Sponsorships at Festivals Offer Huge Opportunity, Return


Festivals. You either love ‘em or hate ‘em. You either work next to Lollapalooza (as we at Magnani do) and loathe that part of year, or count down the days until next year’s Lolla approaches. But, no matter the proximity or interest in these festivals, they are a hot spot for sponsors and consumer brands alike.Red Bull Sponsorship

Sponsorships at festivals have officially hit an all-time high for 2014 and projections show this will continue to grow. More than an estimated $1.34 billion will be spent sponsoring music venues, festivals and tours this year, a 4.4 percent increase from 2013. With Coca-Cola Co., Anheuser-Busch and PepsiCo, Inc. coming in as the most active sponsors. (Source)

A lot of this growth is associated with companies wanting to be alongside the consumer experience, taking in all of the emotions, endorphins and excitement and positioning their brand within the 1-3 day emotional high.

Experience marketing

Experiential marketing is “one of the fastest growing forms of marketing. Some call it advertising, event promotions, or face-to-face marketing; but really it’s getting consumers to love your product.” (Source)

The most fascinating, enticing and creative types of sponsorship are the kind when a company can get the user to interact with their brand onsite. This goes beyond drinking a Bud Light or carrying around an unrelated, Geico Insurance backpack. At Bonnaroo, for instance, Garnier served up hair-washing stations. Totally brilliant. These sponsorships have proven successful and engaging, and continue well beyond the 3-day set of concerts.

Companies pine for the oh-so-envious position of actually purchasing the name of a stage. Ensuring your eyes are on their name and logo in concert schedules, or you’re face-to-face with it while screaming your head off for Phantogram’s Sarah Barthel in the front row.

Red Bull’s “live stream” sponsorship of festivals and sporting events, have become one of the most successful examples of a company taking over an entire segment, service or feature. They’ve even branded this new sector as “Red Bull TV” and have a website dedicated to their streaming videos. So, not only do we now appreciate their streaming, we may even expect it at the country’s biggest events. I know my husband and I enjoyed the Red Bull Lollapalooza live stream from the comfort of our Logan Square apartment.

Jump on it

Sponsoring opportunities are even present near a festival. Of course the festival organizers don’t love that, but some take their opportunities nearby at other events, restaurants and after parties. General Motors sponsored a celebrity-studded pool party near Coachella, where guests had the chance to ride in a Corvette Stingray on a slalom course.

Brands, if thinking creatively, have an almost endless list of promotional locations and channels. Hotel keys, transportation, drink stations, sunglasses, temporary tattoos (for the less clothed attendees), smartphone apps, the list goes on. How to creatively connect your brand to the user is the interesting challenge.

Worth the investment?

Opportunity is everywhere to invest in this type of marketing, but is it worth it? Would you be able to invest the right amount or target the right audience to receive optimal ROI?

With corporate sponsorships accounting for as much as 30 percent of total music-festival revenue, and only continuing to grow, clearly companies, organizations and associations are doing something right and coming back for more, each year. I can’t wait to see what the next wave of sponsors do to keep us talking about their brand, grabbing their products off of shelves years later while reminiscing about the good-ol days festival hopping.

Infographic: http://www.billboard.com/biz/articles/news/branding/1561337/festival-sponsorship-spending-projected-to-set-record-in-2013


Magnani is an experience design and strategy firm that crafts transformational digital experiences to delight users and deliver sustainable competitive market advantages for our clients.


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