“Human Car Wash” Activation Cools the Music Fest Crowd

Music festivals and summer go hand in hand, just as summer and frequently unbearable heat go hand in hand, as well. So, automobile manufacturer Kia and satellite radio broadcaster SiriusXM teamed up to help attendees at three electronic dance music (EDM) festivals beat the heat.

At the Sunset Music Festival in Tampa, FL (May), the Spring Awakening Festival in Chicago, IL (June), and the Electric Zoo in New York City, NY (August), more than 200,000 attendees were given the opportunity to visit The Kia Soul Station Powered by SiriusXM.

The first thing attendees did when entering the activation was walk under a 16-foot-wide arch that sprayed a cooling mist. But that was just the start. Next, visitors could interact with several mini activations, including foam cannons, spinning brushes, and drying fans. In total, these activities created a Human Car Wash, albeit, one with an extreme amount of dancing and flashing lights.

Of course, after a traditional car wash, the vehicle receives a thorough buff and polish to make it sparkle. The Human Car Wash gave attendees a similar opportunity at the Shine Room. This mirror ball bedazzled lounge area allowed festivalgoers to receive a uniquely EDM makeover complete with body paint and lots and lots of glitter. Attendees could then show off their new look (and their dance moves) on the branded dance floor where they could compete for prizes in various dance-offs.

Photo Credit: Kia Motors

Photo Credit: Kia Motors

Naturally, visitors to the Soul Station were provided an opportunity to spend some time inside a new Kia Soul and check out its sound-reactive mood lighting.

“The Kia Soul has a long history of supporting and promoting cutting edge music, and we are thrilled to provide EDM music festival attendees with not only this one-of-a-kind music festival experience, but to also introduce them to an all-new species of the Kia Soul, the third-generation of our most iconic vehicle,” Saad Chehab, Vice President of Marketing Communications for Kia Motors America, was quoted in a press release.

Visitors could also utilize a tablet in the car or grab one from a nearby display to sample the SiriusXM All Access package. Sirius’ EDM channels – such as Diplo’s Revolution, BPM, and SiriusXM Chill – were heavily featured.

“Music and joyriding go hand in hand, but it’s always been a core component of the Kia Soul’s marketing campaigns. We were looking for a brand that moves to its own beat, so to speak, and Kia was an ideal counterpart,” Meredith Himelfarb, Senior Manager of Automotive Partnership Marketing at SiriusXM, said to Event Marketer. “When we learned the next-generation Soul had sound-reactive mood lighting, EDM was the obvious choice.”

Hosts for the BPM channel were on site at each activation to conduct live interviews with DJs, other festival performers, and celebrities.    

Photo Credit: Kia Motors

Photo Credit: Kia Motors

Across the three activations, 25,000 festivalgoers participated in the Soul Station experience. It earned more than 2.5 million social media impressions and generated more than 100 direct sales for Kia Motors.

The Soul Station also provided plenty of opportunities for attendees to cool off while snapping a few thousand selfies. Over the past year, Kia’s sales have been in decline with the millennial demographic. So, to build brand awareness with millennials, the carmaker ventured to locations where its desired audience was sure to be: EDM festivals. Not only that, but the brand provided a service (cooling people down on a hot summer’s day filled with dancing) and generated a ton of social media traffic, simultaneously building brand loyalty and brand awareness.

Brand activations at music concerts and festivals tend to be especially effective for several reasons. A significant number of people attend music festivals every year. The 2018 Music 360 Report from Nielsen Music found that 52 percent of the U.S. population attends a live music event each year, with 44 percent of those attending a music festival and 68 percent attending a concert.

The report found that these young attendees spend an average of $247 per year on music concerts and festivals tickets (the general population spends $147 annually), and are 35 percent more likely to have more than $80,000 a year in a household income. Also, once they are at the venue, 23 percent of these attendees purchase artist merchandise on-site.

Photo Credit: Kia Motors

Photo Credit: Kia Motors

The demographics of concerts and music festivals are relatively predictable. In the case of these festivals, EDM appeals to a younger crowd who are active social media users and pretty evenly split by gender. For bands who want to reach millennials, an EDM festival is an excellent place to start.

A study by AEG and Momentum Worldwide examined how millennials relate to live music events. The study found that 80 percent of millennials feel that a branded live music event is the most effective way for brands to connect with them. They also overwhelmingly state (93 percent) that they like brands that sponsor live events, and 81 percent believe that the coolest brand experiences involve music in a live setting.

Finding the right festival (or festivals) to promote a brand creates an extremely valuable marketing opportunity. However, that is only the start. The right festival must be paired with the right activation that will engage attendees and create memories that last long after the music stops. For help finding the right festival and activation, give Event Architecture a call at 972-323-9433.

Disclaimer: We’re fans of all the innovative and interesting venues, events and activations that occur across the world, and we like to keep our readers informed as well. This post features a project that was not ours. We applaud their work, and do not wish to appear to take credit.