Festival Sponsors Get Creative With Activation

By Lesa Ukman Apr 27, 2010

Festivals are going from strength to strength, especially in Europe. Just one indication of their prominence is the special limited edition jeans Diesel produced for Denmark’s Roskilde Festival. The run of 1,000 jeans are specially treated to deal with mud, wind, rain and other surprises that you might come across during the course of a festival. 

Festival Sponsors Get Creative With Activation

Stateside, festival sponsors are designing digital promotions that increase their Facebook fan counts, jumpstart learning around social media, drive new readers to brand blogs and more. Some examples:

Sweet Leaf Tea. As social networking services like Foursquare and Gowalla connect the virtual with the real, sponsors are creating deeper links with audiences, sampling, etc. At the 2010 SXSW, Sweet Leaf Tea had virtual cans around town that were redeemable for the real thing.

Long after the shininess of “checking in” and collecting “virtual goods” for their own sake wears off, companies will use sponsorship for access to tickets, meet and greets and other real-life incentives customers want.  

Sweet Leaf also is looking at how all the pieces of mobile and social media work together in ways that will help it build relationships with customers and not alienate them.

For example, around its sponsorship of Lollapalooza and other music festivals, Sweet Leaf Tea ran a text promotion and followed the messages up with additional texts driving recipients to its blog and Facebook page to see pictures of the winners. One takeaway: Texting campaigns are very effective cross channel. But the company also has discovered that even digitally savvy consumers sometimes prefer one method of contact over another. Since not all of the brand's fans on Facebook are on Twitter, Sweet Leaf has set up a few of its corporate Twitter accounts to automatically show up on Facebook. 

Odwalla. The juice brand’s festival activation is designed to expand its Facebook community. The campaign kicked off with a redesigned Odwalla Facebook page and a Coachella festival ticket giveaway.

Coachella, held April 16-18 in Indio, Calif., is the first of three major music festivals Odwalla sponsors. In addition to a first-of-its-kind outdoor lounge and an Odwalla Living Flavor Vending Machine and performance stage, Odwalla gave away a pair of Coachella tickets every day for 20 days via Facebook.

  • According to Jason Dolenga, brand manager, Odwalla, the brand’s presence at music festivals includes an Odwalla Outdoor Lounge, part innovative sampling booth, part performance stage and part advocate podium. 
  • The Odwalla Living Flavor performance stage features DJs, musicians, films/filmmakers, storytellers, open mic auditions and engaging fans online
  • A feature allows fans to upload videos for a chance to perform at the Odwalla Living Flavor stage at the Bonnaroo and Outside Lands music festivals.

Not to be left out, rightsholders are proactively drumming up new business with social media.

For example, organizers of the 2010 Sundance Film Festival introduced the event’s first official iPhone app. The application offers users a comprehensive list of screening schedules and events, as well as maps, updated press articles and Twitter and Facebook links. My fave: the “What’s Going On” function, which located each user via GPS and then suggested a list of still-available events at near-by screening venues.

In addition, to build its presence in social media, Sundance execs invited guest Twitterers, such as Joan Rivers, Kenneth Cole and America Ferrera, to contribute to the general @SundanceFest Twitter feed, as well as started separate Twitter feeds for the media and another for “Sundance maniacs.”


beverage digital media events festivals international music new media social media activation



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