Eventchella - How Coachella Activations Work / by Ely Anne Vedar

Or at the risk of an infamous cease and decease letter signed by Goldevoice, I fondly call the two weekend extravaganza, #Eventchella.   

Here's our take on the pros and cons to activating at the country's largest music festival.

As the first weekend of the music festival has turned into the must-go event, brands are flooding the desert with their offerings all in the hopes to entice the industry's leading entertainment and social media influencers. Not to mention the thousands press outlets and bloggers also present who make this weekend undeniably set up for marketing success. 

In order to work around AEG/Goldenvoice's strict guidelines of conduct for brands AND guests at Coachella, most brands utilize off-site event opportunities to activate; From the branded pool-party to invite only sponsored corporate flights, brands have and will continue to get creative with how they're brand is marketed through out the weekend. 


The Events:

  • Bootsy Bellows and McDonalds teamed up again for their annual pop-up. PacSun was on hand with gifting and displays. Talent included Michael B. Jordan, Kendall Jenner, and others.
  • Poppy Nightclub hosted a pop-up nightclub event. The event had talent like The Weeknd, Bella Handid, Kylie Jenner, Kendall Jenner and others. Kylie Cosmetics, Foster Grant sunglasses, and BMW were sponsors.
  • Genies #LOSTINTHEMIRAGE estate party had a live performance by MADDS. Other sponsors include Vampped and No Ties.
  • Pandora and T-Mobile hosted their annual Indio Invasion party.
  • Foray hosted again their Oasis with Hyde Sunset. Talent included Sam Feldt and Brody Jenner. Sponsors include Maestro Dobel and Tresemme.
  • GBK hosted a gifting lounge for influencers. Brands included Art Naturals, Swimline, Youngblood, MaadDiva, Zennis Sunglasses, and Miramonte.
  • Moschino x H&M Desert Party - this saturday night competitor to Neon Carnival hosted talent like Gigi Hadid, Paris Jackson, Tommy Dorfman, Gigi Gorgeous and Emily Ratajkowski. Designer Jeremy Scott was on hand as well greeting guests.
  • Furla - The fashion brand known for their handbags hosted a Sunday Prosecco Brunch with influencers such as german fashion blogger Caroline Daur. They backed up this activation with a paid (or possibly trade) influencer campaign who were gifted handbags.
  • Republic Records and Dream Hotels - The record label teamed up with trendy hotel brand Dream Hotels hosting an afternoon poolside party. Celebrities like Victoria Justice and Darren Criss (with fiance Mia Swier) attended as well as mega-influencers Logan Paul and Inanna Sarkis. Label artists like Shaboozy and Alma were also on hand. Sponsors included Batiste dry shampoo.
  • Pernod Ricard Vodka Absolut was again an official sponsor of the festival, and hosted the Absolut Openhouse Tent promoting Absolut Lime. The tent has DJ sets and photobooth opportunities. British singer Rita Ora performed. However, they did do an influencer campaign that was running at the same time. Usually Absolut gives products to various off-site events.
  • Roscoe's Chicken and Waffle created “Roscoe’s After Dark” pop-up at Spotlight 29 Casino. While the pop-up restaurant was open to the public, late night was a private party with Snoop Dogg Djing one evening. 
  • Shoe and fashion brand Puma hosted Fenty X PUMA Drippin event launching their summer collection. The event featured a dune buggy track and a blow-up slide. Liquor sponsors were Don Julio and Ketel One. Water brand Aqua Hydrate provided much needed water. Attendees included ASAP Rocky, Azalea, Rihanna, G-Eazy, French Montana, and Kali Uchis. 
  • Record Label Interscope hosted a house party on Saturday. Sponsors include Electric Sky Wine (which is owned by Interscope Records), Bud Light, Belvedere Vodka and Kleenex Wet Wipes. Fashion brand All Saints had a gifting suite inside the house.
  • Fashion brand Lucky teamed up with Nylon Magazine to host the "Desert Jam." Sponsors included Jack Daniels, Core Water, Quest Nutrition, FHI Heat, Lovesac, Triumph Motorcycles and Omission Pale Ale. Lucky was seeding customized denim. FHI Heat hosted a blowout bar. Harry Hudson, Charli XCX, Naomi Wild, and Jaira Burns performed. Celebrity attendees included Patrick Schwarzenegger.
  • Cash App’s Friends Keep Secrets party was attended by Kendall Jenner, G-Easy, A$AP Rocky and Diplo.
  • Rachel Zoe's 4th Annual ZOEasis was sponsored by Belvedere Vodka and Smoke Tree Wines. Celebrities like Paris Hilton, Olivia Culpo, Erin Foster, Whitney Port attended as well.
  •  'The Do Over' with adidas at the Ace Hotel featured a DJ set from A-Track.
  • Official sponsor American Express hosted the American Express Platinum House at the Parker Hotel. The platinum house hosted Platinum card holders and influencers.
  • From Dusk Til Dawn was a project of Style Fashion Week. This event has sponsors Aqua Hydrate, Veet, Notorious Pink Rose, Ganja Goddess Getaway and Red Bull. While this event had a cover charge, they did comp celebrities and social media talent. Ganja Goddess Getaway was the only party allowed to legally sell cannabis.
  • Fashion brand Revolve hosted their Revolve Festival with Ciroc Vodka. This influencer heavy event included celebrities Emma Roberts and Nicole Richie. Revolve also rented out a seperate medium sized hotel to house influencers who posted on Instagram in the latest Revolve fashions. These type of trade deals are very common during Coachella. As of last count, there are over 15,000 posts. Revolve teamed up at night with Tao Las Vegas to host evening events that included DJ's like Marshmellow. Ciroc Vodka provided the drinks and In N Out was on hand with food. House of Harlow 1960 and Urban Decay also hosted a VIP event at the Revolve Hotel.
  • SafeSpace, an app that was at the Sundance Film Festival hosted a a series of parties at an indio mansion. Nana Judy an urban men's fashion label and Chroncierge an elite medical marijuana brand sponsored which hosted events from Friday to Sunday.
  • Playboy hosted an event called the Playboy Social Club. Stillhouse moonshine sponsored this event which was located at the Hotel California in Palm Springs. They had a cute take on flower crowns. Instead of crowns, it was flower bunny ears.
  • Neon Carnival returned in a new location with Levis, Don Julio, Wynn and Batiste Dry Shampoo as sponsors. Leonardo DiCaprio, Chance the Rapper, French Montana, Amber Rose, Paris Hilton, Diddy, Kourtney Kardashian, and pretty much every celebrity in town. Influencers like David Dobrik, Liza Koshy, Logan Paul, Twan, Lele Pons, Scotty Sire and others were in a attendance.
  • MoviePass x iHeartRadio Festival Chateau -- MoviePass teamed up with IHeartRadio to host a multi-day event series. Partners included Drip Hydration, Herschel Supply company and Hello Dolly Salon. Talent included Big Boi, Shay Mitchell and influencer Amanda Cerny.

Here's A Reality Check

Activations are NOT cheap. Repeat, in order to show out at Coachella, don't come empty handed.

In 2018, very few influencers are in simply for exposure. A brand will always end up having to pay for premium influencers, in one way shape or form. Alternative payment options include comped transportation, hotel room(s), VIP wristband(s).. I've even seen brands cover an influencer's Dog Sitting fees while said influencer was spotted splashing around the brand's glamping site. 

Must Do Items For Activation Success

Brand A Lot, Post A Lot
On-site event activations are not the time or place to get shy about your logo! Be sure to highlight your brand's brand, slogan and/or color scheme in high-traffic areas of the event. For instance, who's not going to visit the bar? Be sure to have branded cups, napkins, mixology uniforms and of course the bar itself! Other noticeable places are the entryway, restroom(s), food & beverage stands, stages, and lets not forget about serving/greeting staff. 

#Hashtags Make Events Forever  The worst thing about the internet? It'll be around forever.. the BEST thing about the internet? IT'LL BE AROUND FOREVER. Consider #hashtags as your event's digital footprints which will eventually turn into its historial data. When pitch brands, venues and influencers for future opportunities, your brand's social media foot print will play a big hand in how they perceive the success of proposed ventures.

Photos Photos Photos Always, always, always document the event more than you think you need to. The best pop ups make sure to all parties involved are happy and having the proper coverage of celebrities, influencers and press in attendance is the key to keeping everyone happy. Regardless of your event's phone-use policy, secure an in-house photographer and if applicable, a videographer to capture your events best moments. Not just talking about arrivals either, the best photographers will work with you to ensure that your event's Shot List is documented and available to use by the media and attending influencers.