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Zurich business dances to a techno tune

It's not just ravers who will be attracted to Zurich by this weekend's annual techno music Street Parade. Businesses are also fighting for a chance to strut their stuff in front of the estimated half a million techno fans expected at the event.

The Street Parade started back in 1992 with around 1,000 participants and no official sanction from the Zurich authorities. Its roots were strongly embedded in the alternative techno music scene which existed in the city at the time.

Over the past few years techno music has become much more mainstream as an increasing number of radio stations choose to broadcast it. This in turn has seen the Street Parade, the second biggest techno parade in the world after Berlin’s Love Parade, grow by leaps and bounds.

However, the organisers of Street Parade are trying to remain faithful to their roots, running a non-profit making organisation and allowing neither tobacco nor alcohol companies the chance to advertise or sponsor the event.

This has left the way open for companies such as the Internet publisher BOL.CH to take its position as one of this year’s main sponsors for an undisclosed amount.

“This is the first time a ‘dot com’ has sponsored such a big event and we want to gain some experience,” said Hans Martin Lütscher, marketing director of BOL.CH.

The Street Parade is the biggest event in Switzerland. Last year it attracted an audience of 550,000 from all over Europe – an attractive proposition for most marketing directors.

“The Street Parade is a great opportunity for us to meet half a million people and we’re convinced this is our target audience,” added Lütscher.

BOL’s internet operation was somewhat behind the competition in its launch and has been fighting to make up market share ever since. The Street Parade offers the German-owned company the chance to increase its brand awareness with the high-tech friendly 18-30 age group.

With such a technologically sophisticated audience, who have grown up on a diet of Sony Play Stations, the Internet and home computers, a standard poster campaign is unlikely to be enough. Something a little more sophisticated is more likely to attract brand loyalty.

“We are along the route with posters, but we also have three platforms where people can have their pictures taken, these can afterwards be downloaded from the Internet,” explained Lütscher.

The Street Parade, despite its organisers’ loyalty to the events’ alternative roots, still managed last year to generate SFr65 million in revenue for businesses within the canton of Zurich.

This level of revenue and such a large, young audience are proving an attractive proposition for companies like BOL.CH, as they join in the Street Parade celebrations.

by Tom O’Brien

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR