Summer festivals: activation takes centre stage
A couple of recent trips to rock music festivals set me thinking about the way brands connect with their sponsorship assets.
I’m not talking about social media – although that comes into it – but the relationship created with individuals.
With a 139,000 unique visitors, Rock Werchter is one of the biggest festivals in Europe . At this year’s festival, KBC Bank set up a ‘grasshopper’ rodeo, promising to plant a tree for everyone that rode it: an original idea with an appealing ‘green’ edge. Telecoms company Proximus chose free phone-charging – a bit predictable but guaranteed to go down well at a weekend event. But probably the best activation of all was the offer of free toothpaste and washing facilities from recruitment specialist Randstad: a practical idea providing obvious value to one of the company’s key audiences.
Ideas like these are part of a recent trend for imaginative and eco-friendly activation at festivals. For example, between them Orange and Vodafone have come up with T-shirts, wellies and brollies that charge mobile device, adding value to the visitor experience.
If you’re a car manufacturer and you sponsor an opera season, then placing your latest model outside the concert hall can make good sense. Audience members will enjoy the association with prestige brands, especially if they already own a similar model. However, that kind of corporate message may not resonate at ‘alternative’ events.
At Rock Werchter a major car manufacturer had indeed installed a gleaming new car on a podium: but with nothing to add value to the user experience, the exhibit was largely ignored.
In the competitive world of music festivals, the best activations add value in creative ways that relate directly to the visitor experience.