||Touching Base with Ginger Kasanic, Experiential Marketing Manager, Ford Division
Ford Activates Bonnaroo Music Fest with Digital Extensions That Amplify Its Brand Message
Demonstrating the importance of collaborative partnerships, Ford Division has worked closely with the Bonnaroo music festival over the past four years to enhance the event experience and engage young adults on their own terms.
The automaker, which partnered with the music fest in 2010 to promote the reintroduction of the Ford Fiesta to the U.S. market, this year used the June 13-16 event to promote an updated version of the vehicle.
Ford activated the festival on behalf of the Focus in 2011 and Escape in 2012.
IEG SR spoke with Ginger Kasanic, Ford experiential marketing manager—CUV, EV & cross vehicle technology, about how the partnership has evolved over the years, new activation programs for 2013, as well as the automaker's new partnership with Course of the Force, a July 9-16 light saber relay race across California.
Below are edited excerpts from the conversation.
On using RFID bracelets to amplify Bonnaroo:
Last year we worked with Bonnaroo on an RFID bracelet that allowed people to register online for the festival. We ran a promotion that gave consumers the chance to win a vehicle, which allowed us to collect opt-in data prior to the event.
Attendees could also use the bracelet to check-in on Facebook at various locations throughout the festival. This day and age is all about sharing, and all of the posts were sponsored by Ford.
Ford used its new partnership with Course of the Force to showcase its SYNC technology.
We also had a couple of photo kiosks at key points of interest. People could scan their bracelet and post a photo on their Facebook page.
Last year the only people who could win prizes were ticketholders with registered bracelets. This year we added a second award for people who did not attend the festival. It was a great way to encourage sharing and extend our reach.
We're still waiting on final numbers from the event to better understand all on-site social activity from RFID, but we do know that we did see a 15 percent year-over-year increase in our vehicle sweeps entries tied to wristband registration. We’re hopeful that this overall growth is an indicator of strong on-site activity once again.
On activating with location-based technology:
This year we promoted a ** Ford number that you could dial on your mobile phone. People who dialed the number heard a recorded message tailored to their location. Each day we ran a custom message that told people what bands were playing in the Fiesta Garage.
People who called the telephone number from outside Tennessee received a different message. It provided another way to talk young adults in that space.
On the return of the Fiesta Movement:
We used the Fiesta Garage on-site activation area to support a larger social media program called the Fiesta Movement. We gave 100 socially vibrant storytellers a Fiesta for eight months to tell the story of the 2014 Fiesta.
We sent each agent on a mission, and three of them attended Bonarroo. One agent curated music, while another was a comedian who performed at the event. They used Youtube, Instagram and Twitter to promote what was going on.
The Fiesta Movement is our first completely user-generated campaign, so it was great opportunity to tie in Bonnaroo to the larger program.
On the Course of the Force sponsorship:
Course of the Force is a nontraditional way to showcase Ford's technology.
We activated the event with thematically wrapped vehicles that people could interact with. They could use Ford's SYNC communications system to call Luke Skywalker, Yoda and Darth Vadar. It was a fun way to integrate technology and make it relevant to that audience.
(Source: IEG Sponsorship Report, 07/22/13)
What's In It For You:
Using technology, mobile marketing, and social media elements as part of an activation campaign with experiential and event marketing is no longer the purview of just the big sponsors. Smaller companies are interested in leveraging these opportunities, too. And Big-Name sponsors expect them to be offered -- along with customization for their brand and or/product. These are also aspects that attendees expect to be part of the experience. The good news for stations is that these are not difficult elements to integrate into a campaign (and you can charge for them as part of a sponsor's activation). But these things do require prior thought, planning, and preparation. It requires more than hitting the street 2-3 months before the event launch with packages offering "booth, banner, and..." And this is a common trap many stations still fall into when selling events, concerts, and experiential marketing opportunities. Plan ahead, do your research, prospect for best partnerships...do the work early to reap big dividends.
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