September and October have come to be known as music festival months. From Austin City Limits and Fun Fun Fun Fest, to New Orleans’ Voodoo Fest, hip concert junkies are coming out of the woodwork to enjoy good music, good food, and just a flat out good time.
With these music events attracting more than 50,000 attendees, it’s natural for brands to want to get in the game.
Marketing at a music festival sounds like a no brainer, right? There will be lots of exposure, it’s a way to reach the millennial consumers, and if your budget allows for it… then why not? However, the first lesson in marketing at a music festival is
Just because a festival exists, doesn’t mean your brand should have a presence there.
Let’s take Austin’s SXSW festival as an example. Austin, Texas was dubbed as one of “America’s Best Cities for Foodies” by Travel & Leisure. Do you think it is appropriate for a brand like McDonalds to be one of the main sponsors? Well, they were… and let’s just say that backlash was in full force even before the festival began. It didn’t make sense for a “chain” restaurant like McDonalds to be represented at such a hipster, cultural, and foodie event like SXSW.
Our second lesson in marketing at a music festival is you must…
enhance the attendees’ experience.
Creating a pretty banner behind a stage doesn’t cut it anymore. Concert-goers are numb to this form of in-your-face advertising and chances are, they won’t even see your ad (yes, even when it is literally in front of their face). So what do you do? Become meaningful.
Companies that want to be remembered need to create an experience that stands out and enhances the enjoyment of the festival fan.
Dos Equis will be a sponsor at the “Life is Beautiful” festival in Las Vegas and is setting up a lounge and beer garden complete with mist walkers, aerialist performances, stilt walkers, a drum circle, a photo booth and graffiti art.
Verizon/Samsung: Features places to plug in or recharge a cell phone during festivals
Nordstrom: offering three pop-up pods where guests can have personalized messages screened on giveaway tote bags, which they can then fill up with full-sized samples of products like lotions and sunscreens.
When thinking about advertising at a function such as a music festival, it is important for your brand to have a connection to the event. If you don’t, there is still hope in creatively brainstorming a way that you can enhance the experience of concert-goers while promoting your brand. (Nordstrom actually created a way to make their fashion retail brand relevant at festivals!)
Do your research before, because doing it wrong can be worse than not doing it all!