ticket of $10 for an entry to City Hall and South Beach Development venues. There are also other ticket promotions such as, 30% discount off admissions fee and a short guide for PAssion card holders, 20% discount off admissions fee and a short guide for McCafé customer who purchased McCafé meal and with other promotions. However, there are also other venues which don’t require a person to purchase a ticket to view the exhibitions such as the ones at Esplanade Bridge, Raffles City Shopping Centre and Central Promontory Site.

Pricing mix was effectively used by Biennale. I suggest that Biennale should include transportation in the bundle pricing too to transport its visitors from one venue to another to save its visitors’ money and time.

The third P is Place.

Place includes the venue, accommodation, emergency access, host town, region, county, environmental conditions, geographical location.

As we know, Biennale was spread through from City Hall, Esplanade Bridge, South Beach Development, Raffles City Shopping Centre, Central Promontory Site and the Singapore Flyer. As for me, I went for the exhibition which was held in City Hall. City Hall used to be a Supreme Court. Now, City Hall is transformed into an art gallery as soon converted into a world class art gallery by 2013.

City Hall is indeed accessible by various mode of transportation name it by public buses, trains or cars with available parking lots. City Hall was a excellent venue that Biennale chose as one of the venues as its part of a tourist attraction which has a glory history behind it. The interior of City Hall was well organized and furnished which was convenient for the visitors. Artworks were displayed on the 3rd and 4th floor of the City Hall building without elevators which was inconvenient for me to climb up the stairs. Floor plan of the exhibition was pleasantly designed to help navigate the visitors in the Guide Book. Toilets were only available on the 4th floor which might impose inconvenience for the visitors.

Although Biennale has chosen good locations that were accessible for its visitors, however, its venues are scattered everywhere that requires visitors to travel which may require money and time. Biennale should either have the event on one specific location or provide free transportation to the stated venues.

Next, I will talk about the Partnership.

Partnership with sponsors and other organisations is crucial in terms of funding or other ways of support. Their marketing presence can be very beneficial when designing promotional activities.

Take for example the Singapore Flyer’s promotion. Biennale and Singapore Flyer have worked together hand in hand to promote each other’s attraction. Biennale carried out a promotion where visitors would have a discount to ride the Singapore Flyer when the visitor presents the $10 Biennale entry ticket.

Biennale too had a conjunction with McCafe to support each other in such a way that when a visitor buys a Mc Café meal, he will receive a 20% discount and a free short guide.

Some partners that were listed in supporting events are:

IKEA, Club21, Marina Bay Singapore, Jet Airways to name a few.

In this way, Biennale had taken advantage of its partnership to market its product and influence the general public to visit its event.

Next P is Participation and People.

There are three different meanings of participation and people. Firstly, the visitors are affected by other visitors that are part of the experience which is to meet other people with similar interests. Secondly, the event staff who is an important factor in bringing a good event and their excitement in contact with the visitors. The third factor is their teamwork which is another element of marketing the event.

As soon as I arrived, I felt a warm welcome by not the staff, but its banners and all which then I was welcomed by their staff with a warmth hospitality. Being a first-timer visiting this event, I was all confused on where to purchase the ticket. A friendly staff, saw my confusion state, approached me and escorted me to the ticketing booth which was then greeted by the staff at the ticket booth.

Even though I did not attend the short guide tour, I did observe on how the tour guides conducted the tour on other groups. It’s sad that the tour guides focused on bringing out the information of the artworks but not interacting with the visitors and let them have deep thoughts on them.

Lastly, is the Packaging and Programming.

Packaging describes the way events are presented in terms of marketing and programming that includes performers, other sub-events and services as part of the festival.

Biennale even though an arts festival which exhibits contemporary artworks of international artistes, it also promoted side events from March to November such as Sublime by Studio 5 which was an exhibition relating to the history of Kampong Kapor, its current inhabitants and functions as well as opportunities and possibilities in its future, C arts first C-8 talks which was a talk on Asian contemporary art by speaker Dr. Melissa Chiu, Director of Asia Society Museum and Vice President of the Global Art Programs and other sub-events.

As we can see, these sub-events are all related to the main event, Biennale, which one or in another way promoted the visitors to attend it. I feel that Biennale had efficiently used this marketing element to successfully pull the visitors of the sub-events to attend Biennale.

The tourism roles and economic value of the festival / event

Singapore is now opening up her arms to showcase artistic talents by having art festivals and events to promote it. Biennale was organized by the National Arts Council (NAC) that aims to position Singapore prominently as an international centre and regional thought leader in the field of visual art. It encourages Singapore artistes and locals to engage with the international art world. It also attracts tourists that are artistically inclined to visit Singapore.

Biennale stand as a platform for alliance with global arts community to provide new opportunities for Singapore artists and arts businesses. It also provides significant opportunity to nurture deeper public engagement with the arts. It harmonizes the achievements of other areas of the arts and cultural scene and enhancing Singapore’s international image as a vibrant city to visit, live, work and play.


Venues were situated around Singapore’s main tourist attractions such as The Esplanade, Singapore Flyer, City Hall, St. Andrew Cathedral and also the upcoming Marina Bay Resorts. These attractions influence the visitors of Biennale, namely tourists, to visit those locations to have more information about them.

Tourist Attractions

Singapore is becoming a regional centre for international arts events. Ministry of Information, Communication and the Arts is cultivating Singapore as an international Arts hub, encouraging young talents to display their talents to an international level. By this, Biennale would stand as a platform for Singapore to be internationally known as an Arts hub internationally and regionally. Tourists who are inclined towards the Arts would revisit Singapore’s arts festivals and events. Hence, this may act as recognition for Singapore to be internationally known for Arts hub.

Image Maker

Biennale may not known by many in Singapore. But with artwork displays for the public at Raffles Shopping Centre and Esplanade Bridge, many would be curious on what were the artworks for. Information enquired from the artworks would lead them to visit the main event. By having public displays, it also portrays Singapore’s image as a Global Arts City.

Place Marketing

Biennale has spread through its exhibitions throughout the globe such as Russia, Italy, Canada and much more. By having Biennale in Singapore, this will put Singapore in the world map and recognized as a Global Arts City. It helps to introduce to the world what Singapore is and what it will offer to the tourists with its different unique elements like culture and heritage, education, sports, arts and etc. With the venues scattered around Marina Bay, it helps to showcase the upcoming Marina Sands IR which would attract tourists in the future.


Biennale’s animator was the artworks displayed in the venues for the tangibility of the product of the event. The displays of artworks in the venues that did not require free entrance tickets could act as a pull factor for the new visitors. Word-of-mouth by visitors can also influence the new visitors to visit the event. Biennale events in different countries could also influence their host country society to visit Singapore’s Biennale to know the uniqueness of Singapore Biennale that it offered.

Economic Value

Biennale not only attracts tourists but also the locals to visit its exhibitions that contribute to Singapore’s economic value. The promotions and partnerships that they had such as the Singapore Flyer and McCafe influence the visitors to ride the Singapore Flyer and have a meal in McCafe which indirectly contributes to Singapore’s economy. Not only that, entrance tickets for the sub-events too, contributed to the Singapore economy.

Venues of Biennale were also situated near cafes, restaurants, and shopping centres and also accessible by various means of transport. It contributed to the economy in a sense that visitors might visit restaurants, cafes and shopping centres around the venues which also could contribute to the economy. Visitors also had to travel by public transport to move them from one venue to another which also contributed to Singapore’s economy.


By visiting Biennale, I’ve learnt that it has effectively used the marketing mix. Organizers of Biennale came up with brilliant ideas to promote and market this event by having promotions, locating the exhibitions in superb venues, providing visitors with good facilities even though it’s not perfect in overall. Biennale has successfully augmented their product without having the same old boring exhibitions that normal arts festival would showcase. With Singapore’s continuation to promote the Arts, I’m sure that Biennale will be superb one in the upcoming events.

Biennale was successful in 2006. With its comeback this year, again, it has proven to be successful with numerous news that were published in the media. I’m looking forward to attend the next Biennale in the future considering its affordable price and to support MICA in developing Singapore into a Global Arts City.



Skyline lasted till
-3:54 AM