April 13, 2018
Luxury brands including BMW and Swarovski are embracing the music festival scene by aligning with the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.
For two weekends, the Empire Polo Club in Indio, CA will turn into a cultural playground as consumers and celebrities gather for live performances and parties. Coachella is one of the biggest music festivals around the globe, and it has become an appealing brand for marketing affiliations.
"Coachella and other like events may seem like an odd pairing for luxury brands, but in reality, they afford a huge opportunity for social marketing and audience development among a growing demographic of luxury consumers," said Taylor Rains, managing partner at Flugel Consulting, Charleston, SC.
"Millennials, more so than any other buying market, are inclined to purchase items of aspiration - that is to say, something out of their budget range," he said. "This makes them an extremely desirable target for luxury marketers looking to build a lifetime customer with a major value.
"In addition, millennials are far more likely to purchase an item they see used on social media by friends or an influencer they respect. Those two facts combined make Coachella a perfect place for luxury brands to position themselves, as the event is largely attended by millennials and is one of the most visible events on social media each year."
Last year, Coachella producer Goldenvoice raised the number of tickets available for each weekend to 125,000. The highly sought-after festival typically sells out in hours after ticket sales go live.
With Coachella 2018 coming up from April 13-15 and 20-22, luxury brands are helping consumers prepare to be seen.
Swarovski shared jewelry styling tips modeled by influencer and brand ambassador Chiara Ferragni.
Meanwhile, Bloomingdale’s invited consumers to “be [their] fest self,” whether their personal style leans more “flower crown queen” or “biker babe.”
Lancôme suggested festival goers don its waterproof Monsieur Big mascara to avoid a makeup meltdown in the desert heat.
RT if you are attending Coachella! Don't forget to bring your Waterproof best friend with you! Monsieur Big Waterproof is smudgeproof, waterproof, AND sweatproof! ☔️ #Coachella2018 @TaylorMarieHill pic.twitter.com/cqhm675lKO
— Lancôme USA (@LancomeUSA) March 15, 2018
For those who might be staying closer to home, Net-A-Porter offered ideas for achieving “California cool” with or without a ticket to Coachella.
In addition to prepping consumers’ wardrobes, a number of travel brands are offering transportation solutions to help attendees beat traffic.
Helicopter charter Blade is arranging flights from Los Angeles to the desert and back from April 12 through April 30.
JetSuiteX is offering an affordable semi-private jet experience between Burbank and Coachella Valley on a 30-seater E-135 plane. Priced at $199, the flights will get consumers to the festival on April 13 and 20, with return flights on the Sundays.
"JetSuiteX is excited to expand our April weekend pop up service this year with even more flights to the Coachella Valley this coming April," said Alex Wilcox, CEO of JetSuiteX, in a statement. "Last year's trips were met with such excitement that we expanded it for 2018, adding additional flights over two spring weekends.
"These pop up flights allow us to bring the joys of semi-private travel to even more people who value their time and don't want to spend it in traffic," he said.
JetSmarter is also offering its members exclusive flights. The company additionally has a VIP three-day pass for week one that includes ground transportation to the festival, on-flight drinks and cocktails at the Absolut tent.
Rather than physically moving consumers to the festival, BMW is documenting the journey of one of Coachella’s performers. The #RoadToCoachella social effort follows the trip of a BMW i3 and i8 that were designed by Portugal. The Man band member John Gourley.
All different paths become one inspiration on the #RoadtoCoachella with the all-new #BMWi3s and the #BMWi8 Coupé . @BMWi @Coachella #BMW __________ BMW i8 Coupé: energy consumption (combined): 11.9 kWh/100 km. Fuel consumption (combined): 2.1 l/100 km, CO2 emissions (combined): 49 g/km. Fuel consumption is determined in accordance with the ECE driving cycle (93/116/EC), made up of approximately one-third urban traffic and two-thirds extra-urban driving (based on the distance covered). BMW i3s (94 Ah): energy consumption (combined): 14.3 kWh/100 km, CO2 emissions in g/km (combined) and Fuel consumption in l/100 km (combined): 0. Further information about the official fuel consumption and the official specific CO2 emissions for new passenger automobiles can be found in the 'New Passenger Vehicle Fuel Consumption and CO2 Emission Guidelines', which are available free of charge at all sales outlets and from DAT Deutsche Automobil Treuhand GmbH, Hellmuth-Hirth-Str. 1, 73760 Ostfildern, Germany and on http://www.dat.de/angebote/verlagsprodukte/leitfaden-kraftstoffverbrauch.html
BMW i, Sephora and Marriott are among the sponsors of Coachella this year.
Sephora will be hosting a tent with services such as hairstyling and makeup touchups. Consumers can also test out a new hair color with DIY temporary dyes.
Marriott's air conditioned tent will offer charging stations and refreshments, with members of its loyalty program gaining access to free WiFi an other amenities.
"It's about borrowing authenticity," said Jasmine Bina, president of Concept Bureau, Santa Monica, CA. "Coachella is — or perhaps used to be — where likeminded individuals gathered around a belief of music, community and togetherness. That's a very lucrative brand to be associated with.
"Since its inception it's become far more commercialized, but the belief persists," she said. "Brands, if they do it the right way, can leverage some of that value for themselves by being a part of the event.
"Luxury brands have jumped on the bandwagon because they, too, are working to resonate on a more authentic level with their audiences."
Feting festival season
In addition to activations on-site, a number of brands are throwing parties for the occasion.
Ahead of Coachella, Dior took advantage of the celebrities and VIPs descending on California’s desert by throwing a party for its Sauvage scent. The invite-only affair took place at the Pioneertown Motel nearby to Joshua Tree National Park, the setting of the Johnny Depp-fronted Sauvage campaign (see story).
Also getting in on the pre-festival festivities is YSL Beauty, which hosted a private show by Halsey on April 12.
On April 14, Furla will invite VIPs to its beach house for treats and a DJ set by Hannah Bronfman. Moschino is also getting in on the action with a private party that night.
Social media is an important component of Coachella placements, something brands have taken to heart with activations.
Last year, Marriott International’s Moxy brand made over eight of Coachella’s glamping Safari tents, allowing influencers and Marriott Rewards members to stay in them to encourage social content. These hotel room-style accommodations were modeled after various Marriott hotel brands, including the upscale Le Méridien, Autograph Collection and Tribute Portfolio.
Marriott's glamping activation. Image credit: Marriott
Coachella acts as the unofficial start to festival season, opening the door for further luxury brand activations.
French department store chain Galeries Lafayette is ushering in festival season with an immersive celebration of music in all forms.
Galeries Lafayette’s “Music Machines” campaign spans pop-ups, live concerts, workshops and a contest, engaging consumers through sights, sounds and experiences. Bricks-and-mortar retail is increasingly leveraging experiences that go beyond the commercial to surprise and delight shoppers (see story).
"While targeting a younger market through experiential marketing strategies at events like Coachella presents a huge opportunity for luxury brands, there are also some risks that need to be considered and appropriately navigated," Flugel Consulting's Mr. Rains said.
"The aspirational market at these events is typically not the core audience for these brands," he said. "As such, they need to make sure not to alienate their primary market by targeting an ancillary one.
"There's also the matter of brand perception and representation, something especially difficult to control on social and at events. Brands need to monitor the conversation tightly to make sure that they are being represented in a way that's consistent with their principles."