Showing 40 of 41 media items ATTACHMENT DETAILS Saved. BDG media nylon-coachella-2024-newsstand.j

Executive Q&A: BDG Media Talks Music Festivals, Gen Z and Capturing the Zeitgeist

“The biggest trend right now is that ability to sort of change and flex and try and experiment and not be like, ‘Here’s what you’re going to do, and this is your journey.'”

–Lindsay Leaf, EVP-Experiential, BDG Media

For BDG Media, and the array of publications under its umbrella, aligning with event tentpoles has become essential to positioning the company as the pinnacle of culture and nightlife. Look no further than this year’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, where BDG’s annual ZOEasis event and NYLON House platform, which hit Coachella and Art Basel in 2023, returned to the event with style, scale and a whole lot of sponsors.

With its sights set on courting Gen Z and capturing the zeitgeist, BDG is making big bets on experiential marketing, so we tapped Lindsay Leaf, evp-experiential, for more insight into the strategy.

pinterest-manifest-station-coachella-2024-credit-kelly-puleio-teaserMore Festival Strategies:

Event Marketer: Tell us about BDG Media’s refreshed approach to experiential.

Lindsay Leaf: When I started [three years ago] and really looked to build our experiential division, our strategy was to align ourselves with the world’s biggest cultural stages and moments, from Coachella to Art Basel to New York Fashion Week and beyond. And we continue to grow and find those places where we know that our audience is, and that aligns with our editorial mission. So we really sit on that apex of culture and nightlife. So for Coachella, it is that music and nightlife. For Basel, it’s that art and nightlife. For New York Fashion Week, it’s fashion and nightlife. And I think that’s just the way that society is going to, it’s so much more about lifestyle now—it’s not necessarily just about one thing; it’s about the merging of all of those things. That’s really where NYLON fits editorially, as well.

NYLON_coachella 2024 experiential marketing _entrance

NYLON House at Coachella 2024 had a metamorphosis theme that spoke to the way Gen Z embraces change.


EM: What was the significance of BDG’s ‘metamorphosis’ Coachella theme this year?

LL: Every year, we work with our editorial team and our data team to really dig into insights for the times, that cultural zeitgeist—what is going on with our readers, what is it that they’re experiencing, how do we tap into that in a way that is really meaningful to them and is representative of both NYLON and all of the people that we know flock to our event every year. So for a generation that has found itself on uneven footing for so long, from the post-pandemic norms to the upcoming election to cryptocurrency… this is a generation more than any other that is very used to change. And they embrace change, whether that change is: how are we going to use AI as we move forward in our lives and in our worlds to how can I change my makeup look every day. They don’t really put themselves in a box. They love to experiment, and they don’t want to necessarily be defined, but they want to continue defining themselves. So we really wanted to tap into that and bring our brands along the journey with us.


EM: How do you work with sponsors to create festival activations that feel cohesive?

LL: For almost all of our brand partners, we actually build the experiences for them. So it’s not the type of thing where we’re like, ‘Here’s your footprint,’ and you just come in and build it yourself. We do everything for them, soup to nuts. We come to them with concepts, and I think what is a marquee difference of our events from other events that you may see or experience is we really believe in world-building.

So when we came up with this theme of metamorphosis, we really wanted to bring the brands that we work with into that world. When guests come to the event, they’re transported. Every activation and every moment kind of speaks to that overarching idea and that world. So we bring them in a way that is organic to them and meaningful to them and feels more approachable and more impactful because we really come from the lens of how are the guests going to experience this, and why is it going to matter to them?

NYLON_coachella 2024_kate spade

BDG helps its sponsor partners craft activations that feel cohesive and map back to the larger event theme.


EM: With more Gen Z than millennials flocking to festivals these days, are you reimagining the way you connect with attendees on-site?

LL: I think the difference in the way we activate and engage is really rooted, again, in the ever-changing culture and zeitgeist. There’s always going to be room and desire for people to flock to Coachella and to watch their favorite bands and djs and music. For us, there’s always going to be that desire to have that convergence of nightlife, fashion, style and music and all of those things under one proverbial roof. But I think how we activate, the things that we do, particularly for our partners, that does change year over year because we see trends, we see what people are kind of flocking to. And it has to change from year over year, otherwise it becomes dull, boring and stagnant.


EM: What kinds of festival trends are on your radar this year?

LL: The idea of change, the idea of not being dictated to in terms of everything in your life, from what you drink to your beauty routine to where and how you travel. The beauty of NYLON House is we have so many partners that touch all of those categories.

It’s that experimental quality and giving people sort of a buffet of things to choose from and to curate. We have this journey for them, but everybody’s journey, depending on their likes and their preferences, is a little bit different. And I think there’s a lot of beauty to that because how they experience it may be a little bit different than how their friend experienced it.”

ZOEasis_Coachella 2024_hair styling

BDG is keeping its eye on Gen Z’s penchant for personalization and choose-your-own-adventure-style experiences.


EM: How are you approaching event amplification for your festival programs?

LL: An event never starts or ends with the proverbial curtain. There’s so much leading into the event, and then the actual event is really a moment for content capture, and then it gets pushed out for weeks. You feel the echo of it and that impact for so long after the event because you have people like Gwen Stefani posting on Instagram… Then you also have all of the press, the bevy of influencers and also the general guests who are all posting and sharing. And then, of course, you have the power of NYLON and all of our digital and social properties that are also pushing out everything that happened… So the impact is just so massive and huge, so one night really becomes a monthlong campaign. The earned impressions, the scale, the press, the user-generated content, the talent, all of that comes together in a really forceful way.

Music to any marketer’s ears.

Photo credit: Kit Karzen for NYLON House

Kait Shea
Posted by Kait Shea

Kait joined EM in 2015 and today enjoys her role as senior editor, digital content. When she’s not in reporter mode, rocking mermaid pants at Comic-Con or running laps at MWC Barcelona, you can find her at home listening to music.
View all articles by Kait Shea →

Receive the latest news and special announcements from Event Marketer


© 2024 Access Intelligence, LLC – All Rights Reserved. |