Visa, CUB and The Iconic on the brand value of Splendour in the Grass

Josh McDonnell
By Josh McDonnell | 30 July 2019

Visa, Carlton United Breweries and The Iconic have all weighed in on the value on in-event activations at music festivals such as Splendour in the Grass, as the lucrative 18-35 year old demographic becomes more difficult to engage.

Splendour in the Grass broke attendance records this year, as over 42,500 people entered the grounds over the three-day music, arts and culture festival.

In 2019, the festival expanded to accommodate the growth in attendees, creating more opportunities for the festival sponsors to entertain and engage the huge audience.

Visa head of marketing Australia, New Zealand & South Pacific Jac Phillips says as a fan of the event and a brand partner, she is "in awe" of the team of creatives whose "guiding principles for success start with collaboration".

"With ongoing plans for growth and expansion of the festival, Splendour’s full potential is yet to be realised which makes it an incredibly exciting proposition for not only the attendees and the artists, but also the activating brands lucky enough to be involved in the future," Phillips says.

"A select set of brands work with the Splendour team who are very discerning about who they let in and activate at the festival. If you’re not creatively enhancing the overall experience of festival attendees then you won’t get a look in."

The Iconic chief marketing officer Alexander Meyer told AdNews events such as Splendour allows the brand to connect with our customers "beyond the sell", creating an "engaging and culturally relevant" real-world experience.

This year, The Iconic brought back its popular pop-up laundromat concept, which from the outside, looked like any other laundromat but when people crawled through the washing machines, they found themselves in a club.

He says as an online pure-play retail business, to be able to experiment in the space is an "incredible territory" that allows it to capture data, engage with audiences in real-time and build upon its brand strategy.

"Consumers at music festivals have multiple competing priorities, focuses and engagements when it comes to all available activities on the ground - it’s a sensory overload and as a brand, you’re dealing with a highly savvy and unforgiving digital native audience," Meyer says.

"Activations like the Laundromat are a crucial element of the deep culture of testing and learning approach we live by at The Iconic.

"We’re living in an age of ‘commoditised convenience’ - anyone can get anything at the click of a button and for the highly competitive world of fashion retail, we know that there’s only so much SEM and performance channels can continue to achieve."

The Iconic SplendourThe Iconic's Laundromat activation

Meyer says it doubled the success it had with its first iteration of the event, which it originally debuted at Splendour's sister festival, Fall Festival, also hosted in Bryon Bay over summer, with 25,000 people going through its doors.

This year the festival sponsors upped their investment, adding to the festival creative program across the whole weekend.

The on-ground impact was significant with 81% of attendees stating that the sponsor activations made them more likely to use the brand and that a further 65% made them feel more positive toward the brand.

Brands collaborating with Secret Sounds Connect, the agency responsible for curating the activations and sponsorship program for the event, saw multiple high profile brands return, while also drawing in new partners.

"The value we get out of this event is driving trial and awareness of our projects with our key demographicand& association with Australia’s largest music festival," Carlton-owned Strongbow Blossom Rosé Cider brand manager Deanna Christian says.

"Our core demos are the legal drinking age – 29, so Splendour offers the perfect opportunity to connect by tapping into the passion point of music.

"Trial of our product is key for us. Having consumers taste our products in the way they should be served is key and should always form part of our plans."

Returning to activate this year was Visa, Smirnoff, Captain Morgan, Carlton Dry, Strongbow, Contiki, Red Bull, Rimmel, Jacob’s Creek, TOM Organic and G.H.MUMM. 2019 also welcomed new activations from The Iconic, OPPO, Tinder, Bonds, Durex and Herbal Essences.

Tinder at SplendourTinder was one of the new brands to back the event in 2019

Tinder was one of the major new sponsors for the year, creating the Tinder Block Party, a space for the "wannabee lovers, the music lovers".

The block party was part of the global Tinder Festival Mode release, allowing festival lovers to wear the Splendour badge on their Tinder profile and connect at the event.

"One important key aspect is to know when you need to partner up to deliver the best experience for that customer in the respective context," Meyer says.

"Cross-functional collaboration is key to any good partnership and it’s also reflective of the spirit The Iconic operates in."

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