Meta's Instagram Creator Lounge full of whimsical props like a swan boat and arcade

VidCon 2023 Attendees Connect and Get Crafty at Meta’s Instagram Creator Lounge

“This is obviously a creative group of people, so they’re looking for a creative outlet. Their interaction with all the different activities that we had put forth—making t-shirts or phone charms, or just generally being crafty and creative—people were doing that the entire time, which was amazing to watch. They not only came and visited, but hung out because it was a fun and exciting place to grab a snack and interact with each other.”

— Chris Watters, Head of Experiential Marketing, Americas, Meta

VidCon's Creator Lounge featured an entrance full of props.

Meta decorated the entrance to its Instagram Featured Creator Lounge with colorful props inspired by the ’90s and internet memes.

Amplifying its logo’s signature palette in a color-blocked space, Meta encouraged VidCon 2023 attendees to get crafty and creative at its Instagram Featured Creator Lounge. With VidCon returning for its second in-person event since 2019, Meta built a space that gave back to creators, fostered creativity and facilitated connection, both live and on social.

“The creator economy has changed a lot since 2015, and this event has grown so much since we started sponsoring [that year],” says Renata Rizzo, event marketing manager, North America at Meta. “Our goal is to be connected to creators, the ones we have relationships with and the ones who are not that close to our platforms. We want to make sure that they know our tools, how they can grow with our platform and just be closer to us as a brand.”

The Creator Lounge—open June 21-24 at the Hyatt Regency Orange County in Anaheim, CA—embraced creators from top to bottom. The lounge’s entrance hallway was decked out with a goat statue wearing a hot pink “G.O.A.T.” cap, sunglasses and medals; a disco ball planter; a retro boombox; a neon emoji sign; a carousel horse; a robot wearing a cowboy hat; and a red inflatable tube man flopping around, among a hodgepodge of other props.

att-tribeca-2023-untold-stories-lounge-empty stage shotMore Experiential Lounge Strategies:

The photo-ready furnishings extended throughout the lounge, featuring a full-size swan boat, a larger-than-life gummy bear, gold metallic couches with animal-print pillows and an extra-long yellow wiener dog bench positioned in front of a giant lighted Instagram logo on the wall.

Colorful street signs on a post directed attendees to the lounge’s various spaces, which were each themed to a different color from Instagram’s logo. The pink area was the “Hot, Hot, Hot” bites and drinks station; purple was the arcade with a claw machine, foosball table and basketball game; and orange was the #DIY swag station, where attendees crafted their own t-shirts or phone charms as takeaways. Attendees could hop into the Booth by Bryant photo booth for quick pics.

Attendee interacts with the DIY t-shirt station.

Attendees created their own t-shirts at the lounge’s #DIY swag station.

Additionally, it was important to Meta to show creators how to interact with Instagram’s content creation features, such as adding music to social posts. Throughout the lounge, screens presented different tools, and the Creator Support Station, which was also incorporated last year, offered tips and tricks, and covered common questions about all of Meta’s platforms, with product specialists on-site to assist.

Starting work on the activation six months out, Meta developed a strategy that aligned with research into its target audience, looking at how they behave and what they’re into. From there, the team pulled out ’90s references, games, color schemes and décor that would appeal to creators. Offering attendees a place to connect with one another was also an important element of the Instagram Featured Creator Lounge based on feedback Meta received from creators who had attended past events. Overall, 7,000 attendees stopped by over VidCon’s four days.

Two content creators partake in an interview in the lounge.

Meta designed the Creator Lounge to be fully interactive and show creators how to interact with Instagram’s content creation features.

“The whole space was intended to be interactive, so we had quite literally thousands of prompts throughout that were intended to be played with, supposed to be hands-on. You could mix and match, and use those for playing, making content or interacting with people,” says Chris Watters, head of experiential marketing, Americas at Meta. “It ended up being like an exercise in discoverability because there were little, funny things everywhere, and you could see people interacting with the entire space, which really hit the nail on the head.”

Beyond the lounge, Meta hosted Instagram’s Night Out, an official VidCon party, on June 23 at City National Grove and went bigger than last year, bringing in more creators and exceeding attendee estimates. With a massive line to get in, the party ultimately welcomed 1,100 attendees, who enjoyed performances from rapper Coi Leray and DJ Supernova. Rizzo says Meta wanted to make the evening “glamorous” with a branded step-and-repeat, plenty of opportunities to capture photos and videos, themed drinks, and smoke bubbles on the dance floor.

“I think the whole space and the party were really successful given that we didn’t have the same budget and reduced our footprint at VidCon,” Rizzo says. “This year, we went in focused on where our target audience was, where we wanted to be and the message that we wanted to deliver. This is definitely something that we want to repeat—not to be spread around, but really focusing on our goals. It was super fun and translated really well on social media post-event. That’s definitely another strategy that we want to repeat next year.” Agency: MKG.

Photo credit: Marissa Joy Photo

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