Coachella 2016: Best Brand Concepts Push Digital Spin
The annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California, continues to be one of the most popular transient stages for brand promotions and experiences. Spread over two weekends (April 15-17 and 22-24), the phenomenon attracts almost 200,000 revellers from around the world – presenting a ripe hunting ground for fashion and lifestyle brands. We track the best initiatives of 2016.
- H&M Returns With Interactive Fashion Tent: Swedish fast-fashion retailer H&M upheld its sponsorship of the event for the seventh consecutive year with a second festival-inspired collection, H&M Loves Coachella. It also hosted a pop-up shop dubbed Desert Vibes in a 40 x 80 sq ft air-conditioned tent, featuring iPads for browsing/buying and an interactive digital photo-booth room. Festival-goers are immersed in a 360-degree desert scene complete with green-screen backdrop, allowing them to film three five-second clips against the changing wild, elemental landscapes, including deserts and sandstorms. The resulting 15-second mini video is ideal for Instagram.
See the Nike Lab project in Smart Stores: Connected Flagships for a similar example.
- Pre-Event Catwalk Commerce – Alice + Olivia x Neiman Marcus: Two days before the festival’s official start, New York-based womenswear brand Alice + Olivia hosted a See Now, Buy Now runway show in partnership with US department store chain Neiman Marcus. Featuring a capsule collection inspired by iconic American rock band the Grateful Dead, the show took place at the NeueHouse members-only space in LA, but was also live-streamed on both the brand and retailer’s social media channels. Post-show, key pieces were made instantly available to buy online and at Neiman Marcus Beverly Hills.
For more on direct-to-consumer catwalk commerce, see A/W 16/17 Catwalk Communications: Digital Innovations.
- Insta-Satisfaction – Sonic Shakes, Geo-Delivered: US fast-food chain Sonic Drive-In debuted a range of square milkshakes to fit Instagram’s picture format. The premium Creamery flavours were created for the event in collaboration with Canadian chef Christine Flynn. Available exclusively via Instagram’s ‘Shop Now’ geo-targeted sponsored ads, visitors who ‘tapped to buy’ had the drinks delivered directly to them on-site by a Sonic staffer, thanks to the app’s locative technology. The shakes were available for one day only (April 16).
- Speedy Delivery – Revolve x Postmates: US fashion e-tailer Revolve partnered with San Francisco-based mobile courier service Postmates to deliver instant access to festival wear during the opening weekend. Looks from Revolve’s new collection, as seen on style bloggers at the event including Sincerely Jules and Song of Style, are being posted on the brand’s Snapchat account – with the aim of channelling fans to purchase items via the app and its e-commerce site (as yet, there is no facility to buy direct via Snapchat). Success is being measured by tracking sales spikes after each posting. Available in Palm Springs, Orange County, San Francisco, New York and Dallas, items ordered arrive in less than 60 minutes – trumping the same-day delivery pledge of last year's event.
- Location-Based Delights – American Express Promo: iBeacon technology was first introduced to Coachella in 2014, giving fans app-enabled directions and updates on promotions. For 2016, it’s working with sponsor American Express to offer Surprise & Delight packages, devised to “enhance users’ festival experience” based on their location. Surprises include a free Ferris wheel ride while waiting in line to pay, or the chance to meet a performer they’re watching. To activate the promotion, American Express members simply link their credit card to the Coachella mobile app.
- Digital Wallets Debut: This year’s festival also marks the first incorporation of ApplePay. Square, Coachella’s official point-of-sale system, will include a new contactless chip device that is compatible with Android, Samsung and iOS devices, allowing seamless mobile transactions on-site.
See also Digital Wallets: Easier Payments.