Why Visa, Diageo and Volkswagen back Splendour

Josh McDonnell
By Josh McDonnell | 16 August 2018

This year's Splendour in the Grass was one of its most successful to date, with tickets selling out in 21 minutes and a record 35,000 music goers pouring through the gates.

Held over four days, the Byron Bay music festival has grown over the past five years as more brandsbac the event, taking advantage of an engaged and constantly present millennial audience.

Long-time sponsors and brand partners such as Diageo, Carlton United Breweries and Red Bull all returned for 2018, while new sponsor Volkswagen became the first automotive brand to ever associate itself with the festival.

Secret Sounds, the organiser and brand management business behind Splendour, managing director, commercial rights and brand services Kristy Rosser told AdNews the interest in brand integration for the festival was "extremely potent".

"Through Splendour, brands are able to connect on a personal level with 35,000 people over four days, and show up in exciting, and unforgettable ways," she says.

"Demand for Splendour far outstrips supply. It’s a hot ticket. For that reason, engagement with Splendour promotions and offers consistently perform for our partners."

This year Secret Sounds, alongside Visa, curated Splendour’s first ever premium dining experience, working together with hospitality partner Solotel and Matt Moran’s restaurant Chiswick.

Chiswick at Splendour was created with a Visa corporate hospitality brief in mind, with Rosser and the team recognising a demand for premium hospitality offerings within Splendour both for the music industry and its brand partners, including Visa, Diageo and Red Bull.

"Splendour attendees have also been quick to take up the offering of course, with all sittings across the weekend completely sold out," Rosser says.

Visa also became the host for Splendour's pre-sale ticket platform, while also offering cashless payment throughout the festival.

An allocation of Splendour tickets made available exclusively to Visa Checkout customers in April 2018 sold out in a matter of hours.

This was also supported by a national media campaign, with Visa Checkout receiving over 36,000 new registrants - more than double 2017 results - the highest registrations for Visa globally for the period.

"We have strong retention with our sponsors who return year after year, and festival-goers seek out our partner destinations," Rosser says.

Average sponsor content engagement rate for Splendour sponsors was over 17%, organic, this year.

Other premium experiences at Splendour included a Mumm Champagne bar overlooking the festival, a glamping area, a Volkswagen fleet providing transfers to Chiswick x Splendour and the Gold VIP Bar complete.

Rosser says brand activity is carefully curated to ensure that each experience doesn't feel "forced" or "out of place" with the long-standing culture that accompanies Splendour.

"It's critical that brands are delivered into this space in authentic and relevant ways for cut through with our savvy, mostly millennial audience," she says.

"You won’t see a branded stage on Splendour in the Grass. Everything must have a real reason for being. In that way, the festival experience doesn’t feel ‘heavily sponsored’."

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