How Brands Brought Virtual Marketing To Coachella With Cashless Payments, NFTs And Metaverse

Updated: April 20, 2022
coachella virtual marketing

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Following a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival returned this April, presenting an extraordinary opportunity for brands to reach their consumers again with in-person marketing experiences. But how are they taking advantage of it?

Seems like this year marketers have opted for the power of digital experiences, including cashless payments, metaverse tie-ins, NFTs, virtual memorabilia, and more. In-person Marketing is gaining strength again with the digital world, and brands are betting on it like never before.

In this article, we discuss how brands are combining real-life and Virtual Marketing tools in festivals like Coachella to leave a lasting impression, and the importance of engagement Marketing in the post-pandemic era.

Let’s begin!

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Brands are jumping into festival sponsorships again

The live music industry had an almost 30% drop in sponsorship revenue for live events in the past few years, due to the pandemic. However, now that summer music festivals are back, sponsorship revenue is rising again.  

Companies from emerging sectors such as crypto and rideshare – like Coinbase – are sponsoring festivals like Coachella once more.

Live experiences are powerful, and brands are aware of it

Marketers are harnessing the power of live experiences more than ever, combining real-life and Virtual Marketing tools to offer a better experience to their audience.

Source: Epic Games

A clear example is the partnership between Epic Games’ Fortnite and Coachella. The game features festival-inspired outfits that players can purchase during the time of the festival. Additionally, music by this year’s Coachella artists will be available on a radio in the game, so players can listen to it while they drive in their cars.

Metaverse marketing

Brands are also using the metaverse to bring new resources to life.

Absolut Vodka created a metaverse experience in Decentraland – a 3D virtual world – named “Absolut.Land” along with an experience for in-person festival attendees. In the metaverse, there is a virtual replica of Coachella where people can play games, collect NFT wearables, and even win tickets for the second week of the festival. Amazing, right?

The brand invested 10% of its annual Marketing budget to the Coachella program and 80% is going to digital, which reflects its efforts to establish itself as an innovative company.

Brands that are finding ways to get into Metaverse Marketing stand out among their competitors, as it gives them the ability to provide simultaneous experiences, reaching a broader audience.

Additionally, the metaverse offers endless possibilities for brands to bring new elements and experiences to life.

The rise of NFTs

Last year was the boom of NFTs (Non-fungible tokens). According to NFT market stats, in only the third quarter of 2021, the value of all global NFT transactions hit $10.7 billion dollars

Marketers are realizing the potential of using NFTs to build and serve a community, and that’s why they are bringing them to live experiences. 

Coachella launched three collections of NFTs that included 10 tokens that grant owners lifetime access to one weekend of the festival every April, together with lifetime access to Coachella virtual experiences.

But this is not the only festival that’s creating NFTs experiences. Lollapalooza recently announced that they are teaming up with Bored Ape Yacht Club to release NFT badges called POAPs (Proof of Attendance Protocol). These are tokens to provide attendance or participation in an event that, in addition to being a virtual memorabilia, allows access to certain communities and surprises.

Another brand that is planning to use POAPs in festivals like Governor’s Ball, Stagecoach, and Lollapalooza is Bud Light Selterz. His main goal is to take advantage of these resources to create ongoing interactions with customers and boost brand loyalty.

Brands like Cîroc are also using NFTs to market products like its new vodka spritz, giving the consumers the chance to access virtual events with famous artists to promote the brand, bringing their product to an entirely new audience.

And let’s not forget Verizon, which is also planning to offer NFTs that can be traded in for benefits at concert venues.

Cashless payments

Cashless transactions have been increasing all over the world, and this year they play an important role at summer festivals like Coachella, Lollapalooza, and BottleRock Napa Valley. 

Brands like PayPal and Venmo are offering cash-free RFID wristbands that contain a chip linked to attendee’s PayPal and Venmo accounts to enable cashless payments. Fast and easy! 

Innovate and create meaningful experiences

With the gradual return of massive events and the resumption of face-to-face activities, brands are betting on combining real-life and Virtual Marketing to offer memorable experiences and reach a larger audience. 

Innovations like metaverse links, NFTs, virtual memories, and AR filters will be key assets for Marketing campaigns in the coming years. Although these tools work very well on their own, when combined with an experiential Marketing strategy, they have a greater impact: they enable clear brand identification and reaching consumers in meaningful ways.

Unity makes strength, also in Marketing!


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