5 Technologies we are excited about for 2021 music festivals
The world is becoming more tech-friendly than ever before, with music festivals being no exception. Music festivals are the great experiential unifier—when else are hundreds of thousands of people simultaneously undergoing one particular remarkable experience? Technologies have enabled music festivals to not only streamline processes, but better connect mass amounts of people. Here are a few technologies that we are most excited about once the scene returns:
Drone Light Shows
Drone light shows are like fireworks, but they don’t terrify wildlife, add toxic chemical pollutants to the ecosystem, litter plastic casings, trigger terror in people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, or increase risk of wildfires. We saw Intel fly 2066 drones in July of 2018 to celebrate their 50th Anniversary, which broke the Guinness World Record for drones flying simultaneously. At music festivals, drones can display thousands of color variations and move in sync with the music.
This technology has allowed attendees to go cashless and touchless when paying for concessions, expediting the process and reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission. In addition, it streamlines the check-in and security process by indicating validity instantaneously, which minimizes lines for entering the venue. The technology also helps to eliminate ticket fraud by being virtually impossible to duplicate.
If fans can’t make the show, they can experience it from home. We’ve seen AR and VR emerge as ways fans can “get closer” to their favorite artists and become more immersed in the experience. Fans can get up on the stage, and experience the performance alongside the artists. The technology enables users to intensely hear and see perhaps even more acutely than real life.
From nostalgia-driven performances by classic artists to hyper-futuristic occasions, to put it bluntly, holograms make people lose their f******g minds. A hologram of Tupac already performed at Coachella 2012, so the technology is well under-way. Madonna even performed with 4 hologram versions of herself at the 2019 Billboard Awards.
You know when you’re listening to music on headphones and the sound bounces from one ear to the other and you feel like you’re inside the recording studio? In the past, you wouldn’t necessarily get that experience at concerts unless you’re in the *perfect* spot. Now, performers are focusing more on creating a 3D sound experience that fully immerses the audience from every seat in the house.
What Level of Experiential Marketing Service is Right for You?
If your company is considering hiring an experiential marketing agency, you’ve already recognized the value of experiences. Creating a unique branded experience allows you to break through the sea of traditional marketing and connect with your audience in a meaningful, memorable way.
Experiential marketing is a relatively new field as compared to traditional advertising, which makes it a great opportunity to get ahead of the competition. It also means hiring an outside agency is a great way to maximize your marketing budget and produce a truly memorable engagement. Whether you are looking to produce an event, a digital or virtual experience, or an out-of-home campaign that engages your audience in a new way, your internal marketing team can amplify its reach and capabilities by partnering with the right agency.
Tailored Involvement for Well-Fitting Results
As with any outside agency, every brand has a different vision of how involved an external experiential marketing team should be. The level of involvement should be mutually beneficial and clearly discussed to ensure that all parties are satisfied and able to do their best work. Here are the three main ways an external experiential marketing agency should work for you.
A full-service extension of your internal marketing team.
For many brands, the best way to dive into a new realm of marketing is by finding a full-service extension of the internal marketing team that takes your existing brand guidelines and goals and translates them to an entirely new medium–in this case, experiential activations.
Look for a full-service extension that listens to your needs and learns about your brand then delivers concepts, strategy, design, production, and execution. A full-service agency should work side-by-side with your team and relish collaboration. Look for the right balance of confidence in ideas while being receptive to feedback.
An experienced team that brings your ideas to life.
Lots of internal creative teams generate world-class ideas across all channels and marketing opportunities. However, one-off experiential executions require a unique set of skills and resources that many of the most talented marketing creatives simply don’t have the bandwidth for. From local permitting to sourcing niche details to installing giant shipping containers in tight spaces, oftentimes the hardest part of experiential activations is bringing them to life.
An agency that specializes in executing your vision should be great at communication–both listening to your ideas and sharing its plans for bringing them to life. These agencies should have a large network of partners and contractors that can make literally anything happen. And they should embrace the challenge of executing your ideas, without the need to insert their own creative if that’s beyond the scope of the project.
An agency that provides creative ideas, strategies, and a playbook for execution.
For brands that just want to get started with experiential marketing, this is the easiest and best way to get a foot in the door. Simply reviewing the possibilities of experiential marketing activations gives your brand the opportunity to consider how much budget to allocate and allows you to understand more about how the agency thinks. Some agencies will even create initial concepts and ideas as a complimentary service if it’s your first time working with them.
As always, you should look for an agency that is innovative, collaborative, and at the forefront of trends. Whether you want to ruffle feathers or simply capture audience attention in innovative ways, the agency should understand your goals and deliver unique ideas and clear plans to make them happen.
How The Pineapple Agency Works
We are comfortable working in any capacity with our clients and we always operate with the same goal extending across all of our projects: create an immersive experience or activation that brings our client’s brand to life, maximizes ROI, and creates lifelong customers/followers.
Whether you need us to integrate with your in-house and/or external marketing teams, want a few ideas, or are ready for a turnkey experiential activation, we know how to deliver. The Pineapple Agency has experience acting across all styles of agency and with clients of all sizes and needs. And right now, we’re offering our creative concepting services completely free to new clients.
Why Pride Month is the Ultimate Experiential Marketing Campaign
Gay pride has worked its way into all of our lives. In non-Covid years, Pride parades across the country are ultimate block parties that include people of all backgrounds and orientations. The strides towards equality are priceless, and Pride is also one of the ultimate marketing campaigns of our generation.
Gay Pride Month is the perfect opportunity for brands to express themselves as supportive and inclusive while also creating an immersive (and colorful!) brand experience. Here’s why Gay Pride Month is the best example of an experiential marketing activation we’ve ever seen.
Step Outside Your Box
One of the best parts of Pride as experiential marketing is that it isn’t product-centric. Some marketers may be scratching their heads at this, but creating experiential brand equity goes far beyond hands-on product demos in trendy booths.
And during COVID-19, brands have gotten extra creative. Jack Daniels threw an entire online cooking show hosted by drag queens that was fabulous and provided us all a whimsical escape from the quarantine blues. Not to mention it captured audience attention by standing out from the sea of bourbon barrel and gun smoke imagery typically associated with whiskey marketing
Let’s Get Emotional
Experiential marketing is supposed to evoke emotion, and Pride Month evokes all kinds of emotions! From the fun and whimsy of rainbow confetti to the bittersweet recognition of civil rights and societal progress, it’s hard not to get swept up in the emotional energy of Pride. From panels that combine serious stories with big laughs torainbow slides sponsored by Tinder that encourage you to “Slide into your senator’s DMs,” there is no shortage of feels during Pride month.
And that’s what separates a great experiential marketing campaign from a boring, traditional marketing effort that doesn’t engage the audience’s emotions. Last year, Smirnoff didn’t just make its social media rainbow for a few days, it threw a New York City-wide “Welcome Home” campaign that featured sponsored taxis, immersive experiences for passersby, and multiple pop-up gardens, parties, and makeovers that let anyone and everyone feel welcome and celebrated in NYC.
Show You Care
Immersive brand experiences separate the real ones from the committee-engineered marketing campaigns. We believe that experiential marketing is the best way you can let your brand’s heart shine through, and Pride is a heartfelt month!
Whether you’re celebrating Pride this year, want to gear up for next year, or are looking for inspiration on how to convey your brand’s sincere mission statement to the world, Pride campaigns are one of the best places to learn how to be radically honest and loving with your audience.
Your Audience is Powerful–Listen to Them!
The LGBT audience is powerful – they make up 4.5% of the general population, and a much larger percentage of creative industry positions. They aren’t afraid to speak up because they’ve been having hard conversations and seeking opportunities to be proud of who they are their entire lives. That makes Pride Month a great opportunity to engage with your audience by making your experiential campaign an experience for your brand, too. Attendees may want to have fun, but they also want to change the world.
Just like you want your experiential activation to have a lasting impact on your audience, your audience wants its voice to be heard year-round. This heartfelt article from Freddie George’s shares the history of Pride and helps you understand how to be a welcoming, community-oriented brand every month of the year.
If you want your audience to care about you even when you’re not throwing a party or running an ad campaign on their channels, you need to express your care for them, too.
Embrace the Celebration
Pride Month has been an immersive experience since long before experiential marketing was a category. The brave originators taught the world so much about how to welcome everyone and celebrate authentic selves while throwing an event that nobody could ever forget.
As Gay Pride has hit the mainstream, we encourage you to authentically engage and reflect your brand’s values with partnerships that make sense. Have fun, try something new, and learn from the visionaries who came before us. Listen to your audience, love them for who they are, create memorable experiences, and they will remember you.
Let’s Get Engaged
Ready to plan a Pride activation or a yearlong marketing strategy that learns from the treasure trove of Gay Pride creativity?
4 Ways Experiential Marketing Beats Traditional Marketing
While Super Bowl commercials still command six figures for thirty seconds, brands of all sizes are focusing more heavily on experiential marketing than ever before. Creating an emotional connection with consumers is not only more affordable than marquee traditional advertisements, the results are priceless.
Experiential marketing has numerous advantages over traditional marketing, and here are four ways that it’s better than ever.
1. CREATING MOMENTS THAT LAST
Advertising isn’t worth much if it doesn’t have a lasting impact on your target audience. Memorable moments create lasting brand relationships and evangelists and generate organic social shares, which live in people’s feeds differently than advertorial content. Experiential marketing gets to the root of the audience’s psyche through immersion and action. Consider these stats from OnSpot Social:
People generally remember…
2. POSITIVE BRAND ASSOCIATIONS
A brand association is what consumers think of or remember when they hear your brand’s name. Experiential marketing works because it invites your audience to do something memorable and create a positive brand association. An emotional connection to your brand may not be on the list of traditional ROI measurables, but it should be. Brand sentiment is rapidly becoming one of the leading ways to measure the success of a campaign.
3. DEVELOPING AND REPURPOSING CONTENT
The buzz generated by an experiential activation creates an amazing opportunity to reach an even larger audience beyond the attendees. Not only can content be shared on social by your brand and attendees, it can also be repurposed and distributed through different media channels after the experiential activation has taken place. Budweiser held atongue-in-cheek funeral for 3.2% beer in Utah after the Prohibition-era law was repealed, which led to a fun night in downtown Salt Lake City and content creation opportunities for an ongoing campaign marking the arrival of true “Bud Heavy” in Utah. Instead of a commercial shot in a studio setting, the campaign relied on imagery and footage captured during the experiential 3.2 funeral. Talk about getting more for your ad dollar!
4. REAL TIME INSIGHTS
There is a critical distinction in the age of social media–does your ad have engagement, or just reach? You can buy space in all the Newsfeeds in the world, but if you don’t engage your audience, it’s simply not an effective marketing strategy. Experiential marketing engages consumers in ways that go beyond the endless scroll of content and gives brands real-time insights into how consumers respond to your brand and content.
IKEA recently threw a series of in-store sleepovers and “after hours” sleep festivals that not only turned many shoppers’ dreams into reality (sleep in one of those comfy IKEA beds!? Yes, please), it gave the brand valuable insight into what products resonate most with consumers. What better way to know which beds are most in-demand than celebrating all things sleep at IKEA stores in memorable fashion?
When it comes to marketing, delivering experiences matters. Brands that can engage and delight consumers are more likely to be top of mind, create positive brand associations, and even gain priceless consumer insights that cannot be replicated by even the most detailed analytics tools on traditional interrupt ads. And if you want to throw a memorable activation, experience matters, too.
How to De-escalate Tension in Large Crowds: Advice from Music Festival Producers
Justin Moss, our Founder & CEO, has been producing music festivals for 20+ years, and it’s safe to say that he’s learned a lot about large crowds. Whether you are planning on attending a demonstration or supporting Black Lives Matter in another way, here’s what we would do if we could be right there with you:
First and foremost, come from a place of empathy, support, kindness, and love.
Keep calm and alert at all times.
Be aware of your surroundings – take note of possible exits, first aid tent, officers in uniform, etc.
Respect personal and private property.
Consider handing out free water/food – it improves the overall mood of the crowd.
Do not respond to taunts, threats, or agitation.
Understand the context of agitated behavior – you can try and address the source of the problem.
Maintain an even tone of voice and do not try to “out shout” aggressive individuals.
Maintain eye contact as a way for the agitated person to realize that everyone is human.
Allow angry persons a chance to “vent” their feelings verbally. Actively listen to the person while waiting for them to pause for a breath and then take advantage of the opening to guide them towards calmness.
Try to find common ground.
If de-escalation is not possible, get yourself and others to safety as quickly as possible. Keep calm, avoid running, and don’t turn your back to the situation until you are at a safe distance.
Our team is here to help. If you’re interested in chatting with one of our team members about managing crowds, events, or ideas for experiential marketing, just say hello!
Protest Packing Kit
Want to make a difference but not sure where to start? Here are a few resources where you can learn more:
American music is black music. In a recent interview with Latina, Bruno Mars breaks it down further. “When you say ‘black music,’” he begins, “understand that you are talking about rock, jazz, R&B, reggae, funk, doo-wop, hip-hop, and Motown.” According to Mars, “black music means everything” and we agree.
June happens to be African American Music Appreciation Month — a celebration created by Jimmy Carter in 1979. With nationwide protesting and our foot on the gas pedal to fight for equality, it only seems natural that we celebrate a few stars who paved the way for the last century.
Marian Anderson (1897 – 1993)
After facing consistent racial adversity through her early career, Marian Anderson performed at the Lincoln Memorial in 1939 to a crowd of 75,000 and a radio audience in the millions, which has been named a watershed moment in civil rights history. She then went on to become the first black person to perform at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City in 1955.Listen Here.
Sister Rosetta Tharp is widely known as “The Godmother of Rock & Roll”. She rose to popularity as the first recording artist to use heavy distortion on her electric guitar, coupled with gospel lyrics. She is cited as an influence to many early rock-and-roll musicians, including Little Richard, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, and Chuck Berry.Listen Here.
Ray Charles is widely regarded as the musician who combined soul and country to create a new sound of blues and R&B. Charles became one of the first black musicians to be granted full artistic control by a mainstream record company while he was with ABC. Charles is a 17-time Grammy Award winner among many other accomplishments. Listen Here.
Aretha Franklin, “The Queen of Soul”, will go down in history as a remarkable musician, as well as a key figure in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. Her hit song “Respect” served as an anthem for both the Civil Rights Movement and the Women’s Rights Movement. In 1987, she was the first female artist to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of fame. Listen Here.
Jimi Hendrix pioneered new music technologies and redefined the role of guitar in popular music. His unique sound, extraordinary technique, and staggering stage presence influenced many guitarists that came after including Stevie Ray Vaughan, Prince, and Joe Satriani. Listen Here.
James Brown is the most sampled artist of all time. Without him, there would be no hip-hop as we know it today. Brown is known as the creator of funk, and his rhythmic tracks have directly inspired rap artists from the 80’s to the present. Listen Here.
Stevie Wonder was a child prodigy – he signed with Motown records at 11 years old where he mastered the piano, harmonica, drums and bass. He was an early pioneer of electronic sound, which influenced pop, rhythm and blues, soul, funk, and rock. Since then, he’s had an abundance of influence in the civil rights movement in the United States and the abolishment of the Apartheid regime in South Africa. Listen Here.
An influencer with an eclectic wardrobe, Pharrell is a multi-faceted musician, producer, philanthropist and civil rights activist. He is known as a long-time supporter and advocate of all human issues including women’s rights, youth education, climate change, and racial equality and has invested millions of dollars in non-profits. His song “Happy” which says that all people have a right to the pursuit of happiness, became a “protest anthem” in countries like Ukraine, Tunisia, Moscow, and the Philippines.Listen Here.
When Beyonce dropped her sixth studio album Lemonade which featured songs like ‘Freedom’, it was hard not to feel the momentous shift in her career. If you want to know how she has spoken out about civil rights, look no further than her Super Bowl 50 performance. Bey released ‘Formation’ ahead of game day which featured powerful video clips then proceeded to make a statement during her halftime performance with references to the Black Lives Matter movement, Malcolm X and the Black Panthers. She continues to speak out publicly on all platforms as an advocate for equality and justice.Listen Here.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, just a few of our favorites. While this list shines a positive light on our progress as a society, there is still more work to be done. We will be taking the next several weeks to look inward to see where we can do more as individuals and as an agency with a voice. If you have suggestions for us, we are here to listen. Feel free to shoot us a note.
Want to join the conversation but not sure where to start? Here are a few resources where you can learn more:
Industry Leader Spotlight: An inside look at the minds behind the most extraordinary festivals around the world.
How did you get your start in the music festival industry?
Justin Moss! We had know each other for years (I tutored his wife in college), and he knew that I was looking to switch things up in my career. I was working in Logistics but really was interested in festivals and events. He recommended me for a job at a local production company and completely changed my life!
What advice would you give to someone trying to get their start in the industry?
Make sure you’re developing relevant skills and keeping an eye open for new opportunities – navigating this industry can be tough, and you need to be as prepared as possible. There’s a huge range of things to learn, but OSHA or FEMA certifications (available online!), CPR or other first aid, CAD, Adobe Creative Suite, database management, forklift/aerial lift certs are all helpful. The rest you have to learn the hard way – find people who are willing to teach you and listen, show up on time and have a good attitude.
Who’s your favorite artist you’ve worked with?
Foo Fighters – Dave Grohl is as great as everyone says he is. He has left served lunch in the catering tent before.
Favorite performance you’ve watched?
Probably Planes Mistaken for Stars in a little dive bar in Denver – it was a reunion show and every single person knew every single word and it was just a perfect night. Second place is maybe Beyonce at Coachella.
Who is on repeat for you right now?
Dermot Kennedy, the Mountain Goats and Abrams
Festival or concert accessory you can’t live without? 1. As a crew member 2. As an attendee
1. Good boots – if your feet are uncomfortable everything else will just suck. Buy a good pair – Red Wing is probably my favorite brand.
2. Tie between hand sanitizer and sunscreen.
Besides the music, what is the most interesting offering you’ve seen at festivals (i.e. yoga, talks, DJ lessons)?
Helicopter rides are always a fun one. Or backstage tattoos? Everyone is doing goat yoga now which is super cute and a lot less permanent than a tattoo.
Biggest failure/lesson you’ve learned?
Trust, but verify. And when I saw verify, I mean double check every last detail. Just because you watch your fence company start to pound poles to secure the fence line it doesn’t mean they finished – and trust me, this becomes relevant when it gets windy.
What is something that you think attendees might not know about planning a music festival?
I think most people are under the impression that music festivals are huge moneymakers. . . and wow do I wish that was the case. I definitely see why people would think that, with ticket prices being as high as they are, but straight off the top about half that money is going to the artists. Which makes sense, as that’s why we’re all there. Then comes all the unsexy but extremely important things like insurance, keeping police and medics on call, traffic control, bathrooms, fencing, power. . . and that’s all before you get to do anything fun like build a stage. It can take years for a festival to start making money, which is why there can be so much turnover.
What are you most excited about when it comes to the future of this industry?
This is an industry of incredibly creative, crafty people. They are endlessly adaptable so when it’s safe, I know we’re going to see some incredibly cool things that people have been busy working on.