The Sanremo Festival has always been one of the most important events in the Italian music scene, with a long history of success, excitement and unforgettable moments. But in recent years, alongside the Ariston stage, another form of entertainment has developed: the Fantasanremo. This online prediction game has taken on an increasingly prominent role in the context of the Festival and has also become an interesting example of marketing. With 1.7 million registered users and 2.5 million teams, Fantasanremo has become a real catchphrase that kicks off as early as December, when Amadeus announces the names of the competing singers, and then culminates throughout the entire Festival. This ever-expanding phenomenon is also evidenced by the rapid increase in leagues, from 270,000 in 2023 to 310,000 in the current edition, marking an extraordinary growth that continues to win over more and more music and gaming fans.
The Fantasanremo: A Modern Tradition
Originally born for fun, Fantasanremo has become a real business over the years. But what exactly is it? It is a forecasting game like fantasy soccer, in which players form a team by choosing 5 artists from the 30 Bigs in the competition. Each artist is priced in "Baudi," the Fantanremese currency, in tribute to the longest-running host in the Festival's history. Once the team is selected, the player must wait for the Festival to begin to see if the chosen artists will provide satisfaction.
The rules provide for the assignment of Bonus and Malus to artists during the evenings of the Festival, from the first minute of the first night until the end of the live broadcast of the final night. Bonus are awarded based on events involving the artists on stage, such as extraordinary performances or funny moments. Among the funniest Bonuses are the "Bonus Elettra: twerking," the "Bonus Pelú" (stealing something from the audience) and the standing ovation from the orchestra. In contrast, Malus are awarded for negative events such as falling on stage, forgetting the words of the lyrics, or technical problems.
The winner is the one who, at the end of the last episode of the Festival, has scored the most points. You can participate in Fantasanremo either with your own team or within one of the thousands of Leagues set up by the organization.
Audience Involvement and Interaction
Indeed, what makes Fantasanremo so special is the active involvement of the audience. Players are not mere spectators, but protagonists of the game, with the opportunity to share their predictions, discuss artists' performances, and engage with other participants. Part of the success of Fantasanremo lies in the creation of a strong online community. Players come together on forums, social media groups, and dedicated chats, sharing their experiences, discussing predictions, and supporting each other. This sense of community not only increases participant engagement, but also creates opportunities for brands to build lasting relationships with their target audience.
But how does marketing fit into all this? Much more than you might think. Cross-media has taken an increasingly central role in the success of the Sanremo Festival in recent years. In 2023, Fantanremo made its entry on TikTok by opening an official profile that has now reached 4.6 million likes. This move allowed content such as videos and memes to be shared on a platform popular with GenZ audiences, thus expanding the audience traditionally associated with television.
In addition, posts on Facebook, hashtags on Twitter and dedicated accounts on Instagram that serve as hubs for fans allow users to connect, share content and discuss their predictions and preferences. This is all thanks to the organizers who have made the most of the potential of these platforms to promote the game and increase its visibility. Videos, memes, exclusive content and interviews were disseminated through the official FantaSanremo channels, generating expectations and anticipation that fueled the enthusiasm of participants.
Finally, Gamification plays an important role, as demonstrated by the success of Fantasanremo. This game further amplifies interest around the Festival by introducing a playful and competitive element that engages a wide audience. The active participation of viewers makes the experience more immersive and engaging, helping to strengthen the image of Sanremo as a culturally relevant event.
For this reason, companies have also seized the opportunity offered by Fantasanremo: forming their own leagues and creating a Digital Strategy, they took advantage of this platform to increase their visibility and engage the public during the Festival. In fact, sponsors include major brands such as Generali, Lavazza, Chanteclair, Ciobar, Perlana and Rotoloni Regina.
Fantasanremo is not just a game, but a tangible example of how marketing can integrate into a cultural event to create an engaging and memorable experience for the audience. Through active participant engagement, online interaction and community building, Fantasanremo demonstrates how marketing can be fun, engaging, and highly effective when it comes to creating emotional connections and building relationships with audiences.
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