22 June 2018 Awareness PR Musings Trends

Festivals & brands: the big experiential marketing opportunity

British Summer Time festival in full flow!

Festival season is officially underway, from popular music events such as The Great Escape and Download to foodie festivals like Taste London which have already taken centre-stage this year. With an increasing number of summer-time festivals happening, and the consumer appetite seems ever-growing, it got us thinking – does experiential marketing at festivals really work?

Festivals are a big deal. Thousands of people flock to a particular city, field, farm or park to make life-long memories, household brands are competing to get the coveted branding spot, and even clothing companies have sections dedicated to ‘festival chic’ attire!

Boohoo has a page dedicated to festival outfits on its website

In our latest blog we take you through the most notable experiential marketing techniques global brands are using to grab the attention of consumers.

Marketing where the money is

From budding social media platforms to alcohol brands and snack products to wearable technology companies, brands descend on festivals hoping to build positive associations with the public. And do you know what? This marketing strategy is working a treat.

Amazing views at the Corona Sunset Festival

Why does experiential marketing work so well at festivals? Because we are a nation of culture fiends – whether that be music, art or culinary delights. Brands have latched onto this behaviour trait and are using it as a platform to improve brand visibility and engagement. A great example of this association is Barclaycard’s British Summer Time festival, which takes place across various dates in London’s Hyde Park every year. The banking giant now has clear associations with music, securing some of the biggest names in pop to headline each summer. Corona have also kick started a global music festival series. Its Sunsets Festival is a global series of music events at some the world’s most iconic cities, beaches and mountains.

Taking the brand offline – experiencing a brand ‘IRL’

On a personal scale, another key part of brand’s marketing success at festivals is the ability to allow the public to interact with their product, service or values in the real world. There are three key ways this is achieved:

  1. Free stuff 

got2b festival hair inspiration

Everyone loves a freebie! From samples and tastings to free temporary tattoos, tote bags and foam fingers, a free gift is hard resist. Sandwich chain Subway can often be found at festivals offering tasters and got2b hair products have been known to set up free braiding studios at events. Enticing consumers with free stuff is a sure fire way to get brand engagement.


  1. Exclusivity

Exclusive access is definitely something that is in demand. Whether its access to a swanky secret bar, a chance to meet artists or chefs or the best view of the stage in the park, people love the VIP treatment. At festivals brands have the opportunity to offer potential new customers something a little special (perhaps in exchange for a marketing newsletter sign-up) or reward the loyalty of existing customers. Everyone is on the hunt to get the best deal, and festival special offers or experiences are part of that win for consumers.

  1. Experiences

    Innocent’s festival fun!

Experiencing something new or different has huge appeal and the same goes at festivals. From interactive games and competitions to photo booths and silent disco, offering an experience that differs from the expected will draw people in. Innocent’s Digital Detox can often be found at festivals, providing festival goers a relaxing retreat to soak in a hot tub – building on the brands association with wellness.

Festivals are about creating memories and brands are endeavouring to be part of that. For many growing brands, awareness is tantamount to sales so the opportunity to go out and build positive associations with consumers is invaluable.

The experiential marketing activity we see at festivals is giving brands the edge and ultimately people are engaging – they are sampling products, joining mailing lists, completing surveys and sharing branded images and videos on social media. Brands have cleverly embraced the festival trend and consumers can’t get enough of it – who knows what else we may see on the festival circuit this season but we can’t wait to find out, bring on the glittery space buns!!!

By Sara French, Cherish PR 

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