Smirnoff Parties with Aussies at Mini Festivals
To drive consideration among its dance music-loving, 18- to 24-year-old male target audience, Diageo’s Smirnoff Vodka in the summer of 2008 created unique mini-festivals within larger Australian music festivals called Area 21. Under the shade of an igloo-shaped band shell, festivalgoers were invited to imbibe at a fully operational bar, check out headline musical acts, bust a move on the dance floor and grab a tattoo from a crew of Smirnoff Mixtresses working the crowd. All guests got the chance to take their music experience home via Bluetooth mobile content downloads.
Purchasing booze at a beer garden at your local festival hardly counts as a meaningful brand engagement these days. So Smirnoff executed a few clever tactics that transformed a ho-hum purchasing experience into something more than just a transaction. First, the DJ was strategically perched just above the bar, so lining up for a cocktail meant getting closer to the music. Second, headline music acts performed original sets on Area 21’s stage without the time restrictions that usually accompany main stage performances. Finally, surprise performers showed up to entice the crowd to stick around or return to have a drink and see who might show up.
From across the festival grounds, attendees flocked to the giant, glowing igloo wrapped in branded graphics. Disco balls turned and DJs spun tunes between live musical acts. The mini-festival rivaled main-stage shows and created genuine brand interactions in a target-appropriate environment.
Posts on dance music portals, consumer promotions, on-pack advertising and media outreach created pre-show buzz. Some festival organizers even added Area 21 to their official festival programs to give the mini-festival main attraction status. The program blew past sales and attendee expectations: the website earned 45,000 visitors, 67,000 attendees visited Area 21 and the brand racked up 15,000 Smirnoff sales at the events.