As Connected Television Viewership Surges, Marketers Urged To Create Personalized, Measurable Ads

Impressions served on connected television (CTV) platforms increased from 17 percent in 2017 to 28 percent, according to a report from Campaign Insight and Innovid, “2018 Global Video Benchmarks.”

The study provides video key performance indicators (KPIs) to explore the future of television and video advertising as consumers shift their viewing habits to CTV. The insights are based on a sample representing about one-third of all US video impressions, namely every campaign that ran with Innovid from January 1-December 31 2018, across over 340 top global companies.

To date, over 55 percent of the US population owns a CTV device, and the figure is expected to reach 60.1 percent by 2022. The data suggests that CTV is experiencing ongoing growth with broadcasters at the helm, and digital marketing dollars are following. In 2018, 68 percent of all campaigns contained CTV, and 63 percent of broadcaster impressions were served on CTV. Similarly, broadcasters comprised 83 percent of all CTV campaigns, indicating that consumers are watching traditional television content on connected devices. 

The data gives advertisers good reason to realign budget and strategy to engage with consumers on CTV. As customers’ desires for highly personalized content and experiences rise, marketers are utilizing data-driven dynamic videos that are 10 seconds in length—which the report found jumped from five percent in 2017 to 11 percent in 2018 across social and programmatic channels via mobile.

“As CTV/OTT becomes more commonplace, so do consumer expectations around the relevancy and personalization of advertising. Marketers would be well-served to seize the opportunities available in this still nascent market to deliver video advertising that is more engaging, more personalized and more measurable,” said Alan Wolk, co-founder and lead analyst, TV[R]EV.

“Honestly, Insights Can Only Get You So Far” Boiler Room’s Stephen Mai On Building The Netflix Of The Underground

A sleepy, Victorian warehouse isn’t the first place you’d associate with one of the most exciting brands in streaming, but it’s in this little corner of Hackney, East London that Boiler Room calls home.

Emerging in 2010, Boiler Room’s unique take on music broadcasting has fuelled rapid growth. Starting life as a live stream recorded from a webcam duct-taped to the wall of a disused boiler room, the company is now a global phenomenon. Today, Boiler Room hosts shows and performances from over 100 cities worldwide; from Stockholm to Shanghai, its regular programming reaching over 157 million people a month.

In recent years, the company has begun to diversify its offering and search out new audiences outside of music. This culminated last year with the launch of 4:3; Boiler Room’s new platform for underground film and documentary, which is already hailed as the “Netflix for the underground.”

I spoke with Stephen Mai, the company’s chief content officer and CMO, about Boiler Room’s rapidly developing audience, the role of insights in streaming and how his company is taking the niche mainstream.

Can you give us a quick history of Boiler Room?

Boiler Room started off as just a webcam where we recorded people DJing in a literal boiler room. At the time, our founder Blaise [Bellville] never anticipated that people would even be into watching that kind of thing.

Over time, by throwing more parties, working with different acts and creating a cultural style through our broadcasts, we’ve been able to build the brand. Because we tapped into a subculture and the underground, we can explore a whole range of different subjects and topics. After all, if you think about it, music has been the bedrock to a lot of youth culture; [but it can also] be fashion, activism or other [cultural] touchpoints.

How did you become involved with Boiler Room?

I’ve built a career on transforming media brands and using emerging content and marketing in a way that is impactful and effective. Before Boiler Room, I worked with LadBible–where the challenge was to realign the brand into one that was more commercially viable. I made it my mission to transform the brand into one that championed social change. In the two years I was there, I managed a few massive campaigns that changed the perception of the brand. The fact that we went from a brand that made most media agencies say “hmm I don’t know” into one that won eight Cannes Lions is absurd when you think about it.

Boiler Room was a very different challenge. It already had a very established brand and audience before I came over. The challenge here is how we can use our brand to drive counter-narratives around new verticals and bridge the gap between reality and digital. Boiler Room can influence culture and that really excites me.

Boiler Room is one of the more unique players in the streaming market. In your opinion, what is the thing that makes you stand out? 

A lot of people describe us as a new MTV, but we see ourselves as more of a cultural institution like an art gallery or a museum. The music we cover is essentially “the art,” but it also allows us to explore the surrounding narratives and culture. As a brand, we’ve got the freedom to follow our own path when it comes to what we can and can’t do.

How would you describe the relationship between Boiler Room and its audience right now?

In terms of our audience, it’s my ambition to build a cultural space that exists wherever they are. Rather than trying to convert them into website clicks, we’re more interested in trying to exist in their world and in their culture. In many ways, we see ourselves more like a public service broadcaster. We want to understand what captures the interests of young people and create a space where that kind of stuff happens [more organically].

You’ve mentioned that having a profound understanding of your audience underpins a lot of what Boiler Room does. As a marketer, how do you go about getting those insights?

I’m quite privileged in the sense that as a marketing team we’re able to interact with our audience in a number of different ways. We throw over 400 events a year; so, we’re probably one of the few brands out there who get to see our audience in real life on a regular basis. We have thousands of kids who RSVP to our parties every year. We can literally see trends in music, fashion and culture as they unfold in all these different cities. It’s great to be able to use that as inspiration and as a catalyst for our programming.

Beyond this, we have also come up with a sophisticated way of using the insights we derive from our social channels and website data. We put a lot of effort into understanding our audience’s behavior online and their interests. It allows us to diversify our offering, which is becoming more and more important as we move into the world of original content. As we’ve expanded away from electronic music, we’ve started to see specific tribes develop within our audience. The next step is using digital analytics to track their behavior, discover what they’re into and service them better.

How important are analytics in informing and shaping the creative side of Boiler Room?

Honestly, insights can only take you so far. It helps that you have insights for inspiration, but it’s much more important to have some of the best music creators in the world sitting in the office. Our curators are in touch with what’s happening in the music world. They all put on nights, manage artists on the side and are firmly into the idea of creating and pushing the next big thing.

The launch of our 4:3 channel is an interesting example of how we’ve learned from our audience and combined it with a curator who knows their stuff. We’ve created a platform that’s driven by the idea of hyper-curating content that is super leftfield. A lot of people would ask if young people are really into the idea of high art and long-form cultural documentaries, but our insights told us that they are very culturally curious. 

These were the people going to art galleries. We knew that if we could do something with a tone of voice that has a genuine love for the subject, then our audience would respond. In month one, we managed to gain 10 million views alone and have since managed to achieve a scale that most people would think is unbelievable. It goes to show, even if something might not seem the right fit on the surface, there’s usually an audience out there somewhere. You’ve just got to look hard enough.

There’s an obvious hazard here, though. If you’re committed to only covering niche topics, aren’t you in danger of running out of an audience?

I’m not sure actually. Both the mainstream and the underground can exist simultaneously on the same channel. A lot of people would describe our output as “niche,” but we’ve just hit 5 million followers on our social channels. Our ecosystem allows both groups to co-exist. We still have that cultural elite; the creators who we work with quite closely, but we can also accommodate a much wider audience. It’s like electronic music in a way; what was once a niche scene has become mainstream and globally recognized.

The evolution of content distribution has led us to a place where you’ve got things that were once considered niche reaching massive worldwide audiences. Take Game of Thrones for example. A few years back, a show like that would’ve struggled to find an audience because executives would’ve deemed the topic as having no chance of permeating the mainstream. Now though, these new channels exist, allowing us to tell really strong stories and become part of mainstream culture. It’s this philosophy that has allowed a brand like us to scale very, very quickly.

So, do you think insights are better used to inform a strategy rather than shaping executions?

Yes. One of the things I often tell marketers is that while a certain subject might seem like it’s not relatable, it’s our job to search out that hook that connects a piece of content with the people who love it.

Our Facebook strategy is a great example. We have 2.8 million followers, and as you can imagine, it would be impossible to come up with one piece of content that would please everyone. We try to pull out an aspect of the story that feels as relatable as possible. We’ve found that if you approach content distribution like this, then it doesn’t matter if the subject is niche. If the story is interesting then it will no doubt feel relevant to someone, and that’s the crux of what “mainstream” is.

Spotify Uses Bollywood Star Power To Launch First Multilingual Television Spot

Spotify launched a playful television video spot to expand on its first campaign in India launched earlier this year, “There’s A Playlist For That,” which uses location intelligence and cultural nuances to emphasize the platform’s diverse selection of music for all of life’s moods. Published to Spotify’s YouTube and India Twitter, the spot marks the company’s first television and first multilingual campaign in India and will extend to digital and out-of-home (OOH).

The 35-second spot, titled “Slow Breakfast,” shows a father, played by Bollywood actor Anil Kapoor, in the kitchen preparing breakfast for his teenage kids. When one of his sons, actor Ishaan Khattar, notices that his dad is whisking the eggs at a leisurely pace that matches the beat of the song, he changes the song via the Spotify app. In response to this new upbeat song, Kapoor shifts into high gear and starts rapidly chopping vegetables and whisking the eggs. In an excited state, however, he accidentally drops the skillet and the cooked omelet falls on the floor. The kids express their disappointment via sighs and nods, then Kapoor picks right back up from where he started whisking.

The spot reflects Spotify’s creative attempts to connect with the audience in India, the second-most populous country. Earlier this year, Spotify placed geotargeted, personalized OOH ads in important traffic intersections. This highly personalized approach ties into the exclusive features available to Spotify India, including multi-language music recommendations, playlists specifically curated by Indian music experts and new algorithmic playlists tracking music trending in different Indian cities.

“Spotify’s arrival in India is a big step forward in our overall global growth strategy. A fundamental piece of that strategy is staying connected to global culture while allowing room for local adaptation, and we’ve certainly achieved that with our India launch. We’ve worked closely with local teams of researchers, engineers, and cultural tastemakers to ensure this global product is going to be loved, used, and favored by people all over India, whether they’re listening to local Bollywood and Punjabi hits, or discovering curated global playlists of K-pop or Brazilian funk,” says Cecilia Qvist, Spotify’s global head of markets.

“The youth in India often deals with the pressures of judgement, individuality, social norms, and more; in this chaos, music acts like a companion,” said Rajdeepak Das, Leo Burnett’s managing director India and chief creative officer South Asia.

Spotify’s entrance into the Indian market means competition for Gaana, the country’s current most favored on-demand streaming app, according to a report from CyberMedia Research. Among those surveyed, 25 percent ranked Gaana as their top choice followed by 20 percent tied for Apple Music and Youtube, and 14 percent for Wynk. While only 50 percent of respondents said they were aware of Spotify.

Baskin-Robbins Experiments With Experiential Campaign, Opens ‘Stranger Things’ Shop

Baskin-Robbins marketing initiatives have historically been lean, perhaps reflecting the brand’s struggle to target an audience increasingly dominated by millennials and Gen Z. A new Stranger Things experiential marketing activation, however, shows the Dunkin’ Brand taking steps to refresh its image.

This summer, Baskin-Robbins is transforming its Burbank, California store into the Stranger Things ice cream shop, Scoops Ahoy, from the Netflix show’s third season. Open from July 2 to July 14, Baskin-Robbins’ version of Scoops Ahoy will look and feel exactly as the actors experience it in the sci-fi show setting—1985 in Hawkins, Indiana. Replete with nautical decor and Stranger Things-inspired staff uniforms, the shop will give fans an immersive experience described by Baskin-Robbins as “ripped from the script.”

Baskin-Robbins customers across the country can also get a taste of the Stranger Things initiative as the brand introduces a Scoops Ahoy-inspired flavor of the month for July—USS Butterscotch. The flavor will also be available in a nautical-themed USS Butterscotch Sundae straight from the show, topped with waffle sails.

Earlier this year, Baskin-Robbins used a 30-second video spot, set to the show’s theme song, to tease its Stranger Things-themed treats, including “Eleven’s Heaven,” “Upside Down Sundae” and “Demogorgon Sundae.”

In 2018, Dunkin’ chief executive David Hoffman hinted at the redesign of Dunkin’ and Baskin-Robbins restaurants which came to fruition this year. US Baskin-Robbins franchisees remodeled eight restaurants during the first quarter of 2019. 

A current effort to upgrade store interiors, coupled with its “Got Me Like” campaign last year, targeted toward a younger audience, reflects Baskin-Robbins’ evolution into a more modern brand. As part of the campaign, Baskin-Robbins created a 15-second spot which included brightly colored memes and videos. The company has also expanded its reach via a partnership with DoorDash in which first-time customers receive “Try Me Free” offers to encourage trial.

The Dunkin’ Brands first-quarter earnings show that US Baskin-Robbins comparable store sales declined about three percent in the first quarter, citing unfavorable weather impact as the cause. Also in the first quarter, 18 Baskin-Robbins international locations and three US locations closed. The closures were offset by the opening of 34 new Dunkin’ US locations.

Report: ‘Game Of Thrones’ Ending Could Prompt Subscribers To Cancel HBO Now

A new survey conducted by Mintel shows HBO Now subscribers are more likely cancel their service if a specific program ended compared to all other OTTs—20 percent compared to 10 percent, respectively. This could spell bad news in light of HBO’s Game of Thrones concluding soon.

In an interview with Buddy Lo, Mintel’s senior technology and consumer electronics analyst, he tells us that the problem could come down to a combination of price and number of OTTs subscribed per household.

“It isn’t until the consumers get that fourth subscription service that we really see a spike in HBO Now participation. That’s why we think that HBO Now could be potentially vulnerable.”

Can you explain an overview of the research?

The consumer data that we published in the press release is based on 2000 US consumers. The researchers fielded the survey last month [in] April 2019. The [full] report is going to publish next month and it is about digital video.

We were able to isolate HBO Now subscribers [based on questioning] and after that we also used a series of behavioral statements, like “I would cancel a service if a specific show was canceled or specific show or program was canceled or ended.” We found that consumers who use HBO Now are almost twice as likely to agree with that statement than all of the general streaming OTT streaming service users.

We’ve seen viewers slowly over the past two years add one or two more OTT services. Does the data demonstrate that consumers have hit a wall?

We also asked consumers about the optimal price point that they would pay for their ideal streaming service. We asked [them to] imagine [their] ideal streaming service with all of the shows, movies, sport and other entertainment that [they would] want. Then we asked a series of four questions, like, to imagine their ideal streaming service and at what price is that service so cheap that [they] would question the quality; at what price do [they] think it’s a good deal. We performed a price sensitivity analysis and we found that the optimal price point is 20 dollars, so it’s pretty low.

When we think about how much HBO costs, which is $14.99, Netflix can range from I believe $8.99 upwards to $13.99, depending on the tier that you get. Hulu is a bit more affordable at $5.99.

Our data shows that consumers only have a limited type of budget and that three-quarters of streamers use two [OTTs] or more. We see that for HBO [subscribers], participation doesn’t really kick in until consumers have four or more subscriptions services. [The data] tells us that consumers’ first option is usually Netflix and the second or third option is Amazon or Hulu.

But, it isn’t until the consumers get the fourth subscription service that we really see a spike in HBO Now participation. That’s why we think that HBO Now could be potentially vulnerable. I want to specify that this is about streaming services only, it’s not necessarily related to cable or satellite subscriptions because those can tend to be stickier. They can have cancellation fees so consumer behavior is a little less fluid within those segments.

Is chord cutting affecting this loss at all? 

I think, if anything, cord-cutting would shift more consumers to using the HBO Now platform rather than bundling everything with a cable or satellite provider. Cord-cutting gives consumers more flexibility in terms of how they choose their entertainment package. If [a consumer] wanted to go with Netflix all [they] need when [they] cut the cord is an internet connection. From there [they] can choose whether or not I want Hulu, Amazon, HBO Now, Starz, YouTube TV, etc…

What OTTs could stand to capitalize?

I think a big one would definitely be the upcoming services like Disney+ or Apple TV+. They might be able to take advantage of this void in entertainment before HBO can ramp up their spin-offs and create buzz around other content. It’s a good opportunity for any of the smaller brands to come in at a lower price point and exciting new content.

YouTube’s Newfronts Presentation Reveals Plans To Boost TV Viewership, Measurement

YouTube is updating its algorithm to favor content viewed on TV screens, adding Nielsen tools for advertisers and making YouTube Originals free with ads, the company announced at its Newfront event on Thursday.

All Eyes On TV

YouTube said that over 250 million hours of its videos are viewed on television screens every day. To keep this trend going, YouTube will update its proprietary algorithm (P-score) to prioritize higher production value content and videos that are frequently watched on the TV screen. Videos will be selected from the top five percent of popular channels on YouTube based on user engagement and a “higher bar for brand suitability.”

YouTube TV, the live TV subscription service launched two years ago, is now available across the US and will be offered as a standalone lineup on Google Preferred this Upfront season. YouTube TV already features over 70 broadcast and cable partners, the company said.

“As I meet with many of you, I hear two questions loud and clear,” said Allan Thygesen, president of Google Americas during the presentation. “You want us to prove first, YouTube really can drive reach as fast as TV. And second, that YouTube drives results.”

Nielsen Catalina Solutions will be available for Google Preferred campaigns before the end of the year, measuring lift in offline sales for US consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands. In addition, the tool will provide “deeper” performance insights across audiences, creative and other criteria.

A recent study by Google and MediaScience found that YouTube’s Google Preferred ads on TV screens drove an average lift of 112 percent in Ad Recall and 53 percent Purchase Intent.

On average, over 50% of the target audience reached by YouTube was incremental to TV, according to Nielsen. Television required on average five-times the frequency of YouTube to hit reach goals.

Ad-Supported Originals

YouTube announced that all of its forthcoming original series and specials will become available worldwide as a free, ad-supported service. By breaking the paywall, YouTube gives advertisers more opportunities to work with Hollywood talent and YouTube content creators.

Last year’s Originals slate earned over 2.5 billion views across 50 shows, YouTube told the audience. Cobra Kai received 11 award nominations including an Emmy and the show’s season two premiere reached 20 million views in six days.

Google may be the world’s largest seller of advertising, but it’s not invincible. Ad sales grew at the slowest pace since 2015, according to Alphabet Inc.’s Q1 2019 earnings report. The company did not offer investors any explanation for the slowdown, leaving investors baffled and shares dropping.

Brands Are Winning Over Younger Audiences At Coachella With Memorable Moments

With one Coachella weekend down and one to go, AList looks at how the companies celebrated the opening of this year’s festival with brand activations both inside the festival grounds and out. This year proved to be less about being instagrammable and more about creating emotional ‘moments’ full of music and experiences.

Brands like Heineken have had a symbiotic relationship with the music festival for almost 20 years. The beer brand has been an official sponsor for 18 years and, for their own part, have witnessed changes to the festival over the course of their tenure. In recent years, Heineken has emphasized diversity and inclusion at their Heineken House.

“There are no doors on the [Heineken] House. It’s for everybody, it’s completely open, it’s something that can be experienced by people who are inside, outside; something that is just for everybody,” Christine Karimi, Heineken’s manager of partnerships and consumer experience, told AList.

This year, Heineken is also changing its approach to influencer marketing around the activation.

“We are using our influencer dollars more on the [music] talent that comes into the house,” Karimi said. “We are asking them to post [on social media] because they are having a moment here and they are sharing out to their followers. And that, to us, is the most authentic thing because it’s the talent, the music. They are here, and they are like, “Come check [us] out!” versus just a person holding a product.”

An economy of brand-created mini-festivals has popped up in over the years, providing drinks, food, music, merch and experiences to those outside the festival grounds. Many people head to the desert just to attend these satellite events.

Lucky Brand, for example, partnered with The Rolling Stone for its annual Desert Jam at the Arriv Hotel in Palm Springs.

“Our first-time that we showed up at Coachella, a lot of articles out there were saying that ‘Lucky was back.’ So it’s just a natural fit for us,” said Timothy Mack, Lucky Brand’s SVP of strategic brand marketing and ecommerce.

Mack said that one of the strategic initiatives of the denim brand is to stay relevant to millenials. The company is achieving that with offering sweepstakes prior to the event, cool merchandise and most importantly, memorable moments at the mini-fest (RSVP to which was closed after 48 hours since the announcement), where the guests can see free music and relax. In the past, Harry Hudson and Charlie XCX performed at Desert Jam, and this year, Lucky Brand brought in X Ambassadors.

“We built KPIs around how we are going to amplify [our marketing efforts], how we are going to get as many people to hear about this, as possible. In order for this to be a successful event, we need to reach a certain impression, pre-events and post-events,” Mack said.

Another way brands are showing their personality and connecting with their consumer is the “moment in need.” Peet’s coffee is promoting their Cold Brew at the campground of the festival, using experiences that provide both chances for creating memories with friends and soothing comfort inside Peet’s Coffee Bus and with Cold Brew.

“[The festival-goers] have been sleeping outside, and at night it’s cooler, but it’s still hot. They wake up because they are overheating, tired, maybe a little hung-over, and [Peet’s Cold Brew] gets [them] going. This is good because it’s a moment in need, but for us, this also means that they are trying it and getting into it. It’s a good combination,” said Peet’s Coffee spokesperson, Gretchen Koch.

For those who still crave the exclusive, luxurious moments to cherish after their time at Coachella, there is the American Express Platinum House. Accessible only to card members and their guests, the house offers unique art pieces, hangouts by the pool, lounge-y tunes, hors d’oeuvres and artisan cocktails.

The event-goers told AList that at Platinum House they “found a perfect place to relax, mingle with cool people and drink a ‘Watermelon Crush.'”

Disney+ Finds Leverage In Price, Exclusivity

After months of speculation, The Walt Disney Company revealed details of its SVOD service to investors on Thursday. Completely ad-free, Disney+ will focus on low subscription fees, bundles and exclusive content.

Disney’s new SVOD platform will launch on November 12, the media giant revealed, with a price point of $6.99 per month. Unlike Hulu, 60 percent which Disney acquired along with 21st Century Fox, Disney+ will be ad-free and obtain all revenue from subscriptions. The service will be available exclusively in the US at launch, but Disney plans to roll out the new service globally over the next two years.

The service will be available on mobile and connected devices, with an “unprecedented amount” of content available to download for offline viewing. Disney+ will adjust the content’s resolution based on available bandwidth and support up to 4K HDR video playback.

When Kevin Mayer, Disney’s chairman of direct-to-consumer and international, announced the service’s price point, there were “gasps in the room,” according to Variety reporter Cynthia Littleton.

The low price point makes Disney+ less than half of the cost of a premium Netflix subscription, which was recently bumped to $16 per month.

Mayer told the audience that the company is “actively evaluating international rollout strategies” for Hulu, as well as bundling options with Disney+ and ESPN+.

The Mouse House isn’t known for its lack of ambition. Case in point, Disney told investors that it expects the service to grow to between 60 million and 90 million subscribers globally by fiscal 2024.

A working prototype of the service was shown with a similar layout to Netflix, displaying categories like “Recommended for You” and “Continue Watching.” Dedicated pages will be available for Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic. Subscribers will have the ability to create custom profiles linked to a recommendation engine.

“We’re extremely excited about our growing portfolio of direct-to-consumer offerings. As we demonstrated today, with Disney+ we will deliver extraordinary entertainment in innovative ways to audiences around the world,” said Mayer. “We’ll continue to enhance the user experience with a constant pipeline of high-quality programming, making the service even more appealing to consumers.”

In a 2017 study, Magid found that original content drove OTT subscription behavior in the US. In addition to its existing library of movies and shows, Disney+ will launch with 25 original series and 10 original films, documentaries and specials. Disney+ will also become the exclusive streaming home of The Simpsons.

“The price point [for Disney+] seems well-suited, realistic and appealing,” Debby Ruth, Magid’s vice president of global media and entertainment told AList following Disney’s announcement. “As technology evolves, the proliferation of SVOD services and any direct-to-consumer (DTC) offering is going to be essential for content providers.”

Disney shares jumped 11.5 percent on Friday following the announcement, while Netflix stock fell over three percent, MarketWatch reported.

Guide To Coachella 2019 Brand Activations

While influencers from all around the world are polishing their smartphone cameras in anticipation to document their experiences and choosing outfits to dance the desert nights away, marketers and brands get busy organizing activations to impress the opinion shapers who will ensure thousands of likes for their products on social media.

Here are the branded activations and experiences happening in the desert that we think you should know about.

YSL Gas Station Beauty Pop-Up

To promote their new line of lipsticks, Yves Saint Laurent will build its first pop-up shop, a gas station, which will allow the festival-goers to peruse cosmetic products instead of snacks and car air fresheners.

The YSL pop-up will feature a tour bus, giant lipstick sign, heart-shaped balloons, convertible cars and neon pink gas pumps. Plus, a makeup vending machine, virtual makeup stations and instant beauty experts’ tips.

When: April 12-14

Where: Along Route 111, near Cathedral City

Lucky Brand’s Desert Jam

Lucky Brand comes back to Coachella this year with a pool party, presented by Rolling Stone Live, in the center of Palm Springs. The guests can expect performances by X Ambassadors, Jax Jones, Drax Project and Palm Springsteen. There will be free gear and open bar, as well as shoulder-rubbing with celebrities and Lucky Brand ambassadors.

When: April 13, 12:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m.

Where: Arrive Hotel, 1551 N Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, CA 92262.

NYX Professional Makeup Glitter Trip

NYX “Glitter Goals” activation invites all the Coachella “kids” to the ultimate glitter playground: beauty bar and touch-up area fully equipped with glitter makeup, a glitter fountain, a massive lip and tongue slide.

Additionally, makeup artist, Nam Vo, partnered with the brand to create makeup tutorials that will be available onsite.

When: April 12-14 and April 19-21 

Where: Empire Polo Club 81-800 Avenue 51, Indio, CA 92201

Marriott Bonvoy’s Glamping

Marriott Bonvoy brings total glamping experiences to Coachella 2019. This year, Marriott Bonvoy members can bid for a fully-furnished W Yurt, Aloft Hotels Safari Tent, which includes all of the amenities and decor of a Aloft hotel room, concierge service, air conditioning and golf cart services. And most impresively, the brand-new Marriott Bonvoy Bungalow with room for four with private butler service, an on-demand glam squad and masseuse.

When: April 18-22

Where: Empire Polo Club 81-800 Avenue 51, Indio, CA 92201

Newly Designed Heineken House At Coachella

This year’s Heineken house will not only feature musical talent but also a beer garden to give consumers a chance to cool down with Heineken or Heineken 0.0 while catching the music in and outside of Heineken House. Cheers.

When: April 18-22

Where: Empire Polo Club 81-800 Avenue 51, Indio, CA 92201

AmEx Card Member Lounge And Platinum House

The Amex Card Member Lounge comes back to the festival to provide much-needed comfort and rest space with special services, such as nail touch-ups with celebrity nail artist, Britney Tokyo, and sneaker cleaning service by Jason Mark.

When: April 18-22

Where: Empire Polo Club 81-800 Avenue 51, Indio, CA 92201

AmEx Platinum House also returns to Coachella this year. It will be available to Platinum Card Members exclusively and will offer such luxurious experiences as custom signature cocktails by mixologist Jim Meehan, bites from chef Michael Solomonov, as well as unique Instagram, Spa and beauty experiences from Amex partners.

When: April 13-14, 11 a.m.–5 p.m.

Where: Avalon Palm Springs, 415 S Belardo Rd, Palm Springs, CA 92262

Peet’s Coffee Recharge And Refresh Zones

There probably can’t be Coachella without cold java and Peet’s Cold Brew will again provide coffee for the guests across the Festival and Camping Center.

The festival-goers can expect the return of Interactive Vintage Bus and Peet’s Cold Brew Trike Happy Hour. But one of the brand new experiences this year is a Tap Room, which will deliver a unique draft experience associated with beer with Peet’s Baridi Blend Cold Brew and Nitro Cold Brew near the Gobi Stage.

When: April 18-22

Where: Empire Polo Club 81-800 Avenue 51, Indio, CA 92201Peet’s Coffee

McDonald’s And Pac Sun Pool Party

Free swag, open bar, interactive photo-booths, exclusive festival gear from PacSun and a pop-up McDonald’s restaurant.

When:  April 13, 2:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m.

Where: The Bootsy Bellows Estate, Rancho Mirage

Cash App Dome

The Coachella event hosted by Cash App this year is super-secretive, but we do know there will be surprise live performances, celebrity appearances and games.

When: April 13, 11:00 p.m.

Where: Undisclosed location in Indio, CA

Adidas’ ‘You Had To Be There”

Adidas goes old-school, opening the doors to their party where nobody has their phones out and everyone is living in the moment.

When: April 13, 1:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m.

Where: Undisclosed location in Indio, CA

Moschino ‘The Sims’

A private party for Jeremy Scott and his Hollywood friends promises to be just as fun and fabulous as the brand’s trademark design. Last year’s attendees included Cardi B, Gigi Hadid, Katy Perry and Paris Jackson, and considering Moschino’s recent announcement about a collaboration with Madonna, it is quite possible that she will be among the guests this year.

When: April 13th, 10:00 p.m.

Where: Undisclosed location in Indio. 

T-Mobile Pandora Indio Invasion

T-Mobile also invites the festival-goers to splash in a pool at one of the nicest estates in the Coachella Valley. Free gear from sponsors and a DJ set by Chromeo guaranteed.

When:  April 13, 2019. 1:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m.

Where: Private Estate in Cathedral City (near Palm Springs).

Revolve Festival

REVOLVE partners with Top Dawg Ent. to bring the world-renowned artists like SZA, ScHoolboy Q, Jay Rock, Reason and Zacari with a special performance by 2 Chainz. REVOLVE and TDE are also offering exclusive REVOLVE x TDE merchandise, which will become available on, starting April 15.

When and Where: 

  • Revolve Hotel: Thursday, April 11, V Palm Springs Hotel
  • TAO x REVOLVE Desert Nights: Friday, April 12 12 a.m., Undisclosed location in Indio, CA
  • #REVOLVEfestival: Saturday, April 13 – Sunday, April 14 1:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. daily. Private estate in La Quinta
  • Superdown Night Party: Saturday, April 13 12:00 a.m, Undisclosed location in Indio, CA

Prism Boutique’s Desert House

Prism Boutique is bringing their shop to Coachella along with brand partners Matisse Footwear, L*Space, Novella Royalle, Daydreamer, Jurate Brown and Le Specs. The activation will include free drinks, light bites, music and a photo booth backdrop. Also, complimentary mini-makeovers and gifts from Pixi Beauty and festival hair styling with Salt Strands from 12-4 p.m. on select days.

When: April 11th – 13th, 10:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.

Where: Prism Boutique Desert House, 421 South Cahuilla Road Palm Springs, CA

Dolls Kill Quickie Mart

To promote their new limited “Quickie Mart” collection, fashion brand Dolls Kill occupies an abandoned gas station off Highway 111 to give it a loud make-over and turn into “Quickie Mart,” where the shoppers will be able to pick-up last-minute festival outfits.

When: April 11-21, 10 a.m.–10 p.m.

Where: 83186 Highway 111 Indio, CA 92201

BMW ‘Road To Coachella’ Pop-Up

BMW partners with rapper Khalid to celebrate the BMW ‘i’ and invites the festival-goers to their dealership in Palm Springs. There will be Instagram experiences inspired by Khalid’s new album, food trucks, merch, a claw machine and of course, custom cars.

When: Apr 11-14, 12:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m.

Where: BMW Of Palm Springs, 3737 E Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92264

‘Game Of Thrones’ Brand Partnerships Align Household Names #ForTheThrone

HBO’s #ForTheThrone campaign heralded Game of Thrones’ eighth and final season with enough brand partnerships to fill an entire kingdom.

For seven seasons, Game of Thrones fans watched characters put their reputations and lives on the line for the good of their kingdoms. HBO turned that theme into a question for audiences—how far would you go for the throne? Brands, as it turned out, would go pretty far.

Secret Menu For Valyrian Speakers

The road to The Throne is covered in lies and secrets, but Shake Shack fans don’t have to kill anyone to access a secret menu. Visitors to the Madison Square Park Shake Shack in NYC can order two secret items—a spicy Dracarys Burger or a Dragon Glass shake. The only catch is that you have to order in Valyrian, a fictional language spoken by the dragon-loving race from Game of Thrones.

The secret menu will be available for a limited time—April 21 for the burger and May 21 for the shake, while supplies last. If your Valyrian is a bit rusty, don’t worry, as Shake Shack released a pronunciation guide.

Winter Is Coming To “West-Oreos”

Oreo released a limited edition pack of Game of Thrones-themed cookies, embossed to represent the four Great Houses still in the running, as well as the dreaded White Walkers.

The iconic Game of Thrones opening sequence was recreated with Oreo cookies and was used to unveil the partnership.

Makeup Fit For A Queen

Urban Decay is launching a collection of licensed beauty products inspired by Game of Thrones including an eyeshadow set with a pop-up iron throne. The color palettes feature names like “Lannister Red,” “Winter is Here” and “White Walker.” A highlight palette called “Queen of Dragons” has been embossed with the shape of dragon eggs.

Other items in the collection include themed lip/cheek stain, eyeliner, lipstick and make-up brushes made to look like Jon Snow’s Longclaw sword and Arya Stark’s Needle sword.

A Can With No Name

Inspired by Arya Stark training with a guild of assassins called the Faceless Men of Braavos, Mountain Dew sacrificed its own label “for the Throne.”

On the show, the Faceless Men are required to become “no one,” relinquishing their former identities. Mountain Dew’s campaign, “The Can With No Name,” features a blank, white can.

When chilled, the can reveals Arya’s kill list, including those who have already been crossed off—gearing fans up for who she will target in season eight.

Fans could only get a can by entering a Twitter giveaway or by finding a “Master of Coin” in Los Angeles or NYC. Finding one of these characters and whispering the password (found on Mountain Dew’s social channels) granted a coin, which could be inserted into a Game of Thrones vending machine to dispense a “nameless” can.

Mountain Dew’s sponsored athletes appeared in a separate video, singing along to the Game of Thrones with the word “Do” i.e. “Dew.”

Bleed For The Throne

HBO partnered with the American Red Cross to host an experiential cause marketing campaign at SXSW. Guests were invited into a large, decorated space, where they experienced recreations of the key moments from the show. The activation used audio, visual and physical interaction to put guests into the POV of characters Arya Stark, Cersei Lannister, Jon Snow and Tyrion Lannister as they endured betrayal, humiliation and life and death challenges.

Inside, guests could offer their blood literally, as a donation to the American Red Cross. Outside the enclosed area, guests could explore an interactive war camp filled with over 80 costumed performers and 100 pages of scripted characters. Snapchat filters encouraged social sharing with augmented reality banners.

Time To Drink And Know Things

Bob Cabral Wine created official special Game of Thrones-inspired wines to commemorate the show’s final season. Thirsty fans can order the special bottles in a red wine blend or Chardonnay. Each comes with an elaborately decorated label and an optional free Game of Thrones corkscrew.

“A fan of Game of Thrones, Bob was challenged to craft wines to match the strength the characters and the terrain of their kingdoms,” says the Bob Cabral website. “Bob’s meticulousness and patience have yielded a wine that [embodies] the spirit of the HBO series.”

Diageo released a number of Game of Thrones spirits ahead of the final season. Johnnie Walker launched a “White Walker” run of Scotch whisky featuring a label that glows when put in the freezer—a nod to the glowing white walker eyes.

Single malts, each based on a Great House of Westeros, were also released by Diageo brands Lagavulin, Dalwhinnie and the Cardhu Distillery.

Ommegang Brewery launched a series of limited-edition beers, each inspired by a character on Game of Thrones—Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, Mother of Dragons, Hand of the Queen and the latest, King of the North.

During the Super Bowl, an ad for Bud Light took a turn for the foreboding when one of the jousting contestants turns out to be The Mountain.

A Tale Of Fire And Fancy Water

Visitors to Las Vegas this week may be surprised to find the Bellagio Fountains have been set on fire. A limited-run event in partnership with MGM Resorts uses projection, pyrotechnics and nearly 800 fountains to create Game of Thrones imagery, all set to a custom score by composer Ramin Djawadi.

The show runs nightly through April 13, creating images like an undead dragon, The Wall crashing down, falling snow and more.

White Walkers In AR

HBO and Magic Leap created an augmented reality encounter with a White Walker inside select AT&T flagship stores.

“The Dead Must Die: A Magic Leap Encounter” will place users in a confrontation with wights (the undead) and a standoff with a White Walker. The encounter is available through June 10 at select locations in Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Dallas.

Baseball Game Of Thrones

Major League Baseball (MLB) teamed up with HBO to host Game of Thrones nights during the 2019 season. Visitors will receive a limited-edition tee-shirt and sit in specially-branded Game of Thrones sections.

Limited-edition bobbleheads have also gone on sale, offering mash-ups of MLB teams and Game of Thrones imagery. Each team has three bobbleheads—the team mascot sitting on the Iron Throne, an ice dragon bearing the team’s logo and the Night King holding a team’s baseball bat.

The continuing partnership was revealed through a trailer that likens pro ball players’ struggles with that of characters on the hit show, using the “chaos is a ladder” quote from Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish. The MLB video intercuts between show’s wall and the outfield wall on a baseball field.

Slaying In Style

Fashion house John Varvatos launched a Game of Thrones capsule collection that includes 11 pieces of hand-dyed leather outerwear, cross-over Henley,  pants, messenger bag and three shirts—House Lannister, House Stark and the Three-Eyed Raven.

This collaboration is the only luxury fashion collaboration for Game of Thrones’ final season and marks the first time John Varvatos has partnered with a TV series.

John Varvatos invited fans to take their best Game of Thrones-esque selfie inside the designer’s boutiques for a chance to win a trip to Belfast, Ireland.

Handbag and accessory company Danielle Nicole released an 18-piece collection of accessories inspired by the show’s costumes and great warring houses. Backpacks, crossbody bags, pouches, wristlets and coin purses were created with materials like faux fur and fringe that display famous phrases like “Winter is Coming” and “Fire and Blood.”

You Can’t Run From Winter

Adidas Running partnered to create six limited-edition Ultraboost shoes inspired by warring factions on the show. Each shoe features “subtle references” to the kingdom it represents including a sigil on the tongue and motto on the heel tag.

The unisex designs include White Walker, House Stark, Night’s Watch, Lannister and two styles of Targaryen, the latter of which have already sold out.

The Iron Throne, To Go

For some fans, watching the action and betrayal isn’t enough, so HBO teamed up with different game studios to bring Westeros to them.

Game of Thrones: Conquest is a free-to-play MMO strategy game from Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment that was developed by Turbine, Inc. Players become a lord or lady in Westeros who must develop their own strategy for conquering the Seven Kingdoms and claiming the Iron Throne. After creating their own house and sigil, players can battle over 120 iconic seats of power from the franchise.

In August, Devolver Digital released a version of Reigns based on Game of Thrones. Like its original game based on conquest, the new version features characters from HBO’s hit show like Jon Snow, Cersei Lannister and Daenerys Targaryen.

Have a Seat, Your Majesty

Sky UK partnered with Volvo to bring to the good people “7 Kingdoms Tour.”

The activation will be held in seven cities in the UK and Ireland and the event-goers will have the chance to take Insta-worthy pictures and videos in the majestic Game Of Thrones throne and leave with a dragon egg in hand.

There will also be on-air activations on “Thronecast–” the GoT talk show after the tour.

Night’s Watchmen Against The British Army

In this activation by Sky Atlantic to celebrate the final season of the show, the Night’s Watchmen deliver a dramatic sword performance, while the British Army’s Coldstream Guards perform a rendition of the Game of Thrones theme in London.

Wielding The Needle 

A division of pan-European telecommunications, Now TV, is offering free tattoos to all the fans in a studio in Soho, London on April 16th and 17th.

The “skin engravings” will be performed by artist Lauren Winzer and some of the designs include the iconic throne, lion, wolf, dragon and phrases, “Winter Is Coming,” “At The Game Of Thrones You Win Or You Die” and “I Am The Sword In The Darkness.”