Coachella is huge for brands. One of the biggest festivals in the United States, it presents a golden opportunity for brands to be a part of an experience unlike any other and to associate themselves with top tastemakers and influencers that drive trends in fashion, beauty, lifestyle, entertainment, and more.
Marketing at Coachella isn’t just a series of booths or banners on the backdrop of a stage. It’s integrated, designed to be a part of the experience. And that’s why it’s so effective. Brands at Coachella market differently than they do at any other festival, focusing on brand activations and influencer marketing opportunities at the festival that enhances the overall experience. Companies rent houses to throw branded parties or sponsor air conditioned tents and areas to give festival goers much-needed hydration shelter from the sun.
At Coachella, brands aren’t just present — they’re a part of the festival experience itself, and that’s what makes it such a valuable opportunity.
For brands, marketing at Coachella is more than displaying a logo. It’s most successful when it means getting involved with the festival and interacting with audiences on a personal level, whether that’s through brand activations and branded experiences at the festival or through influencers who are present at the festival and sharing their experiences and brand partnerships with their fans through social media.
This year, HP, Marriott, and Sephora have a strong presence at the festival. From VR stations to light shows to elaborate giveaways and more, all types of brands presented festival goers with unique, memorable experiences easily shareable on social media. See some of the best Coachella 2017 branded experiences below:
Tech company HP offered festival goers a multi-faceted branded experience bar none. HP’s Coachella 2017 amenities included VR stations, a raffle giveaway for Coachella 2018 VIP tickets, 3-D photo booths, and light shows controlled through HP’s tablet technology.
HP’s Antarctic tent arguably was one of the standout attractions where attendees could enjoy a 9-minute light show in the midst of the festival.
Hospitality brand Marriott presented 4 different destination “sets” where concert goers could have their picture taken by a professional photographer. To enter Marriott’s dream destination vacation, attendees were required to post on Instagram using their festival hashtag, #MarriottxCoachella.
Sephora offered festival goers a branded destination where attendees could sample new Sephora products at various makeup stations, and take fun, experiential photos.
About 80% of Coachella attendees purchase something to prepare for the festival, and 55% of festival-goers say they are more likely to purchase a product from a brand they’ve encountered at a festival. Because of this, marketing to festival-goers both before and during Coachella presents a huge opportunity for brands.
This year, brands all over the world are relying more heavily than ever on influencer marketing to capitalize on Coachella’s popularity. Here’s how ten top brands are working with influencers before and during the festival.
2017 marks H&M’s eighth year as a Coachella sponsor and the third year of its co-branded “H&M Loves Coachella” line. As the only fashion brand that’s an official Coachella partner, H&M has exclusive rights to use Coachella in its collection name and marketing materials.
The brand teamed up with surf-rock band The Atomics to promote this year’s collection through sponsored Instagram posts as well as a launch event at its flagship Times Square location. H&M also partnered with at least 15 other Instagram influencers to spread the word about its Coachella-inspired line.
REVOLVE Clothing, a trendy e-commerce retailer, is another major player in the Coachella influencer marketing space. Last year, REVOLVE’s campaign reached over 30 million Instagram users. This year, REVOLVE is partnering with dozens of top fashion influencers using the campaign hashtag #revolvefestival.
During the festival, the brand is taking over Arrive Hotel in Palm Springs and dubbing it #hotelrevolve, which will host some of the most influential bloggers and celebrities in the world. The hotel will also serve as a pop-up shop that’s open to the public April 14-16.
Gilt, another online clothing retailer, is also capitalizing on the Coachella craze through sponsored Instagram posts. Two weeks prior to Coachella, Gilt worked with a variety of small-scale fashion influencers to promote its festival sale on Instagram. In the week leading up to the festival, a few large influencers (including the bloggers behind LE HAPPY and Something Navy) posted Gilt festival outfits on their blogs and Instagrams.
BMW is proving that you don’t need to be a fashion brand to succeed with Coachella Instagram marketing. As the official transportation partner of Coachella 2017, BMW is providing transportation for VIP guests and having them document their journeys using the campaign hashtag, #roadtocoachella.
PUMA is teaming up with Daniel Bacon, better known as The Modern Man, for Coachella this year. Daniel posted a photo the day before Coachella announcing his Puma sponsorship.
Urban Decay Cosmetics teamed up with beauty influencer Maryam Maquillage to create a Coachella makeup tutorial on YouTube. She shared a picture of her Coachella look on Instagram as well and announced that Urban Decay Cosmetics will be sending her to the festival.
Motivi, an Italian fashion brand, is sending five prominent fashion influencers to Coachella in order to promote its spring line. Each influencer posted on Instagram to announce their trip to Palm Springs for the festival using the campaign hashtag, #MotiviAmaCoachella, and will be documenting their weekend at the festival. This campaign shows that Coachella is a global sensation with impact reaching all the way to Europe.
Motivi isn’t the only international brand sending influencers to Coachella. Levi’s Mexico, Levi’s Italy, and Levi’s Spain all sent fashion influencers to Palm Springs this year. Andy Torres, Belen Hostales, and Veronica Ferraro will be wearing Levi’s and documenting their Levi’s-sponsored Coachella experiences with the branded hashtag #LiveInLevis.
Following the popular trend, Maybelline is also sending influencers to Coachella. Sixteen “Maybelline IT Girls” from all over the world will be enjoying Maybelline-sponsored Coachella experiences and posting throughout the festival with the hashtag #MaybellineITGirl.
For influencers, just like for brands, Coachella is a can’t-miss opportunity to see and be seen. That’s why so many of social media’s top influencers are at the festival creating content, building their own personal brands, and making connections against the backdrop of one of the world’s most famous music festivals.
Many of the top influencers at Coachella attend the festival with some kind of brand partnership, maybe even several. They’ll be posting Instagram photos, creating Stories on Snapchat and Instagram, livestreaming, tweeting, taking video and more in the course of their time at the festival, and the savviest brands and influencers are finding ways to include brand messaging and products in that content for maximum impact without sacrificing authenticity.
Just like Coachella (which now draws over 100,000 attendees during each day of the festival), influencer marketing has seen explosive growth in the last two years. On track to become a $5-10 billion industry in the next few years (with Instagram influencer marketing reaching $1 billion in 2017), influencer marketing is a larger and more crucial part of marketing than it’s ever been before. Naturally, it’s also a much bigger part of marketing and branded content at Coachella.
Two years ago, most of the influencer marketing partnerships built around Coachella were pretty simple. Influencers and creators were taking photos, selfies, videos, and Snaps at the festival as they went about whatever they had planned.
Now, it’s not uncommon for influencers to be much more involved with sponsoring brands in the months leading up to Coachella, being the first to the festival grounds in order to do photo shoots (get a head start on their content, which is more polished, more sophisticated), and being more intentional than it was two years ago. Knowing that Coachella is such a big opportunity, both brands and influencers take it more seriously now than they ever have, and that translates to influencer content that looks better and is more impactful.
In many ways, the evolution of influencer marketing at Coachella echoes the evolution of influencer marketing itself, and it highlights a clear trajectory for the future of the industry. Influencer marketing isn’t just showing up at the right location for a selfie with a logo or taking a photo of a product with the right link and hashtag. In order to be successful, influencer marketing must be smart, authentic, natural, and high quality.