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Coachella and Experiential Marketing

Each year, Coachella is a critical season for brands, marketers, and influencers alike. Since Coachella’s inception as a music festival meant to showcase indie and alternative artists, its focus has expanded to include culture, fashion, and technology – and at the crossroads of all of this is experiential marketing. Here are some of the most interesting brand activations from this year’s lineup.

 

Revolve Festival

E-tailer Revolve has been hosting its own mini-festival alongside Coachella for the past 7 years and is a massive event for influencers and celebrities from all over. Revolve Festival, which basically functions as its own scaled-down Coachella, has its own musical acts, its own food and drinks, and – of course – its own brand activations too.

This year’s festivities took place about 30 minutes from the Coachella campgrounds and boasted a star-studded lineup of musical acts including T-Pain, Ludacris, Sean Paul, the Ying Yang Twins, Nina Sky, Siobhan Bell and Kim Lee. Revolve Fest also hosted activities besides music and dancing, such as a photobooth sponsored by Hailey Bieber’s Rhode, a “shoot a hoop” competition hosted by P.F. Flyers (winner received a brand new pair of shoes), and pop ups from Sunglasses retailer Quay Australia and sun care brand Supergoop!

 

Nylon’s Cocoon

NYLON House invited guests to celebrate their 25th anniversary with a “metamorphosis”2 theme for this year’s Coachella activation. There were four illuminated domes, each decorated in beautiful butterfly cut-outs and housing unique experiences. Among them were Kate Spade New York’s floral infinity room photo op, Rémy Martin’s VIP XO Lounge for dancing and cocktails, e.l.f. Cosmetics’ Dew Dome and göt2b’s Remix Styling Hub for hair and makeup touch-ups, Banter by Piercing Pagoda’s bling bar for free ear piercings, and so much more.

 

Neutrogena Skin’s Vitals Experience

As one of Coachella’s official sponsors, Neutrogena set up an educational activation booth meant to teach attendees about their skin’s vitals. After walking through some brightly colored interactive rooms that represented each layer of the skin, concert-goers could consult with Neutrogena’s SkinU scientists about the importance of skincare and learn the best ways to improve their skin’s health using the brand’s Skin360 app.

With Melanoma Awareness Month in May, Neutrogena also had free sunscreen stations “stocked with Neutrogena Beach Defense SPF 50”3 available around the campgrounds to make sure guests were sufficiently protected from the sun while enjoying the festival (important and necessary).

 

Camp Poosh

Poosh, Kourtney Kardashian’s lifestyle site, returned to Coachella with the quintessential summer camp experience. “There was dancing; gifting; delicious food and yummy drinks; performances by DJ Pee Wee (aka Anderson Paak), Travis Bennett (aka Yung Taco), and Carter Cruise; and so much more.”4 Other activities on Poosh campgrounds featured Sis Kiss with customizable, permanent jewelry and Wella Professionals and Lemonhead LA with hair and makeup touch-ups, as well as Barker Canna Co. (Travis Barker’s cannabis paraphernalia), 818 Tequila (Kendall Jenner’s brand), and Sprinter vodka sodas (Kylie’s latest endeavor).5  Camp Poosh was truly a family endeavor!

There was also a shopping station, sponsored by Erewhon, where attendees could stock up on LA’s notoriously healthy (read: expensive) groceries like cashew milk, lion’s mane supplements, and kombucha.

 

Pinterest Manifest Station

In Pinterest’s bid to target the Coachella Gen Z audience, they dreamed up the Manifest Station: a place where concert-goers could transform into their ideal, and most aesthetic, selves. Expert stylists and makeup artists embellished visitors’ Coachella-fest looks to match viral fashion trends like “eclectic grandpa,” “2014-core,” and “dark feminine.”6

It’s no surprise that Pinterest’s brand experience was such a hit with the younger audience festival attendees – 40% of their users are Gen Z. With the booth’s dreamy aesthetic, interactive concept, and copious amount of photo ops,7 it’s clear they’ve got their finger on the pulse.

 

818 Tequila Outpost

818 Tequila (Kendall Jenner’s tequila brand) returned to Coachella once again with an Old West-style pop up to match the brand’s cowboy appeal.8 The activation featured a full-service saloon with complimentary 818 Tequila cocktails, Sprinter Vodka Soda, Olipop, and Chamberlain Coffee, along with other non-alcoholic festival essentials. Other shops in the pioneer-style “town” included Bumble, as a cowboy hat customization station; Gopuff, as a provisions shop full of snacks; Anastasia Beverly Hills as a makeup touch-up station; and Tezza, for a custom photo moment.9

As someone who’s still relatively new to the advertising space, it does feel like Coachella has become less about the music and more about the influencers and brands (especially since the A-listing celebrities are all pulling up a bit more lowkey each year, but that’s for a separate blog post).10 But maybe that’s selection bias! The heart of the festival is still about listening to new artists from around the world and enjoying music with your friends – it’s just that us marketing professionals now have the yearly Influencer Olympics to look forward to as well!

 

Sources

1. https://www.eventmarketer.com/article/coachella-2024-experiential-marketing/

2. https://www.happi.com/contents/view_breaking-news/2024-04-22/neutrogena-plants-sunscreen-activations-at-coachel/

3. https://poosh.com/camp-poosh-2024/

4. https://www.elitedaily.com/lifestyle/kourtney-kardashian-camp-poosh-2024-photos-gift-bag

5. https://newsroom.pinterest.com/news/pinterest-x-coachella-2024-top-festival-trends-and-celebrity-stylists-board-drop/

6. https://www.linkedin.com/posts/pinterest_take-a-look-inside-the-pinterest-manifest-activity-7185681139267706881-qzMN/

7. https://workingnotworking.com/projects/342051-818-tequila-at-coachella

8. https://www.bizbash.com/production-strategy/experiential-marketing-activations-sponsorships/media-gallery/22893194/top-events-and-brand-activations-from-coachella-2024

9. https://www.tiktok.com/t/ZTLu2rYNo/

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