Festival goers at the heart of brand activations, finds Frukt

Toms' creative brand activation at a US festival this year
Toms' creative brand activation at a US festival this year

Jim Robinson, managing partner and client services director at agency Frukt, has revealed consumers are becoming more immersed in festival brand activations, as detailed in a new report.

The agency today (3 December) published its latest Field Work report, which has looked at more than 440 different brands at international festivals during 2013.

Robinson told Event this year brands have been making consumers the stars of their activations. He said: "Five years ago, brands would put on an act and the consumer would watch. What we have found more of this year is consumers are at the heart of brand activations. At this year’s Isle of Wight Festival, beer brand Carling hosted a ‘hip-hop-aoke’, which invited the audience to be a star on stage and sing along to a hip-hop track.

"River Island did a similar thing whereby consumers were invited to be styled in the retailer’s clothing and then performed on stage with a band."

Looking to 2014, Robinson said it will be interesting to see how far brands will push this trend. "Consumers are increasingly becoming the star of the show, but where does it stop? Does it mean that we will start seeing competitions where consumers can perform on the main stage of a music festival?"

Frukt’s 2013 Field Work report contains details about the types of festival audiences compared to previous years. It mentions six specific 'millennial archetypes' who are attending festivals including: the 'cultural pilgrim' (explorer/creator); the 'live for now-er' (hedonist); the 'matchmaker' (social butterfly); the 'collector' (devotee); the 'guardian' (nurturer); and the 'escape artist' (recreationalist).

Robinson said: "One archetype which seems to be growing in size year-on-year is the cultural pilgrim. They take part in activations and immerse themselves. They live to create things and take it away with them."

He said more brands are catering for this particular archetype, including footwear brand Toms, which invited consumers to create their own shoe at this year’s Firefly Music Festival in the US.

The report also found that food and airline brands were increasingly activating at global festivals this year in comparison to 2012. At UK festivals, a notable year-on-year increase in brand activations was seen by automotive and technology brands, while mobile, beauty and fashion categories saw a drop in activity.

The report will be officially launched at an event tonight for Frukt’s clients, brand representatives and industry partners at The Social on London’s Portland Street.

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