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.
Festival Fridays: Industry Leader Spotlight
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.
Health & Safety Event Precautions
How challenger beer, wine and spirits brands can use Cinco de Mayo to compete with the big brands
Cinco de Mayo is one of America’s favorite holidays for celebrating all things alcohol. Creative social and experiential campaigns can level the playing field between upstart challenger brands and the much larger established brands in the space, especially during unique holidays like Cinco de Mayo. With mainstay brand Corona suffering during the unfortunately-named COVID-19 outbreak, there’s never been a better time for some lighthearted underdog marketing.
Cazadores Tequila is an expert atusing the Mexican holiday calendarto create expanded campaign and experiential opportunities. By starting summer on Cinco de Mayo, the brand creates a “summer mindset” (aka margarita time!) over a month earlier than the traditional start of the season. “This calendar frames our celebrations and we like to say you get an extra 36 days of summer when you celebrate it the Mexican way,” says Paul McDonnell, brand director at Cazadores.
State of the industry
The beer, wine and spirits industry is evolving. There is a consumer trend toward premiumization in spirits and a shift toward higher-quality beers, which has stimulated growth among craft brewers. Eugene Kashper, owner of Pabst Brewing Company, believes the beer category will continue to shift away from mainstream lagers and be dominated by super-premium, craft, cider, flavored malt beverages and import beers — categories that will make up 70 percent of sales by 2025 by his projections.
For years, Goliaths such as Anheuser-Busch InBev, Constellation Brands, and Brown-Forman have led the industry leveraging their massive advertising budgets. But, with consumer palettes continuing to change, there’s now an opportunity for challenger beer, wine, and spirits brands to take market share.
Get creative, not expensive
To compete with the industry giants, challenger brands must outthink rather than outspend them. The success of a challenger brand’s marketing is about creating passion through advocacy and activation, not ad spend.
Beer, wine, and spirits brands are increasingly turning to experiential marketing to make a deeper connection with consumers. Once an afterthought to traditional advertising, experiences are now a cornerstone of many marketing plans. Anheuser-Busch knows the value of experiences and works with The Pineapple Agency year-round to create unique branded experiences that keep the mainstream beverage brand relevant in traditionally craft-leaning demographics.
In an increasingly digital world, experiential activations provide consumers a full sensory experience including the opportunity to taste and play with brands — in person. Live, face-to-face, events help brands gain visibility, entertain and educate. These activations create an emotional connection to a brand that cannot be duplicated with mass advertising.
Experiences allow consumers to develop a personal connection with their favorite beer, wine and spirits brands. They take to social media as an outlet to express their knowledge and passion. This drives word-of-mouth, which Millennials rank as the number one influencer in their purchasing decisions about packaged goods.
84% of consumers say that they either completely or somewhat trust recommendations from family, colleagues, and friends about products and services – which makes these recommendations the highest ranked source for trustworthiness according to Nielsen.
With the right experiential strategy and execution, brands of all sizes can use events to develop brand advocates and leverage social media for unprecedented reach. Experiential is the fire and social media is the fuel that will allow challenger brands to unseat the incumbents. All it takes is one unique experience and a Retweet from the right person to take your brand viral, whether it’s on Cinco de Mayo or any given Sunday.
Where should challenger brands start?With the right experiential strategy and execution, brands of all sizes can use events to develop brand advocates and leverage social media for unprecedented reach. Experiential is the fire and social media is the fuel that will allow challenger brands to unseat the incumbents. All it takes is one unique experience and a Retweet from the right person to take your brand viral, whether it’s on Cinco de Mayo or any given Sunday.
Festival Friday: The Value of Experiences
Across industries, the refrain echoes: Millennials value experiences more than goods. The numbers support this claim—JP Morgan reportsthat “they pay more for travel, entertainment, and dining than their parents and grandparents do.” Far from the worn-out tropes about avocado toast, the Millennial cohort is quickly becoming the predominant generation for buying power. And festivals remain a hot ticket item for experience-collecting Millennials, even as their average age and budgets increase.
Experiences make all people happy, and Millennials represent the first generation in modern times that is not projected to have a material increase in economic prosperity relative to their predecessors. That has led the generation to embrace and redefine the idea of what makes a life rich, leading to a wholesale shift in spending habits. This change in values is closely correlated with the rise of apps and services that allow users to share rides, apartments, and many other commodities that used to require ownership. Ownership is less popular than ever, while shareable experiences are valued at all-time highs. Forbes recently wrote, “Why do millennials value experiences over things? Because it makes them happy. And they aren’t wrong—studies have foundthat spending money on experiences brings more lasting joy than spending money on things. Experiences are also more shareable, which is important to younger generations.”
Rise of the experience economy.
The experience economy has radically redefined the relative value of experiences in relationship to long standing economic indicators. Millennials buy homes later and less often than their parents and are far more willing to spend money on experiences. As a result, experiences speak more to the Millennial consumer than traditional aspirational advertising or milestones.
The Pineapple Agency knows the value of a shareable experience, which is why we have created unforgettable moments like the Under Armour Drone Drop in San Francisco and Hansen’s Fresh Coat Mural Festivalin downtown LA. It’s easy to assign a price to a banner ad or television commercial, but the value of people choosing to spend their time and share their experiences on social media is truly priceless. By delivering limited-edition Steph Curry sneakers from drones in San Francisco, The Pineapple Agency helped Under Armour generate 16 million social media impressions and 119 million media impressions by giving away 30 pairs of sneakers. Those metrics are unheard of in a pre-experience economy marketing landscape.
Festivals are the epitome of experience.
In the experience economy, festivals rank at the top of the ladder. Starting with music festivals like EDC, Coachella and Bonnaroo which quickly ignited a global boom in music festivals, we have now seen a boom in immersive multiformat festivals that include everything from yoga classes to cooking workshops to fire performances. Music festivals combine the huge reach of beloved musicians with all-day or weekend-long attendance, which creates a need for everything from food to places to rest, relax, and engage in between the concerts. The HP Antarctic Dome at Coachella is an immersive theater that combines radical infotainment with a much-needed air conditioned respite from the desert sun. In a setting where a place to sit and cool off is worth its weight in gold, suddenly a branded experience feels more like a gift than an interrupt advertisement.
Music festivals matter to Millennials, and instead of ridiculing the shift in values across demographics, we should spend time understanding the sea of change in how a vibrant life is defined. Business Insider reports, “nearly one-third (32%) of millennials who attended a music festival in the past year took on debt to do so, a new report fromCompareCards by Lending Tree found.” Viewing experiences as valuable as home or automobile ownership is a way of life for many Millennials, which means that brands can create high engagement levels by adding value to festivals they are already attending or providing their own immersive experiences.
Music festivals are cultural currency.
Music festivals are ingrained in modern culture. Coachella is a household name, and many of its competitors are, too. Not only does this mean that a branded experience at Coachella is the new “Super Bowl ad,” it also means that an entire cohort is primed to highly value unique experiences. Whether your brand is looking to pull off an unforgettable installation at EDC Las Vegas or wants to create its own experience to support a new campaign, The Pineapple Agency knows that you can’t put a price on a memorable experience. Thankfully, we know how to deliver high value experiences.
What Makes (and Breaks) Experiential Marketing Campaigns [Updated]
A couple of years ago we posted our first take on What Makes (and Breaks) Experiential Marketing Campaigns. All of that wisdom is still relevant, and now we’ve been thinking about what experiences and events might look like post-pandemic. We’ve also spent two more years growing and evolving with the industry, so here are our updated thoughts on “What Makes (and Breaks) Experiential Marketing Campaigns.”
This is the most important element of an experiential marketing activation. You can design, budget, and execute the most engaging activation in the world, but if the location is wrong, your impact will be limited. The right site for your activation not only reinforces an experience, it maximizes the potential interactions you receive. The importance of location isn’t focused solely on the volume of people, either. It also needs to be relevant to the audience you want to reach.
And in the post-COVID world, location will matter in new ways. Spatial planning and allocating extra room for people to spread out is important for social distancing compliance and ensuring visitor comfort. Make sure the space feels open, the pathways are spacious and accessible, and signage is visible and plentiful. The world is eager to return to communal experiences, and yet people will be leery of crowds for years to come.
Safety measures and messaging
Health and safety measures have always been a consideration but how safety measures are presented and implemented will mean everything in a post-pandemic world. From abundant hand sanitizing stations, to dedicated staff cleaning high-touch surfaces to HEPA filters and air purification, you’ll want to mention the health and safety considerations of your event before, during, and after opening day.
In addition to wayfinding and branding, your event signage will need to promote good hygiene, social distancing, and health guidance without being intimidating. It may be necessary to explain new policies and restrictions in detail. People will notice the effort your brand puts into a fully detailed health and safety plan that includes smart practices like virtual queuing, safety checks or screenings, and touchless services. Use this as an advantage.
Focus on your core audience
Desire for events will be high but people will be apprehensive about crowds. Your brand’s return to experiential after the all-clear is the perfect time to focus on intimate events with a smaller number of people, whether that’s VIPs or those farther down your funnel. They will appreciate the feeling of being a part of the core community and the safety in lower numbers.
Following stay-at-home orders, brands and marketers can get ahead of the game by reaching audiences through intimacy, personal connection, and exclusivity. Hosting activations for smaller groups will also allow for reduced travel risk and crowd management risk.
After quarantine, audiences will experience a new round of “first impressions” with many brands and experiences, which marks a unique opportunity for brands to get a second chance at first impressions. A high quality build with unique, memorable features and shareable moments will make a lasting impression and capture the imagination of visitors hungry for entertainment.
This Nike+ Run Club experience created a fully immersive experience that emulated being inside of the Tron movie franchise, all while providing professional coaching and tech demos that built strong relationships with consumers.
While your brand may not need to go as far as dropping treadmills in Times Square, you should pay close attention to the level of detail and quality of materials used in your experience. Your guests might not remember all of the details at your event but they will definitely remember how they felt during the experience.
Time and patience
As we begin transitioning towards the future, now is the time to think, rethink, and plan your next activation. Nothing is moving as quickly as we would like, and while this may feel frustrating, it also creates ample opportunity to plan and design stunning experiences. Concerts and sporting events have been cancelled and indefinitely postponed, so now is not the time to set an event date. Instead, use this time to regroup, refine your messaging, and get creative. Consumers are eager to engage, but also nervous to do so. Brands are ready to return to “normalcy” but know that will take time. Patience and time management is critical right now because when we get the all-clear, experiences will be bigger, bolder, and more badass than ever before.
Never Stop Dreaming
We are all in this uncertainty together. When we are free to plan and execute experiences again, it’s going to be an epic (and safe!) reunion for all experiential marketers and friends. By planning ahead, brands can position themselves well for future experiential marketing campaigns. If you can dream it, Pineapple can make it happen. And while we’re no strangers to making things happen on a tight timeline, having a plan in place will let your brand be one of the first to make a positive impression on consumers when the time is right.