top of page
  • David Boon

What Brands are doing to stand out at events they participate in: Exploring the Experiential Tactics from Coachella 2024

Updated: May 9

We often look to the 'shiny' objects of music and sport to drive the engagement we have with our Brand, but is the consumer engaging you (your Brand) or the shiny object in these instances and are you doing enough to really get the consumer to have an experience with your brand - understanding that deep and meaningful engagement far outweighs impressions.


Your brand activity serves as a barometer for this deep and meaningful engagement and scanning the world wide web to see what Brands are doing to win and do more with their experiential marketing activities, I found a bunch of insights and trends from Coachella 2024.


For those that don't know, Coachella (https://www.coachella.com) is one of the largest and most famous music and arts festivals in the world. It is held in the Coachella Valley in California and it showcases popular, established and emerging musical artists as well as what has become known as "Coachella Fashion" - a breeding ground for a very distinct visual code and a plethora of cultural appropriation.


So its a match made in heaven for being at an event with trending music and the latest fashion, and I explored what Brands did to stand out and ensure they were seen and heard.


818 TEQUILA EXECUTED 818 OUTPOST

A FULL SERVICE SALOON - AS A ONE DAY POP-UP

In elevating their distinctive old-town Western tequila affair, 818 Tequila built an ‘818 Outpost’ experience, collaborating with complementary beverage brands to present guests with an array of signature 818 cocktails.


Once they had a 818 cocktail in hand, attendees indulged in a personalised cowboy hat customisation station, a thoughtfully curated photo 818 opportunity, a delectable snack boutique, and even a beauty touch-up oasis.


The event was exclusive, accessible only by invitation—a strategic move to foster and fortify customer relationships – but to amplify excitement and extend the opportunity to festival attendees, a select number of invites were made available to the public. Festival-goers eagerly sought these coveted tickets by engaging with 818's Instagram page, which also served as a platform for exclusive merchandise releases leading up to the event.


METHODS 'UNLEASH YOUR INNER SHOWER'

As the official body and haircare sponsor of Coachella, Methods embraced its "Unleash Your Inner Shower" campaign, inviting guests to unwind in the brand's Inner Shower Lounge. Here, attendees immersed themselves in a sensory journey through Method's most popular scents, courtesy of the innovative Inner Shower Portal—an immersive experience that transported guests through different olfactory worlds.


Adding to the indulgence, a hair glam beauty station awaited visitors, offering a selection of nine hairstyles inspired by Method scents. Additionally, an AI aura photo experience awaited, digitally transforming guests into vibrant prints inspired by Method's signature scents, based on their responses to a few quick questions.


Beyond the lounge, Method activated the Coachella campgrounds with its captivating "Field of Showers" display. Initially, a blank canvas adorned with sculptures of butterflies, flowers, and waves awaited festival-goers' artistic touch. Attendees brought these sculptures to life with paint, each design mirroring the essence of Method scents available throughout the festival.


Still at the campgrounds and among the interactive features:

  • Was a kaleidoscope selfie booth—a rotating, animated backdrop offering vibrant representations of Method's scents.

  • Complementing this was a customisation station, where guests adorned their belongings with Method-themed iron-on patches.

  • Adding to the festive atmosphere, Method curated three playlists for guests to enjoy while indulging in a refreshing shower, completing the sensorial experience.


AMERICAN EXPRESS

American Express orchestrated a captivating four-room experience designed to empower fans to craft their own indelible festival memories.


The journey began in a winter wonderland room inspired by Reneé Rapp's acclaimed album, "Snow Angel," complete with a thematic photo opportunity. Attendees then engaged in a festival-themed quiz to unlock access to "Reneé's Readings," where the singer herself predicted their "festival fortune" with AMEX cardholders receiving their personalised predictions on a physical card to cherish as a memento of their AMEX experience.


The experience also featured a nostalgic snack bar serving up non-alcoholic beverages, a mesmerising Raindrop Cake offering complimentary "Raindrop Potions," and a Night Market showcasing products from esteemed small-business partners.


Exclusive experiences and perks then awaited AMEX card holders, including:

  1. The debut of the Merch To-Go Window, where cardholders received mystery boxes filled with festival-themed artist merchandise from performers like Rapp and Tyler, alongside official Coachella items.

  2. A "get ready with me" cardholder pop-up, offering complimentary glam services such as hair-bow stacking.


SMIRNOFF ICE 'SUMMER SURPR-ICE'S'

Smirnoff Ice's presence at Coachella showcased strategic execution, offering a series of engaging experiences under its “Surpr-ICEs” campaign. This initiative not only highlighted the brand's penchant for surprises but also emphasised positivity, boldness, and a comedic twist.

The campaign unfolded through various activations that included:


Pop-Up Event in Downtown Indio: Timed alongside the Coachella music festival, this pop-up event in downtown Indio, California, promised surprises in the form of the sparkling "ice" and Smirnoff beverages. Attendees also had the chance to win festival-inspired collectibles by renowned designer Sue Tsai.


Partnership with Nylon House at Coachella: Smirnoff Ice collaborated with Nylon House to bring innovative experiences to Coachella attendees, including:

  • The Smirnoff Ice Chalet, where guests snapped photos and enjoyed Smirnoff ICE beverages. Throughout the evening, attendees were treated to unexpected surprises, or “Surpr-ICES.”

  • Lawn games and refreshing drinks served from a charming floral-covered bar, offering guests a chance to cool off and unwind amidst the festival excitement.


In addition to these experiences, the campaign featured text-to-win giveaways, further enhancing engagement and excitement surrounding the brand's presence at Coachella..


INTERNATIONAL DELIGHT’S COLD FOAM HOUSE

The coffee experience at Coachella reached new heights with the International Delight Cold Foam House—an immersive activation designed to tantalise the senses and introduce festival-goers to the brand's trio of innovative creamer flavours.


Inside the Cold Foam House, attendees were treated to a multi-sensory journey. They swung on oversized cold foam coffee cups, crafted rhythmic beats using a dashboard adorned with International Delight dispensers and caps as buttons, and interacted with a captivating 10-foot touchscreen display brimming with cascading digital foam. Amidst whimsical scenery, including mesmerising 3D cold-foam swirl installations overhead, guests snapped photos to capture the moment.


Fanning the flames of excitement was Coachella influencer and guest barista Victoria Justice—a self-proclaimed "coffee fanatic" renowned for her talents as an actress, songwriter, and singer. Her presence added an extra jolt to the caffeine-fuelled buzz surrounding the event.


ABSOLUT: MIXING IT UP

As the Official Vodka of Coachella, Absolut embraced its "Born to Mix" ethos by transcending the festival's physical confines and unveiling an exclusive limited-time series, "Mixing It Up: Cosmos & Culture," within Absolut.LAND—the brand's vibrant Metaverse World.


This immersive experience pays homage to the iconic Cosmos cocktail, featuring Absolut Vodka, while encapsulating the essence of their innovative digital universe. It invites participants to connect with both new and old faces over a refreshing Cosmos, fostering global engagement both online and offline.


Festival attendees were welcomed to "break the ice" with a refreshing photo opportunity and then get a drink from Absolut's main bar or the Ocean Spray Bar, both complemented by captivating DJ sets.


A dynamic digital screen showcased content from Absolut's Metaverse World, encouraging festival-goers to engage with the brand digitally by scanning a QR code with their smartphones. Upon entry into Absolut.Land, participants could immerse themselves in interactive games and mixology sessions.


This unique experience extended beyond the festival grounds, offering remote fans the opportunity to explore a digital replica of Absolut's Coachella footprint. They could also tune into live DJ sets and access exclusive content dropped within Absolut.Land, ensuring that the excitement of Coachella was accessible to fans worldwide.


WHAT ARE THE KEY TAKE-AWAYS FROM THE COACHELLA CASE STUDIES PROVIDED:

We may not all have these wonderful big budgets, but the key is to understand what these Brands are doing (to have deeper engagement with their audiences) and to then see how we can apply that to what we have available, to drive similar results.


1. Creating Immersive Experiences: 

Each brand went beyond traditional marketing approaches to create immersive experiences that engaged multiple senses. From personalised activities like cowboy hat customisation to interactive digital screens and themed photo opportunities, brands sought to captivate attendees and create memorable moments.


2. Exclusive Access and Invitation-Only Events:

By hosting exclusive, invitation-only events, brands like 818 Tequila and American Express leveraged exclusivity to foster and fortify customer relationships. This approach not only adds a sense of prestige but also generates buzz and excitement among attendees, whilst equally creating FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) and AMO (Actually Missing Out) for those without invitations.


3. Digital Integration: 

Brands like Absolut embraced digital innovation to extend their reach beyond the physical event space. By leveraging digital platforms such as Absolut.Land, they provided festival-goers with opportunities for global engagement, interactive experiences, and exclusive content.


4. Collaborations and Partnerships:

Collaborating with complementary brands and influencers can enhance the overall event experience. Whether through curated merchandise boxes, guest appearances by influencers, or partnerships with small-business vendors, brands leveraged collaborations to offer unique and diverse experiences to attendees.


5. Personalisation and Customisation:

Offering personalised experiences and customisation options allows brands to connect with consumers on a deeper level. From personalised predictions and physical mementos to customisable drinks and merchandise, brands tailored their offerings to meet the individual preferences and tastes of attendees.


6. Multi-Sensory Engagement:

Brands leveraged multi-sensory engagement to create immersive experiences that resonated with attendees. Whether through thematic decorations, interactive installations, or tantalizing food and beverage offerings, brands sought to engage all senses to leave a lasting impression.


Sources/References:

Sound of Life; Event Marketer; PR Newswire; Absolut.com; Bizbash.com; Marketing Dive


141 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page