Each year, thousands descend upon Indio, California to attend Coachella. The world-famous music festival has been around since 1999 and costs anywhere from $429 to over $1,000 to attend. If its past musical acts are any indication, the musical festival is squarely for Millennials. Famously, the 2012 event featured a 2Pac hologram. Coldplay, Kanye West, and Lady Gaga have also performed.
Coachella 2018 looks to be as major as ever for festival goers, marketers and brands, and the general public observing from afar. In preparation for its start on April 13, here we’ll discuss Coachella unprecedented marketing potential, the 2018 brand experiences to watch out for, and the festival’s connection to influencer marketing.
What about Coachella makes it a golden marketing opportunity? For one, the festival is an excellent place to execute event marketing. Brands can capitalize on consumer excitement already surrounding the event and insert themselves into the attendee experience (using booths and participation marketing) to win and retain customers.
An event like Coachella is highly memorable for attendees. If a brand not only associates itself with the music festival but makes itself a central part of the event, success can ensue. A Nielsen study found that 76% of festival attendees feel more favorably toward brands that sponsor a concert or tour. An attendee’s memorable interaction with a brand at Coachella (or other events) can lead to his/her recalling the brand fondly, and in turn choosing its products in the future.
Apart from its situation as an event marketing opportunity, Coachella gives brands access to a coveted group of financially able millennial consumers. Of the roughly 32 million people that attend at least one U.S. music festival a year, almost half (46%) are between 18-34-years-old.
Not only that, the price point of a general admission Coachella ticket ($429) indicates that attendees have disposable income they’re willing to spend. Time estimates that a typical Coachella festival-goer will spend anywhere from $627 on the low end to $2,347 or more if you’re flying in and planning on attending this weekend.
Millennials have also demonstrated a unique desire for experiences. More than 3-in-4 (78%) say they’d spend money on a desirable experience or event over a product. Additionally, almost 8-in-10 (77%) say their best memories are from events or live experiences they attended. Brands can capitalize on Generation Y’s preference for experiences over things by providing them engaging branded experiences at Coachella.
Each year, brands of all types serve as official Coachella sponsors. Important to note is the fact that non-sponsored brands have seen huge success at the event – see a comparison of the two in our Coachella case study here.
While alcohol brand advertising seems like a natural fit for Coachella, music festivals, and millennial-fueled events, recently the FTC has clamped down on the rules and regulations surrounding alcohol advertising and sponsored social media marketing.
Observer details how non-profit group Truth In Advertising (TINA) and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) examined hundreds of DJ Khaled’s social media posts featuring alcohol brands to find them in violation of FTC regulations.
For 2018, look to see how Coachella’s alcohol sponsors Absolut, Cupcake Vineyards, and Heineken creatively market to concert goers and expand their marketing beyond to audiences on social.
American Express has become a mainstay on social due to their always-on influencer marketing. The financial service has developed various brand ambassadorship programs and frequently partners with many different types of social media influencers to reach a wide range of demographics on Instagram.
American Express returns to Coachella 2018 not only offering festival goers VIP access and experiences to card members but to continue to align itself with trendy audiences. For more detailed information on how official sponsor American Express stacked up against non-sponsoring brands in Coachella 2016, see our case study here.
Also a returning sponsor, BMW’s #RoadToCoachella campaign marks the second time the luxury automaker has promoted its all-electric models to the festival’s forward-thinking audiences. BMW’s second Coachella campaign features a design collaboration with festival headliner Portugal. The Man’s lead singer, John Gourley.
Akin to competitor Lexus sponsoring New York Fashion Week, BMW’s association with Coachella positions the premium car brand well for millennial audiences who may be considering their first or next luxury and eco-friendly vehicle.
Google & HP
Tech giants Google and HP are set to offer extremely engaging attendee experiences at Coachella 2018. Google will be advertising its Google Home and Google Assistant, perfect lifestyle products for Coachella’s millennial demographic, by way of a real Ferris wheel and live photobooths. HP will host a 360-degree Antarctic art show to showcase its forward-thinking technology appropriate for creative, art-centric Coachella attendees.
To advertise its portfolio of worldwide hotels Marriott is sticking to the event marketing tactic that worked last year: creating themed Coachella tents that attendees and rewards members can stay in for a night. Interestingly, each of Marriott’s eight yurts will mirror its hotel rooms in Dubai, Barcelona, Bali, and Hollywood. The campaign serves to provide festival goers with a memorable experience and entice them to book a stay at one of Marriott’s above-mentioned locations.
Aside from initiatives at Coachella itself, brands have been known to extend the reach of event marketing campaigns by using social media. In 2016, Coachella’s official Snapchat Story reached over 40 million people, much higher than the festival’s 99,000 attendees each day. To reach non-festival goers, YouTube will broadcast an exclusive Coachella livestream on April 13-15. YouTube users will be able to view performances from Beyonce, Post Malone, and more on Coachella’s YouTube channel.
Influencer marketing has also become an essential part of marketing at Coachella. Influencers serve the primary purpose of driving attendee and online interest in brands’ activations at the event. Consumers, therefore, don’t need to attend Coachella to discover a brand but can be exposed to the brand in a memorable context exclusively online. In past years, brands among the likes of H&M and Dole have executed highly effective Coachella influencer marketing campaigns in partnership with influencers and celebrities.
Related Post: How Brands Market On Snapchat For Coachella