Chevrolet’s recent VIP “Boots on Stage” event just outside Stagecoach Festival served as a celebration of its 100-year history and an avenue for engaging young consumers. But more than anything, it was an opportunity for the automaker to prove it had a legitimate stake in country music, and an authentic story to tell. Armed with a fleet of pickup trucks and on-brand engagements, Chevy took the desert by storm. We recently caught up with Shad Balch, western region manager at Chevrolet Communications, to learn more about the brand’s festival strategy. Here’s what he had to say.
Event Marketer: Why are festivals an important event platform for Chevrolet?
Shad Balch: The brand has been mentioned in various songs more than 1,000 times. So we have this very credible presence to get involved in the music space and that’s why we activate around some of the country’s largest music festivals.
EM: What was the strategy behind the touchpoints at the ‘Boots on Stage’ event?
SB: When you think of country music, it’s synonymous with Chevrolet. So we took advantage of that and leveraged things that people would think of when they think of taking a truck to a concert or a country music festival.
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EM: How did attendees react to your obstacle course?
SB: We brought this off-road course to a place where you wouldn’t really expect it… And everybody was impressed. This is something that these people had never seen a truck do before.
EM: Did you have a social media call to action?
SB: When you do events like this, oftentimes brands try very hard to find a way for people to share the moments. And sometimes it’s credible, other times it’s not. And when it’s not, it’s a big miss. For us, bringing out a cool truck—everybody wanted to pose in front of it. It was shareable. There were lines of people waiting to get in front of it and that just speaks to the strategy that making sure your presence at these events is legit.”
EM: What elements helped contribute to the success of the activation?
SB: The reason this particular event was so successful is that Chevrolet p.r. and Chevrolet marketing joined forces to activate the event… In the past, they were separate functions, but going forward there’s a much better way to leverage events like this.
EM: Why do live experiences continue to be part of your marketing strategy?
SB: For Chevrolet, part of getting people interested in our vehicles is having an experience. When you can tell a story about a very cool and attractive experience using our products—that resonates with people. Rather than just using basic marketing techniques, why don’t we create an experience that shows off what you can do with a truck and approach people that way?