Flower headbands, good music and fun in the sun mean festival season is here. This also means millennials will be flocking to different cities across the nation to see their favorite musical artists. It’s an opportune time for brands to court this market through activations, social sharing and more. One of the most popular festivals is Coachella and the WSJ called it an event, “filled with a marketer’s dream: throngs of influential, open-minded and ready-to-spend millennials with plenty of time to kill.” Festival schedules allow for significant down time, which gives people time to explore sponsored tents, brand experiences and share on social.
The audience at festivals has expanded beyond the physical attendees. People are tuning in on social media to see which celebrities and influencers are attending, what they’re wearing and more. To tap the marketing opportunity presented by these festivals, brands produce on and off-site activations for people at home to enjoy as well.
On-site activations give brands access to the vast amount of people attending. According to a 2015 survey, 78% of millennials would rather pay for an experience than goods. Therefore at festivals, brands want to provide the best experience for this target. Below are a few successful examples of experiential marketing at Coachella.
The retail chain hosted a pop-up shop with a 360-degree desert scene backdrop. Guests could film instant Instagram worth video clips. A strong digital tie-in reaches not only those who came to the event, but the people following them online.
The official watch of the festival hosted a tented lounge in the VIP area. Guests could sip on refreshments and buy the new watch, but the main purpose of the tent wasn’t to sell watches. It was for the brand to get to know their new customer better.
Instead of trying to break through the noise of the crowded festival grounds, brands such as Calvin Klein take their experiences off-site. They hosted about 25 digital influencers at a hotel in Palm Springs as part of a three day “branded experience” to complement the festival. The event garnered more than one million engagements on Instagram and Twitter in less than 24 hours.