High Impact Brand Event Activations Take Center Stage at 2011 ESSENCE MUSIC FESTIVAL

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    High Impact Brand Event Activations Take Center Stage at 2011 ESSENCE MUSIC FESTIVAL

    SPONSORS COCA-COLA, MCDONALD'S, PROCTER AND GAMBLE AND VERIZON WIRELESS JOIN ESSENCE TO HOST SELECT NATIONAL MEDIA OUTLETS FOR FURTHER BRAND EXPOSURE

    PR Newswire

    NEW YORK, June 28, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — With performances by award-winning and multi-platinum superstars Mary J. Blige, Kanye West, Jill Scott, Usher and Trey Songz, the 2011 ESSENCE MUSIC FESTIVAL will undoubtedly bring in thousands of consumers from across the country looking to experience the best in music and culture. While music is hallmark to this weekend-long celebration, in recent years the ESSENCE MUSIC FESTIVAL has become equally popular for its marquee brand activations and executions that allow top companies such as Coca-Cola, McDonald's and Procter and Gamble to engage and connect with African-American families.

    As the nation's largest annual African-American event celebrating Black music and culture, the 2011 ESSENCE MUSIC FESTIVAL brings music, cultural and community under the one roof, providing consumers an unparalleled, multi-platform experience that includes inspiring empowerment seminars, free contest and product giveaways, celebrity autograph signings and some of the hottest parties in the city. Committed to the ongoing revival of New Orleans, the ESSENCE MUSIC FESTIVAL experience surpasses daily ESSENCE Pavilion activities at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, offering attendees — last year toppling 400,000 — a true taste of New Orleans while supporting local businesses.

    To further gain momentum around their presence at this year's Festival, several brands including the 2011 presenting sponsor Coca-Cola, and major sponsors McDonald's, Procter and Gamble and Verizon Wireless have partnered with ESSENCE to host a select group of national and local lifestyle and news media outlets for the entire duration of the festival. Coordinated by Miles Ahead Entertainment, a full-service marketing and PR firm specializing in sponsorship procurement, entertainment marketing, event management, media relations and publicity, participating journalists will not only be granted a behind-the-scenes access of concert performances but also in-depth tours of various sponsored event activations, community service initiatives and celebrity interviews.

    "ESSENCE is honored to partner with top tier brands for a second year to host some of the most respected media outlets at this year's ESSENCE MUSIC FESTIVAL. We are pleased that these brands recognize the magnitude of the ESSENCE MUSIC FESTIVAL as well as the opportunity to build an authentic connection with African Americans families," said Michelle Ebanks, President, Essence Communications Inc. "We believe this strategy will further showcase our investment in brands, but also in our beloved New Orleans, to a wider audience."

    Highlights of sponsored events and initiatives on participating media itineraries include:

    • As the presenting sponsor for this year's Festival, Coca-Cola will be celebrating its 125th Anniversary Celebration during the entire weekend with various daytime festivities as well as special performances, interactive games, giveaways, and of course, ice cold Coca-Cola.?
    • For a sixth year, McDonald's kicks off the official start to the ESSENCE MUSIC FESTIVAL with the McDonald's 365Black Awards, held on Friday, July 1. Co-hosted by award-winning actress Angela Bassett, the event recognizes individuals who make significant contributions to the African-American community; 2011 honorees include GRAMMY award-winning artist Mary J. Blige and Oscar award nominee actress Ruby Dee. McDonald's will also announce the winner of the Men of McCafe Casting Call, the brand's first nationwide search for the best in community service minded men ages 18-34.
    • Procter & Gamble will host an array of spa-like and style-focused engagements under its family of brands, including the 50th anniversary of CoverGirl and its 10th anniversary of the CoverGirl Queen Collection with a special appearance by Queen Latifah, My Black is Beautiful "Transforming Your Life" day at the ESSENCE Empowerment Experience, and various TIDE, Olay and Pantene consumer giveaways and contests.
    • Verizon Wireless will give consumers a chance to check out the Verizon Experience, which showcases the latest in entertainment and technology through product demonstrations, surprise celebrity meet and greets and a chance to win prizes and more.

    What began in 1995 as a one-time event to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of ESSENCE magazine has now grown into one of the country's "Top 10 Leading Brand Events" by Advertising Age. ?Stay tuned for realtime ESSENCE MUSIC FESTIVAL coverage from participating media.

    For information about ticket sales, accommodations and the latest news about the ESSENCE MUSIC FESTIVAL, visit http://www.essence.com/festival. Join the Festival community: follow us on Twitter@essencemusic #EMF2011 and become a fan of 2011 Essence Music Festival on Facebook.

    The 2011 ESSENCE MUSIC FESTIVAL is executive produced by Essence Festivals LLC, a division of Essence Communications Inc. (ECI). For information about ticket sales, accommodations and the latest news about the ESSENCE MUSIC FESTIVAL, visit http://www.essence.com/festival. Join the Festival community: follow us on Twitter@essencemusic #EMF2011 and become a fan of 2011 ESSENCE MUSIC FESTIVAL on Facebook.

    The presenting sponsor for the 2011 ESSENCE MUSIC FESTIVAL is Coca-Cola. ?Major sponsors include Coors Light, CoverGirl Queen Collection, Ford, McDonald's, My Home Made Beautiful, Olay, Pantene, U.S. Army and Walmart; official sponsors include My Black is Beautiful and Visa.

    The 2011 ESSENCE MUSIC FESTIVAL is executive produced by Essence Festivals LLC, a division of Essence Communications Inc. (ECI).

    ABOUT ESSENCE COMMUNICATIONS INC.:

    Essence Communications Inc. (ECI) is the number one media and communications company dedicated to African-American women. With a multi-platform presence in publishing, live events, and online, the Essence brand is "Where Black Women Come First". ?The company's flagship publication, ESSENCE magazine, is the preeminent lifestyle magazine for African-American women; generating brand extensions such as the ESSENCE MUSIC FESTIVAL, ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood, Window on Our Women (WOW I & II) and Smart Beauty I, II & III consumer insights, the Essence Book Club, Essence.com, and ventures in digital media (mobile, television and VOD). For more than 40 years, ESSENCE magazine, which has a brand reach of over 8 million, has been the leading source of cutting-edge information relating to every area of African-American women's lives. ?Additional information about ECI and ESSENCE is available at www.essence.com.

    SOURCE Essence Communications, Inc.