V Festival kicks off this weekend and, as usual, an array of savvy brands will be there to take advantage of the festival’s 24-35-year-old demographic. Attracting between 150,000 – 160,000 music fans annually, it is one of the UK’s most popular festivals. Recent research by msn has shown that festivalgoers are an affluent bunch, spending on average £423 attending a UK festival.

So, it’s no wonder brands want a slice of the festival pie. And a survey by Event Magazine found that V Festival, which takes place simultaneously in Chelmsford and Stafford – is the top choice for corporates due to being friendly to brands (as indicated by headline sponsor Virgin Media).

Marketing at festivals used to be reserved for brands with a music heritage but now there are opportunities available for a complete range of products, from shampoo to cereal. Festivals can allow brands to reach out to a totally new audience and provide huge exposure in a short space of time.

What’s more encouraging is that festival goers are highly receptive to experiential activity, with 60% stating that brands actually improved their festival experience and a whopping 85% enjoying the brand activity at the festival they visited (research also conducted by Event Magazine).

But it’s not enough to simply pitch up; companies need to do a bit of groundwork first to come up with some quirky and creative activity, which will appeal to the target customer.

Let’s look at some examples:

At V Festival in 2011, shower gel brand Lynx created a giant communal outdoor shower with entertainment by live DJs, which gave singing in the shower a funky makeover. Likewise, Garnier Fructis offered mud-coated revellers the opportunity to freshen up at their salon tent, complete with hair-washing stations.

Chocolate brand Aero chose V Festival to promote its mint flavour variant, setting up a ‘chilly’ chill-out tent, where it handed out various giveaways. Meanwhile, clothing retailer Very.co.uk has signed up to be V Festival’s official fashion partner. It set up a tent showcasing a capsule collection of festival fashion and a ‘style S.O.S service’ offering one-hour delivery on orders. The Very tent also included a Human Trending Vending Machine, face painting, and promotional merchandise giveaways.

Alcohol brands are a natural fit for music festivals and Strongbow ran some extensive activity at both Isle of Wight and V Festival. A ‘Bowtime’ bar was created by experiential agency RPM and brand ambassadors were tasked with handing out giveaways, spreading the Strongbow brand as far as possible throughout campsites.

The Bowtime bar marquee had a clear Strongbow feel, with branded bar stools and beanbags for visitors to relax on and table football branded in Strongbow colours. Visitors to the marquee over the two events reached over 100,000, drinking over 500,000 pints in total. Promotional giveaways numbered 30,000 and the Facebook group attracted 3,000 ‘fans’.

These sort of results clearly demonstrate the value of investing in branded merchandise for distribution at well targeted events. Leighman’s has supplied promotional and corporate branded gifts to some of the largest companies in the UK. Our huge range includes festival friendly items like camping chairs and inflatable pillows, mp3 speakers and torch keyrings. But given the forecast for rain this weekend we might suggest something to keep you dry!

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