sophisticated patios with a subtle marketing pitch
It is the first long holiday weekend of the summer in Canada. The Victoria Day weekend (affectionately know by many locals as May Two-Four…a case of beer in Canada comes in 24s, thus 2-4) is the unofficial kick-off to the summer, with many people heading off to cottages, cabins, lake houses, chalets, and camp sites, or simply staying in town and hitting a city patio. This year, I fall in the last group and plan to hang out on the patio of a pub, restaurant, or bar, with a few friends, enjoying the weather and some good conversation over a few beverages.
While fine weather is key to a fine patio experience, the furniture and fitments play a role. While strolling the streets of Bratislava’s old town a couple of weekends ago I came to the realization that a lot of Toronto’s patios fall short on the furnishings factor. Bratislava is Slovakia’s capital, and yes, while likely one of the most visited tourist spots in the country, it is still emerging as a prime tourist destination by Western standards. Yet each and every patio was elegantly bedecked with quality furnishings…from the wicker resin or wood and metal tables and chairs, to the comfy cushions and soft blankets, to the sophisticated market umbrellas, awnings, and glass partitions. Not a cheap, stacking, uncomfortable, molded plastic chair in sight. And then I took a closer look…
It seems that almost all of these lovely furnishings were sponsored by beverage companies – whether they be beer or soft drinks. In Toronto we are used to beer companies subsidizing the cost of pint glasses or patio umbrellas in return for their logos being displayed, but this takes that marketing concept to a new, yet still sophisticated level. Yes, logos are prominently displayed on the umbrellas, and awnings and chairs and tables, but not in a garish way. The insignias are subtle, often in simple tone-on-tone format or even just black on a pane of glass (even giant brand names). This joint relationship between the proprietors and beverage companies results in an atmosphere that is attractive to patrons without an overbearing marketing message. As a marketer, I appreciate advertising that is subtle but poignant, which is clearly at work in burgeoning Bratislava.