POMP AND CIRCUMSTANCE
Computacenter’s main event is a true British classic, says Annica Svensson
The Royal Albert Hall is filled to capacity, a black tie audience waving its flags expectantly as the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Royal Choral Society settle in beneath the stage’s giant Union
Jack. Soon, an immaculately turned-out Angela Rippon appears. She introduces top conductor David Arnold, who with a nod ensures the orchestra and crowd erupt into the National Anthem. It’s got to
be the Last Night of the Proms, right?
Well, almost. The event in question has the same look and feel as the BBC’s world-famous extravaganza – the song sheets, flags and streamers are all very much in evidence – only this night is made
particularly memorable for one company’s selected guests. For them, the promenaders’ pit has been transformed into a grand dining area, where, after a silver-service meal, they’ll be able to sit
back with a glass of fine wine to enjoy what has to be some of the most prestigious after-dinner entertainment you could ever hope to experience.
Welcome to the Computacenter Cathcart Spring Proms, an annual event that’s not only a highlight in the classical music calendar (some 3,500 tickets are snapped up by members of the public each
year) but also the main date in the IT infrastructure provider Computacenter’s corporate events diary. Having sponsored the concerts since the inaugural event nine years ago, the company has for
the last three years been able to impress clients further with a royal connection. This year’s concert was entitled ‘An Evening to Celebrate the Life of Diana, Princess of Wales’ and carried a
message from the Queen in the souvenir programme. How’s that for brand association in your corporate collatoral?
‘Being connected with prestigious, high-profile events like this is key to our marketing strategy,’ explains Adam Austin, Computacenter’s marketing director. ‘It gives us an opportunity to join
many of our customers at an annual performance of great classical and contemporary music that also contributes funds to UK charities.’ Austin points out that the company also entertains at rugby
fixtures such as the Autumn Internationals at Twickenham and the Six Nations Championship, for which it provides match analysis and statistics.
Jane Wade, director and sponsorship manager at European Group, which not only produces the Cathcart Spring Proms but also
handles Computacenter’s Christmas parties, which bring together 800 staff from branch offices around the UK, confirms this. ‘The company’s commitment to using live events with both an internal and
external focus in its marketing mix is evident in the portfolio of events it holds and sponsors. There is even a team dedicated to ensuring clarity of focus in the sponsorship and event activity, a
tribute to this commitment,’ she says.
It is a set-up that clearly works. A valuable exercise in brand awareness, the Computacenter Cathcart Spring Proms (nicknamed the ‘Corporate Proms’) are obviously a greatly appreciated form of
hospitality, too. The roaring cheers which rose from the promenaders’ pit when Ms Rippon requested a round of applause for the evening’s sponsors were certainly testament to that. And, how could
you possibly forget sitting at the heart of the Royal Albert Hall, surrounded by thousands of people singing Land of Hope and Glory as a sea of balloons starts falling around you? Having brought a
spectacular evening to a fitting end by excitedly popping balloons to create a crackling cacophony of sound, just like a firework finale, we bet Computacenter’s guests remember their night of pomp
and circumstance for a very long time.
If you’re not on Computacenter’s list of invitees for next year’s Cathcart Proms, why not bring your own guests to the event instead? Again, it’s organised by the European Group, which also sells hospitality packages (for 10 or 12 people) that include dinner in a VIP area and box seats for
the concert. The date to remember is 19 May 2005. Book with European Events on 0870 011 1991.
From Square Meal The Magazine, Summer Issue 2004