Chicago—Simon Brand Ventures will repeat its DTour Live event in 2004, and sponsors Sprite, Delia’s and Claire’s Boutiques may return. The tour is part of Simon’s efforts to build the Simon name as “an ingredient brand” behind its 235 malls nationally, says senior VP-business development Mikael Thygesen. Plans call for Simon to repeat the music, fashion and games-driven teen tour each year “for the foreseeable future,” says Thygesen, who spoke at PROMO Expo on Tuesday.
Sprite, Delia’s and Claire’s have expressed interest in the 2004 tour based on the success of this year’s 25-market inaugural run. DTour Live has played to big crowds since its Aug. 15 launch, hosting 2,000 to 2,500 teens per event and registering 800 to 1,000 kids per stop for its marketing database. Simon will boost capacity next year to accommodate more teens. The tour runs through October; Simon may tweak the timing next year to better match the school year. In-school media and a Tune In or Tune Out student-band competition drove awareness for the tour. In markets where school hadn’t yet begun, Simon used radio station tie-ins and “Buzz Squads” distributing flyers to boost awareness. One million geographically targeted e-mails supported.
“Teens went bonkers over the program,” says Matt McRoberts, director of marketing for AMP, the New York City-based agency handling Simon DTour Live. AMP parent Alloy bought Delia’s earlier this year (Xtra, Aug. 5).
Indianapolis-based Simon hopes to build DTour as a branded property that brings in sponsorships. This year, sponsorships helped amortize the nearly $1 million Simon spent in operational costs.