Tamara Deike is a Global Brand Development Director at PlayNetwork. She consults with PlayNetwork clients, inspiring innovative and engaging campaigns to help shape their customer experiences. With a background as a DJ, 12 years working in dance music across record labels, tech startups and artist management, as well as a Brand Development Director, Tamara has a unique perspective on both the music and artistry of the event, as well as the brands with pop-up experiences.
To be a brand on site at Coachella is a thing of many wonders. This is one of the most highly-curated, productionally-perfected (the app, digitized wristband activation, etc.) festivals, period. So when it comes to hand-selecting which brands are befitting partners, Goldenvoice has pretty much nailed it. Only a few brands rose to the top of my short-list (only 6 official brand sponsors this year):
Sephora: Best on-site activation at Coachella, hands-down. This gorgeous tent featured AC, various makeup ‘try/touch-up’ stations, a socially connected selfie-screen, Sephora giveaways, a hydration facemask lounge, and more. The entire look + feel was really inviting as were their staff. Come in, sit a spell, refresh, and fix your melting face. The crew of bearded dudes chilling with their rehydration masks was particularly heart-warming to witness.
H+M: This was their 6th year as an ‘official’ sponsor and their first year to host an on-site (40×60) pop-up store. There was a 1+ hour wait to gain access to the pop-up and shop pieces from the official “Coachella H&M Collection” as well as styles exclusive to Coachella. The tent also featured an Oculus Rift Virtual Reality 360 degree mirrored selfie station with professional lighting and visual effects, and other immersive digital experiences. The brands advertisements in LA, and on the drive to Indio clearly cost a pretty penny, but made for major impact.
Heinekin: A slew of DJ’s performed in the Heineken House throughout the festival. Free wifi, A/C, water + of course, Heineken on tap. There was an interactive experience where fans could make their own ‘beats’ from stems of tracks on iPads on site. Unfortunately, I don’t think that was something anyone cared about. The tent also featured on-site refrigeration for anyone who had drinks they wanted to keep cold.
Samsung: This tent primarily served as a tool to promote their new Samsung Galaxy S-6. Inside, guests were treated to A/C, charging stations, a chill out area, and the ability to interact with the new phone & test it’s features. If you were a Galaxy owner, there were a number of giveaways throughout the festival including new phones, headphones, VIP bracelet giveaways, food/drink vouchers, etc.
American Express: I was unable to enter this pop-up, as it was only for AMEX users who had ‘prepaid’ for a special “AMEX Experience” in advance of Coachella. I did find out, however, that it hosted key artist signings, charging stations, A/C, free drinks, a chill out area, and VIP bracelets as part of the ‘pre-paid package.’ They are the first “official” credit card partner to work with Coachella.
Uber: “Oasis Lounge” – I didn’t use this area, as I was fortunate to have VIP parking (SCORE!) However, the Uber services were on a first-come first-served basis. Apparently Uber-drivers from all over California were recruited to come to Indio to aide in the overflow of partygoers. And with massive traffic delays pre/post Coachella each day and to/from afterparties having Uber on-site was extremely important to the flow of things.
As mentioned, Week 1 of Coachella is an abundance of brand activity. The majority of which, happens in Palm Springs, Indio, and surrounding towns in the vicinity. Everyone from Adidas to Refinery29 to Dolce Vita to Nylon Magazine and Tinder. If you want to learn more about the brands at Coachella, this is a great recap.