Festival Friday: The Value of Experiences

Across industries, the refrain echoes: Millennials value experiences more than goods. The numbers support this claim—JP Morgan reports that “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 found that 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 Festival in 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.

Under Armour Drone Drop

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 from CompareCards 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.