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
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.'”