For Pandora, throwing a party for its listeners is as much science as it is art. The data the online radio service collects about listeners’ favorite artists, the “stations” they create and the ZIP codes where they live gives the brand ammunition for producing highly targeted events—and for inviting targeted brand partners. It’s a strategy most are familiar with in the online advertising world, where through geotargeting different content is delivered to users depending on, among factors, where they reside. In this case, geotargeting went live.
The event, Pandora Presents, on Aug. 9 took over part of the Santa Monica Pier and featured Magic!, Rita Ora and Iggy Azalea. The brand offered free admission exclusively to fans it knew were interested in those acts. In between introducing the performers, Tommy Page, vp-artist and brand partnerships, told EM that the shows, which are produced in-house, not only build fan affinity, they also strengthen all-important relationships with artists and create opportunities for advertisers to activate in a live setting.
Timed to coincide with back-to-school marketing efforts, the show was aimed at teens and college students, and five brands carved out some space of their own:
Concertgoers picked up plastic bags and twist ties and were directed to one of two sets of goodie dispensers inside a high-gloss, red and white structure where they could make their own mix of graham cracker bits, marshmallows, chocolate candy, granola and Krave cereal. If that sugary-sweet deliciousness wasn’t enough, reps were ready with a table piled high of single-serve product samples. The two filling stations helped keep the line from getting too long. And the high snack-ability factor seemed like a perfect fit for the event, especially after the opening act Magic! began playing its brand of reggae fusion.
The service that offers Amazon Prime benefits and special promotions for college students set up a two-tiered “Selfies Gone Viral” experience. Amazon had the best location of the partner brands, closest to both the stage and the event entrance, and the booth was busy from the time the gates opened at 6 p.m.
Groups of friends, mostly two, three or four at a time, stepped up a few stairs where they posed for photos holding inflatable rock ‘n’ roll gear or—for some reason—wearing horse head masks. A freestanding tablet kiosk snapped the images (these were not technically “selfies”) and it allowed attendees to apply Instagram-style filters, choose the shots they liked best and enter their contact info. A follow-up email directed them to “Like” the brand’s Facebook page in order to retrieve their photos.
On the lower tier, a small lounge area with two high-top tables and a handful of bar stools didn’t seem to serve any practical purpose other than giving parents or bored boyfriends a place to hang out. On the other hand, the site scored some extra impressions with its branded backdrop on the ground level. We caught several attendees taking red carpet-style photos of each other there.
The Art Institutes
The for-profit art college, which has three campuses within 50 miles of Santa Monica, drummed up interest through an online open house held the week following the concert. The brand hung up a black-and-white mural designed by an AI alumnus bearing the hashtag #creativityforlife and set out a bevy of branded Sharpies, inviting attendees to add their own doodles. Brochures, fliers and tablet kiosks offered info about the schools and the open houses. A brand rep explained that the effort made sense for AI given the back-to-school timing and the fit with Iggy Azalea’s focus on fashion, art and creativity—and that the company was planning to donate the finished mural to a local high school after the show.
Promoting its twist-top Big Pouch lineup, the juice-drink brand took the prize for the most appropriate nighttime outdoor concert lighting: against a glossy blue backdrop, the pink-lit shelves gave the new packaging a surprisingly cool display. The engagement was limited to handing out freebies—t-shirts for the guys, tank tops for the ladies, and sunglasses for the shirt-averse. And the sampling was so low-key it was almost accidental, from two plastic ice buckets on the floor near the front of the line. A single brand rep handled the giveaways pre-show, and since the line was pretty long, we thought an extra staffer could have alleviated the jam.
Schick Quattro for Women
Ladies who stopped by the pink booth received a pink makeup bag containing a sample-size Skintimate shaving cream and a packet of sun block—and a heads-up that they’d be able to pick up a (pink, of course) Quattro razor on their way out after the show. The bubbly brand reps offered to take photos of each guest, posing them strategically in front of a wall bearing the hashtag #qfwsofancy, encouraging them to share the pics on Instagram and Twitter.