Nov 09, 2012 at 05:43 PM
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Sponsorship Mishap Shines Spotlight On Event Safety Concerns

One woman died and 19 were injured after signage promoting Lucozade's sponsorship of a Linkin Park concert in Cape Town fell Wednesday night. The New York Times reports..

The temporary scaffolding had been erected to hold a billboard for Lucozade, one of the concert’s sponsors, outside the Green Point stadium, where the California band was playing. The billboard toppled over in high winds, falling on a group of concertgoers just before the show.

In response to the tragedy, the energy and sports drink-maker issued the following statement:

We are deeply saddened by these events and extend our sincere condolences to the bereaved. Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have been injured and those who witnessed the tragedy. As tour sponsors of the concert, we are in close contact with the concert organizers and investigating authorities and will cooperate fully with them in their investigations.

...and followed up with this statement announcing plans to cancel its activation:

This has been a real tragedy and we are deeply saddened. Out of respect for victims of this accident we will not be actively promoting our tour sponsorship up to and at the final event.

and Linkin Park followed up with this statement on the band's website:

Following our performance tonight at Cape Town Stadium, we were advised that several people were injured as a result of the collapse of an advertising tower erected by Lucozade in the parking area outside the venue. We wish to express our deep sadness and concern for those injured and our heartfelt condolences to the family of the fan who died as a result of her injuries. Though we have had no relationship with the sponsor or the entity responsible for erecting the structure, we take the safety of our fans very seriously and our thoughts are with all of those who were affected by this tragedy.

Ironically, Linkin Park had been championing a movement to improve safety standards at outdoor events. As brand activations continue to push ever more elaborate limits in search of increased mind share, often in a crowded and competitive environment, this is unfortunately the latest in a series of reminders that events and brands have a responsibility to keep safety top of mind in their sponsorship planning efforts.

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