Cumhuriyet / 'Art changes people'

13 August 2023

Even in times of crisis, supporting cultural activities has meanings beyond 'advertising'

'Art changes people'

Culture and arts events have faced significant challenges in recent years, especially due to economic crises. The logistics costs alone for performing arts have reached staggering proportions. Mey|Diageo, a name we increasingly see as a sponsor, invests in various forms of art, from theater to music, literature to individual support. However, Levent Kömür, the General Manager of Mey|Diageo, emphasizes that the most important impact of these investments is directed towards societal change. Despite being a sector under ideological pressure, unable to advertise its products, mention its name, or even use its colors, the industry continues to support the sector. We discussed both the reasons behind these investments and the importance of culinary culture as a whole…

What is the reason for Mey|Diageo's increasing interest in investing in culture and arts?

At this point in human civilization, both individually and institutionally, we must all put forth a hope nourished by science, art, and dreams. Artists who shine their light on the world give hope to all of us, and we support the sustainability of art to show our support and companionship for those who give us hope, the artists, and art itself.

Yes, culture and art are a sustainability issue for us. Because our business is socialization. Culture and art are creations, behaviors, teachings that play an important role in both the source and outcome of socialization. At the same time, we have a side goal to encourage and inspire other private sector organizations to behave similarly with our actions.


Can Mey|Diageo be considered a "cultural representative"?

Rather than a "representative," we can say we are "observers, companions, encouragers, and admirers." In this context, we feel close to art and artists, and we immortalize our respect for art and artists through the microphone, baglama (a musical instrument), paper, and pen that we have embodied in the flagship brand of our company's bottle. We truly believe in the unifying and healing power of art. We also genuinely value the impact of contributions to art and the change they will create in society.

Which events have you supported so far?

Our main priority is to support artists rather than events. However, events are very effective tools for this purpose. This year, for instance, we organized a digital marketing training for theater professionals in collaboration with the Theater Cooperative. We are the sole corporate supporter of KüçükÇiftlik Bahçe Theater's event; we have been supporting it since day one, since 2020. We are the first corporate member of Arter, which works to promote art in all its dimensions to wide audiences. We support Istanbul Modern. We are the name sponsor of Plumemag's culture and arts section. We support Harbiye Open-Air Theater Star Seats, Zorlu PSM Writing Workshop, Deniz Yüce Başarır's podcast series "Elim Kadeh de Tutar Kalem de," IKSV Istanbul Jazz Festival, the theater play "Eksik," the exhibition "Başka Kayda Rastlanmadı: Reşad Ekrem Koçu ve İstanbul Ansiklopedisi Arşivi," and Marmaris International Culture and Art Festival...

In the recent period, we also support the Bergama Theater Festival which is held on August 11-13, and we will support the Bozcaada International Ecological Film Festival scheduled for October 11-15, and the Ayvalık International Film Festival scheduled for September 14-19. We will continue to say, "A company that supports culture and arts is possible".


As you mentioned above, we often see you side by side with theater. What is the importance of theater for you?

Our mission is to renew and pass on to the next generations the legacy of sharing the joys and sorrows of this land, in other words, the legacy of socialization. When we talk about joy and sadness, people immediately think of the mask with smiling and crying faces, the symbol of theater. This is how we can associate theater with our company. We can also see our support as a kind of debt payment to theater artists and theater lovers. We feel this responsibility not only for theater, but for all branches of art.