The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, which is often referred to as simply Coachella, is an annual event that takes place in the desert in southern California. Every year, more than 100,000 people travel from all corners of the Earth to attend this historic event. Music lovers and art aficionados aren’t the only ones who trek to the desert to Coachella–experiential marketers from some of the top brands in the world do, too. Countless brands see Coachella as the perfect opportunity to host experiential marketing events. Here’s a look at some of the best experiential marketing activations from this year’s festival:

W Hotels Glamping

Leave it to W Hotels to bring glamour and luxury to the desert. This year, the hotel chain planned a glamping, or glamorous camping, event for their guests. The brand set up four luxurious tents, each of which were designed to look like a specific W Hotel, right on the festival grounds. However, this event was not open to anyone with a Coachella ticket in hand. Members of the Marriott Rewards program were welcome to bid on this experience, which reportedly sold for around 800,000 loyalty points.

Guests were given free passes to the main event so they could spend their entire weekend listening to some of the best musical acts in the country. They also had access to many of the amenities available in every W Hotel, including turndown service, a mini fridge, private bathroom, security, and a personal concierge. This experience made the stay in the desert much more enjoyable for a lucky handful of Marriott reward members.

American Express Secret Garden

American Express hosts an experiential marketing event at Coachella every year, and 2018 was no exception. Coachella attendees could take a timeout and escape the crowds by entering the American Express Secret Garden. Inside the garden-themed event, guests could relax on comfortable lounge chairs, learn how to rock the latest beauty trends, and more.

McDonald’s Bootsy Bellows Party

McDonald’s was the sponsor of this year’s Bootsy Bellows party, which is always one of the most exclusive events during Coachella weekend. The most exciting part of this event was not the celebrity guest list or lively venue, but rather the Ice Cream Sundae Bar and Ice Cream Room.

Partygoers were invited to create their own sundae at the McDonald’s Ice Cream Sundae Bar before entering the Ice Cream Room. All four walls of this room were designed to look like an ice cream cone–in fact, the walls even felt exactly like the waffle cones served at McDonald’s. Hanging from the ceiling was a swing, which guests could jump on and strike a pose to create Boomerang to post on their social media pages. This is a brilliant example of how brands can design an Instagram-worthy event that guests will be eager to document and share with their followers.

Sephora Makeovers

Spending a few hours in the hot desert sun is enough to ruin anyone’s hair and makeup. Fortunately, this year’s festivalgoers could freshen up with a little help from the hair and beauty experts at Sephora. Inside the Sephora tent, festivalgoers had access to a number of free beauty services, including hair braiding, makeup touch-ups, temporary hair color, and hairstyling. Festivalgoers walked into the tent with sweat dripping down their faces, but emerged with beautifully styled hair and makeup. Everyone at Coachella was ready to snap the perfect selfie thanks to the experiential marketers at Sephora.

BMW Road to Coachella

BMW’s Road to Coachella activation was an unexpected success last year, so the brand decided to use a similar idea for this year’s event. The goal of this year’s event was to promote the newest BMW hybrid and electric vehicles. To meet this goal, the brand relied on a handful of influencers, including actor Kellan Lutz and reality star Dorothy Wang. The influencers were tasked with taking a road trip to Coachella and documenting their experiences along the way. Each influencer was responsible for creating and sharing their own content with their followers to build buzz around the BMW brand. This activation helped BMW reach millions of people and connect with an entirely new audience.

HP’s Three Activations

HP launched three separate experiential marketing events during this year’s Coachella: the HP Lounge, Antarctic, and Drone experience. All three activations shared the same Digital Eden theme, and HP technology was incorporated throughout each of the three different areas. For example, there were massive colored flowers and vines powered by LED lights floating above guests in the HP Lounge. The guests at this event could use one of HP’s products to change the coloring of the LED lights and create a custom LED show. Attendees at this event could also use HP products to design and print their own custom labels for their water bottles. At every turn, HP found a way to weave their products into the theme of the event.

Peet’s Coffee Better Energy Activation

Peet’s Coffee took a much simpler approach to promoting their coffee products at Coachella. Instead of hosting a huge party or designing an over-the-top event, the brand focused on handing out free samples to festivalgoers. The goal was to show festivalgoers that the best way to cool off and boost their energy was to grab a cold brew coffee from Peet’s Coffee. Although the idea was simple, it was an effective way of spreading this branded message to the masses at Coachella.

Take your brand to the next level by hosting a newsworthy experiential marketing event! If you’re ready to plan an event, contact Factory 360 right away. Let our team of experiential marketing experts create the perfect strategy to win over and connect with your target audience.

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