Festival Abierto 2012


part 2 - onsite and results

Initial Steps


  • Provide Panama with a free open air weekend festival to celebrate culture, science, and education.
  • Use a public space to prove that their importance in social and cultural advancement.

Without a fixed template to adhere to and borrow from, the Festival Abierto team had to set its own path in order to achieve a lofty goal.

Delivering on little more than the promise of a bigger vision would require strong visual communication and storytelling.

After lengthy discussions, the team concluded that pitching Festival Abierto as a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) project would be the best way to approach sponsors.

Concurrently, the communications team's main goal was building the brand and audience from virtually nothing to have something to offer to sponsors in terms of exposure.  Jorge Alemán began working the graphic identity as sponsors and partners began to be pitched and recruited.

Developing Festival Abierto's graphic identity (click to enlarge)


One of the first items on the checklist was to generate meaningful content.  A concept video regarding the potential of Festival Abierto was put together.  A series of interviews were conducted with notable figures in Panama's cultural community, including:

Festival Abierto interview video (click to enlarge)

  • Patrick Dillon - Architect, Firm Principal at ENSITU
  • Cisco Merel - Artist
  • Carmen Alemán Healy - Gallery owner, head of Fundahrte
  • Olga Sinclair - Painter/Sculptor

Along the way, a Facebook page and Twitter account were opened to slowly start sharing content and building an audience.

Initially, it was short messages and some snapshots of Festival Abierto working behind the scenes, as well as curated content from across the web to fill in.

The key was to engage the community with questions, asking them to comment on content related to Festival Abierto's core values of science, culture, and education.

Early photos of work process/content for social media (click to enlarge)

Early examples of content for social media (click to enlarge)

Partnering with TBWA\Panama and Ernesto J. Castillero National Library (BINAL) gave way to collaborating to host a Pecha Kucha Night, the globally active presentation where speakers have 20 slides lasting 20 seconds each to present.

TBWA\Panama had enjoyed proven success with previous Pecha Kucha Nights, building a sizable following in the community.  This was the perfect opportunity for Festival Abierto to take important steps into building awareness outside of social media.


Pecha Kucha Recap Video (click to enlarge)

As public interest grew, so did the sponsor list and their generous support in time and resources to bring Festival Abierto's vision to life.  Festival Abierto's tireless efforts in communicating the project's vision and team's capacity helped generate a network of sponsors including:

  • LG Electronics (main sponsor)
  • INAC - Instituto Nacional de Cultura
  • La Prensa
  • Tetra Pak
  • Copa Airlines
  • Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
  • The United States Embassy in Panama

In anticipation of the coming event, the communications team devised a collective art project whose success was entirely dependent on audience participation.  Using the growing Facebook presence (at this point, about 1,500 likes, well short of the goal of 10,000 that would be reached 3 years later), the audience was asked to send along their interpretation of Festival Abierto's logo, a blank baobab tree.

The response was overwhelmingly positive, with over 220 submissions from not only Panama, but around the world.  From a content standpoint, asking the audience to participate in the growth of Festival Abierto resulted in a highly efficient method of content creation that required a fraction of the time and resources to simply curate.

Additionally, the communications team went about generating video content via branded reporting.  A series of short interviews/documentaries were made to highlight the efforts of individuals and organizations who exemplified the power of curiosity and action that Festival Abierto sought to jumpstart in its audience.

Urban recycling w/ worm composting

Collective Dancing Part 1

Collective Dancing Part 2

Rural recycling


Meanwhile, Festival Abierto's various media partnerships were leveraged into obtaining valuable out of home (OOH), ad, and PR value.  In the weeks leading up to the Festival itself, the generation of content for the various physical mediums was a priority for the communications team, as was managing and monitoring press appearances by the team.

OOH posters (click to enlarge)

Media impressions (click to enlarge)

TV Spot for Musical Stage (click to enlarge)

The last step before the event itself was to present the project to the world.  Festival Abierto held a press conference along with key members of their sponsorship network.  This was an important step in legitimizing Festival Abierto's vision as being on the cusp of becoming reality.

The interviews conducted at the very beginning of the process were repurposed with additional footage collected through the numerous activities Festival Abierto participated in over the course of the preceding months.

Festival Abierto 2012 Presentation Video (click to enlarge)

Having partnered with the office of the First Lady of the Republic of Panama to host Festival Abierto at Parque Omar, the First Lady of Panama herself attended the press conference and graciously gave of her time to appear in this presentation video.