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04 August 2006



Well, Slim-fast or Jenny Craig would be worse. Not much worse, but worse.


See, that's the spirit!

How about the "Dove Firming Cream Women in Jazz Festival"?

Or the "Hummer 'Get Your Girl On' Women in Jazz Festival"?


Maybe it's implying that "The world's largest women's jazz festival" needs to slim down?


Then again, maybe it's not patronising at all - all of the women my age I know never drink Coke, only Diet Coke. So if the Dizzy Coca-Cola company is going to be sponsoring it anyway...


Well, yes, the fact that Diet Coke is considered a "women's product" is clearly the reasoning behind associating the Diet Coke brand with the festival -- but that only makes the name seem more patronizing, not less.

The other thing is, they are advertising to the audience members, not the artists. So the subtext of this branding is that only women will be interested in attending the "Diet Coke Women in Jazz Festival"...


Well, Diet Coke is more universal (and appealing?) than Tampax...


That's the point. The "real" jazz festivals are sponsored by the likes of JVC, Verizon, Seagram, Heineken, Labatt, TD Bank... or, you know, Coca-Cola. There's no reason why a women-in-jazz festival should have a different type of sponsorship... unless, of course, the promoters are deliberately trying to ghettoize the event...

I mean, how would you feel about a "Popeye's Fried Chicken Harlem Jazz Festival"?


Assuming PFC is a local Harlem thing, I'd actually prefer it to a big, multinational brand. Sounds a bit rinky-dink, but also has a local pride connotation.

To be honest, I'm not really up on festival sponsorship naming: here, apart from the Blue Note Records Festival, festivals aren't branded by their sponsors (neither are sports stadiums). I can only hope things stay that way: Verizon and Diet Coke sound equally ridiculous to me.


Assuming PFC is a local Harlem thing

It's not.

I'm actually with you on the community sponsorship, though. I definitely wouldn't have the same problem with, say, Charles' Southern Style Kitchen underwriting a jazz fest. (Obviously, it would be very small and very local, but that's cool.) Popeye's, on the other hand, is just another shitty international fast-food chain.

[Though it's kinda funny that you called Popeye's PFC -- this threw me for a sec, since in Quebec, KFC is called PFK... for obvious reasons. I'm (morbidly) curious -- is it also called PFK in Belgium and France?]

here... festivals aren't branded by their sponsors

Yeah, well, what's infuriating in North America is that it seems that it's only the jazz festivals that get branded.

Lollapalooza, Coachella, Tanglewood -- these festivals all have big corporate sponsors but they're not about to sign away their naming rights. It's just so obvious that doing so would instantly kill whatever credibility/cachet/cultural currency they have. But basically every major jazz festival on this continent is named after the primary corporate sponsor, which may be good for the festival's bottom line but is extremely unhealthy for the artform. This topic may be worth a post of its own...


"I'm (morbidly) curious -- is it also called PFK in Belgium and France?"

No. I don't think there are that many. Maybe none at all in Belgium. I'm not sure. That's too bad: I'm not a fast food fan, but gorging on KFC once or twice a year would be nice.

Of course, France has its own absurd official translations (not of company names, though), most of which are rarely used.

Deanna Witkowski

Hey Darcy and everyone,

In general, no matter who the sponsor is, I'm not a huge fan of being promoted as a "woman in jazz," even though my band is playing on this festival. I'm glad for the opportunity to play, and I don't drink soda anyway. When I think about it, I often don't use whatever product is being pushed as a corporate sponsor of a festival. But I also believe that by making a category of "women in jazz" there is a separation going on that only makes the category seem more necessary than it is.

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