For those revelers wily enough to work the system, the physical cost of throwing a party in Isla Vista seems to be declining.
Kegs can be provided and chasers supplied by the caseload. A DJ may show up and large bouncers will guard doors, guest list in hand. Sometimes morning-after cleaning services may even be included. The cost? Simply hanging a corporate banner from a Del Playa Drive balcony.
The concept of corporately sponsored parties – typically done by energy or alcoholic drink companies – is a bit of a modern phenomenon in the I.V. party scene. The events, which are clearly designed to benefit both involved parties, have allowed I.V. residents to drink and dance courtesy of beverage brands such as Rockstar, Red Bull, Monster and Four.
Brandon Pineau, fourth-year biological sciences major and Del Playa Drive resident, said that he was surprised how little was asked from him when he and his housemates decided to seek sponsorship from the Monster beverage brand for their friend’s birthday party.
“They gave us cases and cases of Monster as well as $250 to buy whatever hard alcohol we wanted,” Pineau said. “Also, we got a bunch of badass banners and stickers, and all they wanted was for us to take some pictures of the party and girls for the [Monster] Web site.”
According to Pineau, no representatives from Monster even attended or monitored the event.
Rhonda Jarrar, a third-year biopsychology major, said that getting a corporate sponsor for a party is an easy way to alleviate the costs of alcohol and ensure a good turnout. In lieu of what Jarrar said would have been a $200 expense per party, she and her housemates at their ocean-side residence on the 6500 block of Del Playa allowed beverage companies, including Red Bull and Four, to sponsor their various parties over the last year.
“Representatives from Red Bull did everything,” Jarrar said. “They hung banners, brought a bunch of girls to serve and promote the drinks, and set up a screen to play videos of the Red Bull Air Race.”
Additionally, the Red Bull promoters provided drinks and morning-after cleaning services, which, Jarrar said, would otherwise have cost an additional $50.
She noted that other sponsors are typically less engaged in the actual party than Red Bull was. After a promoter for Four – a relatively new brand of alcoholic energy drink – approached her while she was working at Keg & Bottle in Isla Vista and expressed an interest in sponsoring an event, Jarrar was said she surprised to find how disinterested they were in the party itself.
“They gave us five cases [of the Four beverages] and a bunch of posters, but beyond that they weren’t really involved,” Jarrar said.
She said that typically, sponsors do not expect too much on the part of party hosts beyond a good crowd turnout and consumption of their product.
“If you contact someone who promotes, they are more than willing to give you free stuff as long as the party is big and you serve their drinks,” Jarrar said.
Corporate sponsorship of parties has not been limited to private I.V. residences, but is also a growing trend on the greek social scene as well. Sarah Murray, a third-year environmental studies major and a member of Pi Beta Phi sorority, said that she has seen an increase in the presence of beverage brands that supply their products for free to parties hosted by UCSB’s fraternities and sororities.
“I’ve definitely been to greek parties that have been sponsored by various drink companies, from Rockstar to SoBe,” Murray said. “I don’t see anything wrong with it, and the upside is that that there is guaranteed to be plenty of quality chasers on hand.”