Courting the Cool Kids: Coachella Marketing Roundup

Celebrities, musicians, and influencer Millennials flock to the desert in April to celebrate Coachella—and brands are eager to charm them. Here are some ways the cool kids are being courted this year…

The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival kicked off this weekend, and it was three days filled with celebrities (Kylie! Kendall! Leo! Taylor!), surprise performances (Kanye! Ke$ha! Rihanna!), and, of course, plenty of brands looking to court the cool kid crowd.

Last year, the Wall Street Journal outlined the rising brand involvement in the festival, calling it an event “filled with a marketer’s dream: throngs of influential, open-minded and ready-to-spend Millennials with plenty of time to kill.” Festival schedules allow for a significant amount of down time, just waiting to be filled with visits to sponsored tents and Instagram shots of branded experiences. On top of that allure, the Millennials who attend the fest tend to be social media sharers. The hashtag #coachella currently has 1,782,384 public photos on Instagram, not including the variations of the tag that include the year and other details—and keep in mind this is an event that takes place over just two weekends each year. Many brands are eager to have a presence at an event filled with young influencers who might just spread the word about their brand. At the same time, being associated with the festival gives brands a link to current cool kid culture, and potentially an image boost.  

For Coachella 2016, H&M and Heineken continued their long-running sponsorship, and Pandora, luxury watch brand Tag Heuer, Uber, Cupcake Vineyards, and more played a role wining, dining, treating, and driving attendees. Here are some of the stand out activations of the event this year:  

Alice + Olivia See Now/Buy Now Show

Designers and…


Want to talk to us about the article
or dive into a custom study?

The Newsfeed

"I play [games] constantly until 4 in the morning. When I’m not on my game I’m checking my phone. And the whole time I’m doing all of that my desktop is on the internet.”—Male, 22, OH

Twitch is airing every episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, in celebration of the late Fred Rogers’ 90th birthday and the show’s 50th anniversary. The esports streaming service is expanding to nostalgia entertainment (which young viewers can’t get enough of), but they have a unique twist. The show will be available for co-viewing, with popular Twitch streamers chiming in from time to time. (Mashable)

Over one-third of 18-34-year-olds have stopped using a brand after hearing negative news about them, more than any other generation. Among the brands that most consumers said they gave up on were Wells Fargo, Target, Papa John’s, and Uber. However, Critical Mix and kNOW also found that young consumers are more willing to forgive a brand for bad press: While only 30% of consumers overall would use a brand again after a scandal, 41% of 25-34-year-olds would. (MediaPost)

Alamo Drafthouse is bringing back VHS—offering free rentals for Millennials that wax nostalgic for analog products. Their first store, Video Vortex, is opening in North Carolina. Not only are they “fostering a movie-loving community” with the extensive gratis collection of 75,000 titles, but they’re making money off of the added “beer, food, and merchandise.” No VHS player? No problem. They’re renting those as well. (BoingBoingEW)

Researchers were surprised to find Gen Z students were “relieved” to ditch their smartphones for a few weeks. Screen Education’s study of 62 12-16-year-olds found that 92% thought “it was beneficial” to disconnect from their smartphones while they were at camp. And even though 41% admitted they felt frustrated at times, 35% were able to cut down their use after camp and 17% convinced a friend to curb their time spent on smartphones, too. (PR Newswire)

Beauty brands love augmented reality, but an app can’t replace in-store experience. Not only did Ypulse found time and again that young consumers expect Experiencification and flock to marketing activations (like pop-ups), but brick-and-mortar locations build loyalty. People think they’re scamming Sephora when they re-do their makeup gratis, but that time-spent-in-store is really “turning the ‘scammers’ into buyers.” (Quartzy)

"I love my smart phone. It is just like my best friend [and] I just can't do without my smartphone...”—Male, 27, CA

Sign Up Now

Subscribe for premium access to our content, data, and tools.

Already a subscriber? Sign in.

Upgrade Now

Upgrade for full access to the best marketing tools for understanding the next generation.

View our Client Case Studies