4 Event Marketing Lessons from Brands at Music Festivals

4 Event Marketing Lessons from Brands at Music Festivals

Music festival season is in full swing for 2014 — it seems like we wake up to a new lineup announcement every other day.

From festivals in the heart of the city to three-day campouts in the middle of nowhere, these high-profile events lure in the biggest musical acts and thousands upon thousands of millennials. But they also draw in another important constituent: brands.

The music festival has become a golden opportunity for brands to reach the coveted 18-34 demographic. 76 percent of festival-goers view brands more favorably if they sponsor a tour or concert, and brand sponsorship of festivals totaled $1.22 billion in 2012. This has led to some great partnerships, with brands coming up with creative ways to provide an experience for festival attendees.

Whether or not your business is planning to sponsor a music festival, there’s a lot to be learned about event marketing from these 4 festival-brand partnerships:

1. Free Samples: Monster Energy at SXSW

Monster Energy truly took it to the extreme in Austin last month. As the official sponsor of SXSW, the brand ran a social campaign called #MusicMakesMeDoIt and handed out complimentary Monster products at several events during the week. They also opened up the Java Monster Café, where festival attendees could grab free breakfast — including Java Monster Coffee, of course — to charge up for the day.

Key Takeaway: Everyone likes free stuff. Give people a taste of your brand — quite literally — by handing out free samples.

2. Crafting an Experience: Heineken at Coachella

Heineken has sponsored Coachella for the past 13 years, but this time around the beer brand upped the ante with their debut of the Heineken House. During both weekends, festival attendees could hang out in the Heineken House and enjoy art, food, and drinks. Even better, Heineken hosted its own lineup of musical performances with some special guests that were revealed via Snapchat.

Key Takeaway: Tap into what your audience already loves when creating a brand experience.


3. Fun and Games: Zippo at CounterPoint

At Georgia’s CounterPoint festival this summer, lighter company Zippo is planning to set up a pop-up shop with daily giveaways, a “spin it to win it” game, and a lighter design contest. At the booth, festival attendees will be able to create their own lighter designs for a chance to win a special-edition Schecter guitar.

Key Takeaway: Get event attendees involved! They’re looking for an experience, and contests and activities are a great way to provide that.


4. Solving a Problem: Sony at Electric Daisy Carnival 

Sony is set to return to EDC this summer with its trademark “electrolounge,” an interactive, glowing cube where EDM fans can try out tons of Sony products and listen to live DJs spin their tracks. Not only that, but last year Sony gave out free sweatbands (a necessity in the 100 degree Las Vegas heat), and provided free Wi-Fi since mobile service was limited on the festival grounds. Little details like these gave people a reason to stop by.

Key Takeaway: Solve a problem for event attendees. No Wi-Fi? Scorching heat? It’s the perfect chance to step in and be their savior.


**Written by Marketing intern Jenna Buckle, Sociology major and Mass Communications minor at Tufts University (Class of 2015).

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