Take advantage of the crowds drawn to summer festivals to boost your brand awareness or sales activation. Out-of-home media can support these campaign efforts by driving a relevant message in proximity to these events. Summer festival activations can take on many shapes and sizes. Here are a few for you to consider.

1. Dominate with mobile billboards.

music festival activation
To promote the show American Gods, Starz sent a mobile billboard to Coachella.

Your other out-of-home placements cannnot get up-close and personal with festival attendees as they enter/exit the festival grounds. That’s one benefit of using a mobile billboard. It goes anywhere, anytime…including supporting your summer festival activations. It’s eye-level, grabs attention and offers large branding real estate.

Your mobile billboard’s creative can feature relevant messaging geared toward the festival. First and foremost, make sure the message resonates and aligns with the festival audience. Base the creative on the festival type: arts, fitness, film, food, beer/wine, music, agriculture or carnival. Festivals are fun, but to activate at one means your brand also jives with the overall event and resonates with the audience.

For larger festivals, consider a domineering effect with multiple mobile billboard units. This way, you can offer coverage at the various parking areas and near each entrance.

2. Set up a sampling tent on-site.

summer festival activations
King’s Hawaiian’s summer festival activations included sampling tents.

Become part of the festival! By getting a permitted site within the festival, you can connect and engage with your audience first-hand. Brand ambassadors can be hired and trained to work your festival circuit. This allows you to scale regardless of the bandwidth of your own internal resources.

Decide which markets and festivals are key to your brand, and create a strategic tour schedule. This is the most cost-effective way to reach many festival goers without needing to duplicate your festival assets.

At the festival, you can sample products or pass out swag. The most important factor, though, is having relevant conversations one-to-one with festival attendees.

3. Bring a roadshow to the festival grounds.

summer festival activations
A pharmaceutical brand added community festival stops to their 3-month mobile tour. They also visited grocery stores, physician offices, medical conventions and county fairs.

Are you already visiting clients or popping up within the community? Leverage your marketing assets for additional outreach at festivals. Working in festival or fair dates can expand your existing roadshow reach and engage different audiences. Maybe your message is B2B during the week and B2C over the weekend.

Choosing the right branded vehicle for your roadshow is key. You need to be able to fit into permitted spaces along the way, while also having the room for all of your logistics. This includes product inventory, swag and other campaign assets. Warehousing at select locations along the route is an option, but you’ll need a vehicle that can access your storage locations easily. You also want to consider fuel efficiency, staffing transport and maintenance requirements. Your roadshow vehicle may feature a serving window, room for guests to enter for an activity or have a build-out photo backdrop. It should serve your customized campaign needs.

Your summer festival activations can certainly integrate your other marketing campaigns. After all, you want to reap the biggest bang for your buck.

4. Think experientially.

marketing at festivals
Visit Dallas activated at the International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta with a large photo prop, Dallas cheerleaders, prize wheel and autograph signings by popular Dallas rodeo riders.

A tent not your thing? A summer festival activation can be bigger, badder and bolder. There’s no limit to the creativity of your summer festival branding.

Coachella, SXSW and Maker Faire, as examples, are huge cultural festivals that draw tens of thousands of attendees. They have become hot spots for brands trying to connect a bit differently to these often younger audiences.

In this era of experiential marketing, anything goes. Brands can takeover local bars or eateries to create their own. They host VIP parties or set up exclusive lounge areas. Or, they provide adventure-style experiences that are truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.

Put your creative thinkers to the test to design a festival marketing activation that aligns with your brand. Yet don’t be afraid to push your marketing out of its comfort zone.

5. Employ brand ambassadors outside the festival gates.

summer festival activations
Xfinity used guerrilla marketing tactics to engage festival goers.

By foot, Segway or sampling bike, brand ambassadors can infiltrate the festival area to intercept and interact one-to-one with attendees. They can encourage social media sharing or collect lead generation data. They can distribute swag, pass out coupons or otherwise delight your audience. This offers a deeper level of engagement than pure branding and can encourage sales activation.

While there is some risk not knowing if the team will be allowed inside the gates, this is a low-cost option that requires no permitting fees. The field marketing team will get as close to the festival as possible – sometimes inside the gates – and create excitement for attendees. They can distribute swag, samples or coupons, and they will follow the advertiser’s talking points when engaging the audience.

6. Integrate with mobile display advertising.

festival marketing
Supercuts served mobile display ads to CMA Festival attendees, while also dominating with a mobile billboard.

Whatever summer festival activation you pursue, you should include a digital play in your mix. By geofencing the festival grounds, you can serve ads in real-time to those people in attendance who are also using their mobile devices. When they see the out-of-home media or talk to a brand ambassador, then are served a mobile ad, they’ll be more likely to click. The integration builds familiarity and frequency, along with credibility, so the audience becomes more engaged with the digital messaging.

Afterward, you can continue to retarget this festival audience with relevant content based on the festival type.

While the out-of-home media boosts awareness, the mobile display ad provides a point-of-conversion. A click can drive immediate redemption or content consumption. For brands with brick and mortar locations, you can also measure foot traffic with verified walk-ins. Reporting post-campaign will be robust to provide data to your attribution model.

If you’re looking for turnkey campaign support for your summer festival activations, get in touch.