Music fans are already paying an arm and a leg to attend their favorite music festivals this summer, whether it’s Lollapalooza or the Electric Daisy Carnival. So marketers are doing whatever it takes to ease this financial burden, while at the same time spreading the word about their products.
Via a report from Adweek, Anheuser-Busch’s Bud Light brand is offering plenty of goodies to fans through its “immersive digital toolkit,” which provides fast passes, backstage tours, exclusive downloads, photos with artists and free schwag, amongst other goodies, provided they take part in some form of their marketing.
A number of festivals see advertisers such as this taking part in one form or another, including Stagecoach, Bonnaroo, HARD Summer and Rock In Rio, among others. But like Bud Light above, they’re looking for the right approach – and a small sampling just isn’t enough.
“There aren’t many places to reach 100,000 people in a day in a captive environment,” said Andrew Klein, senior vice president of global partnerships for ARG Live. “We tell brands to come big or don’t come at all.”
Various sponsors have rolled out different programs at these events, including Sephora’s beauty patio at the Coachella event and Malibu Rum’s devoted beach house, in the midst of a rainy FarmBorough event in New York.
Other promotions are jumping in as well. Uber paired up a popular country artist to ride along with fans during Chicago’s Windy City Lake Shake, while 7up and H&M have created limited edition merchandise for their Electric Daisy Carnival and Coachella appearances, respectively.
Finding the right “groove” for this fans is key for a program to work. “Fans are asking, ‘What did you do for me ‘ There’s a higher expectation of what a brand will bring to a festival,” said Mike Raspatello, manager for digital innovation and strategy at Anheuser-Busch. “You want them to be glad you’re there.”
However, connections aren’t just made in person – companies can also get into the action online, where an even bigger audience can await. “It’s not just about those three days, it’s about the six or eight months surrounding the festival,” said Maureen Ford, president of national and festival sales for Live Nation. “Everyone’s being challenged in a good way to tell their story over a longer period with unique content.”
One example of this is Yahoo’s recent livestream from EDC Las Vegas, where 130,000 fans tuned in every night. 7up took advantage of this with specially made cans designed by DJ’s Tiesto and Martin Garrix, among others. “Being on the ground and launching special product demonstrates to fans that we’re part of the culture,” said Eric Blackwood, director of marketing for 7up. “And the livestream allows us to take it to a much larger scale – millions rather than a few hundred thousand.”
And the bigger brands aren’t just taking part – DoSomething.org continues to be a big part of the Vans Warped Tour, one of the summer’s more popular events. However, some are catering to a new audience, since 70 percent of these concert-goers happen to be female. “Some brands got away from experiential marketing for a while, but they’ve come back to it because of the emotional connection,” said Lyman. “When they create a hybrid activation, with social media to amplify it, that’s a winner.”
Rock on, fans.