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Events drive Crop Over and Carnival Advertising

Trinidad and Tobago’s Carnival and Barbados’ Crop Over Festival are both driven by the various events (including Fetes, Limes, Concerts, and Parties) that highlight their calendars. We tracked the advertising of these events at both festivals. For Carnival, we looked at advertising from Boxing Day to Ash Wednesday and for Crop Over we focused on data from May 20th to the first Monday in August.

During Carnival, we tracked 53 events advertising. This year’s carnival season was unusually short because Ash Wednesday fell very early in the year – February 10. This compacted a lot of the activity and led to fall out among events- the biggest of which was the cancellation of the Battle of the Sexes event. This major event was cancelled even though it ran the third biggest tracked campaign. The event with the biggest advertising impact was Ladies Night Out, followed by Machel Monday.

Over the Crop Over season, we tracked 23 Events advertising. Similar to Carnival they were two clear events that dominated, Soca on De Hill and the National Cultural Foundation who stood out way ahead of the rest of the events players. Carnival’s big two accounted for 32% of the tracked spend while Crop Over’s big two were a massive 62%. Showing that Crop Over has a much more skewed market. It is pertinent to point out that the estimated spends we are using in this analysis are based on the value of tracked advertising at ‘open rate’ using published media rate cards. This means it does not account for special rates, sponsorships or market deals. So our figures will be higher than the real dollar spend in the market. However, the spread of the spend and impact of the advertising can be directly inferred from our analysis.

Trinidad & Tobago has a population of 1.365* million with a GDP of 19.5* billion, compared to Barbados with its population of 0.285* million and GDP of 4.1* billion. The difference in size of the two markets helps to explain the difference in estimated advertising spend value across the two marquee festivals. Interestingly we note that Trinidad & Tobago is approximately 4 (almost 5) times bigger than Barbados as a market and population. The estimated advertising value for the events we tracked show Carnival being approximately four times larger than Crop Over. We are not saying there is a causal factor at work here, but it is an interesting symmetry in the Data.

Radio is the driving force.

Across both festivals, Radio is the winning medium for event advertisers. Barbados actually shows Radio completely dominating the advertising with 82% of tracked spend. Barbados’ TV consistently underperforms as a medium in the market, generally placing third behind Newspapers and Radio. Interestingly in Trinidad and Tobago with its more competitive TV environment, we see Radio still winning with event advertisers at 54% of the spend but, TV is its big competition coming in at 42%. If you combine figures and look at Broadcast vs. Newspaper the two markets actually mirror each other exactly, with Newspapers only accounting for 4% in both markets.

In Barbados, only 4 (17%) of the events ran advertising on all three mediums. Compared to Trinidad & Tobago where 13 (25%) events ran campaigns across Radio, TV and Newspapers. In both Barbados and Trinidad & Tobago Radio was used by 100% of the events. Newspaper was used by 20 (38%) events in Trinidad & Tobago vs. 5 (23%) events in Barbados. TV and was used by 5 of the 23 campaigns in Barbados while 21 (40%) of the events in Trinidad & Tobago. 2 events in Trinidad & Tobago used Cable advertising and accounted for less than 1% of the estimated advertising spend. Barbados currently does not have any major cable advertising options, so we do not track Cable in the market.

Carnival is more robust than Crop Over.

Kadooment brought down the curtain on another Crop Over season in Barbados. One of the regions biggest summer festivals, Crop Over, is for Barbados, what Carnival is to Trinidad. The summer festivals of the Caribbean can trace their inspiration back to Carnival celebrations in Trinidad, Brazil and other European countries with a strong Catholic influence. Carnival’s timing is driven by the Lenten season for Catholics. Every year Carnival ends by Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. Barbados’ Crop Over festival drew a lot of its inspiration from Trinidad’s Carnival but, is tied to the end of the Sugar Cane Crop season, and was purposely created to act as a Summer tourism draw. Over the analysis of events, the major difference we noted was that Carnival had a wider, less skewed base for its events advertising. When you take into account that one of the big 2 events in Barbados is, the Government owned National Cultural Foundation you can see that Carnival’s event scene is more developed and on a more solid foundation than Crop Over’s.

*Source of data from http://data.un.org/.


Media InSite is an independent, Port of Spain-based advertising data service specializing in competitor intelligence and ad placement auditing for brand managers, ad agencies, and media houses. Operating since 2011, the company records and indexes advertising content on 32 radio stations, 8 television stations, 12 Flow Cable channels, and three daily and two weekly newspapers in Trinidad & Tobago. Media InSite also monitors Barbados radio, television, and press.

Statistics in this report are based on information from our proprietary digital system that logs all instances of pre-recorded spot advertising on monitored radio, TV, and cable channels along with staff-indexed newspaper display advertising content.


Allison Demas

Founder and CEO

Media InSite Ltd.

1 868-225-4MIS / 4647

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