Essence Magazine’s Social Spectacle Wows Attendees
Essence Fest is the flagship event for Essence Magazine and the 2014 event in New Orleans was the 20th anniversary of the festival, so the brand needed to bring the full power of social media to make it a nationally noticed success. Essence needed a social strategy that addressed the challenges of increasing pre- and post-event interaction with the brand, and to seamlessly integrate those social touches into the rest of the event production. To do so, the brand deployed a completely custom multi-screen social activation for the Festival that brought a physical touchpoint into one of the biggest social media activations ever and assimilated both fan and sponsor content to celebrate attendees, the publication and the mission of the festival.
On the main stage, the brand had a 250-foot Twitter ribbon running along the top; three 42-foot wide digital screens showing photos posted on Twitter and Instagram; and two 47-foot tall screens that flanked the stage and were filled with the best tweets of the night. The entire social spectacle kept attendees engaged during down times in between acts and encouraged participation in the social conversation.
During the event, Essence aggregated nearly 80,000 social posts–a 26-percent increase from the previous year. Organizers say attendees were so excited to be on the big screens that they would take a picture of their tweet on the displays and tweet that out. How meta.