The following article highlights some of The Halo Groups top picks for growing trends for 2014 within the festival live event and experiential marketing world, from immersive & interactive experiences to creative production trends & technology and social media.
Immersive & Interactive Experiences
One growing trend we have previously commentated on is the desire to produce ever more sophisticated immersive experiences, especially at major festivals and events. There have been some amazing examples driving agencies & production companies to think outside of the box to deliver ground breaking and truly unique activations of late, each one raising the bar again.
Delivering immerse experiences comes in many forms. One key trend we predict to see more of in 2014 is audience participation and interactivity. The festival going public over the last few years has demonstrated a downward trend in main stage focused interest. Today people are looking for more personal experiences, something they can take home with them as a lasting memory or shared experience with a close group of friends. Making the audience an actual part of the experience promises to push the boundaries in this area further than ever. Few do this better than our good friends, partners and all round creative guru’s BEARDED KITTEN. Bearded Kitten’s “COLOSILLYUM” at Secret Garden Party is a great example. Their2000 capacity Amphitheatre in terms of production was an immersive experience in it’s self, with its giant bird set build wrapping its wings around the venue. As you can see from some of the images of last year’s event, aesthetically it shone with creative production prowess with huge impact but this was only part of the story.
By day, true to Bearded Kitten form they programmed a series of ludicrous interactive games including mud wresting, paint fights, giant bungee battles and much more. This awesome activation was topped off with some top tier DJ and live act talent with the likes of Chase and Status and 2Many DJs amongst others gracing the stage, thus tying the whole experience together as you would expect from a music led festival.
Here at The Halo Group, we predict more and more audience interactivity and more immersive experiences to become key features at major and smaller festivals across the board.
Creativity and Production
When it comes to immersive experiences and interactivity of course fun, high jinx and tom-foolery is one way to achieve long lasting memories.
Here at the Halo Group however, we are also driving new trends through our own projects that are enhancing the consumer experience through high-end production. Our partnership with Global Gathering is a case in point. As festival goers expect more from organisers, agencies like us are in turn delivering ever more sophisticated designs, arena’s and venues in response. Global Gathering is a well-established leader in Dance Music based festivals. They have long championed world class DJ line up’s that are the envy of the industry but historically, these have often been showcased in traditional big top tents, main stage formats and so forth. Our partnership with the festival has seen an explosion in creativity. Whilst the festival continues to host super star artists, these are now being showcased in some of the most unique venues, arenas and stages in the UK – a factor that we are proud to say resulted in The Halo Group winning “Best Production Team” at The Event Production Show Awards 2014.
The Freight Depot Arena – Global Gathering 2013 was designed and built by The Halo Group using modified shipping containers.
By welding specialist load points and cutting modifications such as DJ booths into the containers ‘s were able to achieve a ground breaking stacking configuration with spectacular results. This is one example of how, through a little creative direction the festival has moved away from the old big top format whilst still maintaining a stellar line up.
By using our modular steel build system we also created the bunker – a festival venue housing 350 people in an intimate environment like no other. Once again moving away from tents and big tops we have continued this trend to think outside the box and design more interesting spaces for festival goers to enjoy the music within.
With this accolade under our belt and our continued developments working with Global Gathering this trend of high end production will continue in 2014. Watch this space for this years incredible Global Gathering builds that are already under way!
Tying in with immersive trends and following on to some of our social media and technology trends later in this article one example we really liked in 2013 was the Oshega Festivals Igloo Vision dome complete with VJs, 360 degree multi mapped projected video and an interactive Instagram photo and video wall displaying 1000’s of uploads from ticket holders inside the dome. All #tag posts were quickly filtered and pushed to the rotating video wall creating and sharing instant memories for all to see. Those not attending the event were not excluded from the action with an online visualizer also showing #oshega2013 clips. What we loved about this activation was the fact that it was innovative, immersive, interactive and it extended outside the perimeters of the venue too, thus enhancing the experience outside of the festival.
Check out this video of the Igloo Vision Dome here;
Social Media and Technology
Brands are looking with more focus on how to engage with their audience and how to build stronger, deeper links more than ever. Often the solution can be provided by technology and social media platforms.
In a nutshell, the social science behind this trend is the ability of technology and in particular social media to extend the experience beyond traditional marketing formats. Think of it like this, historically when brands have looked at activating at festivals the experience has a very distinct beginning and end with people only being exposed to the brand at the point of contact or the duration of the activation. What social media allows is for brands to extend the experience much further with no obvious beginning or end to the experience. Social media allows for longer stories to be told with pre teaser campaigns, live and post event sharing, viral circulation, online campaigns, interactivity and more. In essence brands can build relationships 365 days a year and not just across 3 days at a festival. This shareabilty is a massive trend we have noticed in our agency briefs and it is something we anticipate seeing more and more in 2014.
Social media aside, the use of technology is another trend we predict to grow at festivals and live events in 2014. We’ve already seen, pitched in or used some great examples of modern technology in 2013 / 2014 such as featuring a live Twitter wall at a recent awards event we produced, researching ways to incorporate Tweets as currency at sponsored bars and we even saw a Twitter vending machine where you can get a branded T-Shirt by Tweeting instead of inserting currency. These creative applications of technology are on the rise as event producers look to make events more interactive and engaging.
Technological improvements such as 4G Internet, better wireless connectivity GPS, BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) and even “Magnetic Fields” from companies like “Indoor Atlas” or “iIndoor” herald a “location based marketing” boom in the future. The power of location based marketing via mobile devices will add relevancy and context to location. This allows marketers to know more about individuals for smarter engagement. Here data is key. We believe that this will become more and more a part of brand activations and experiential marketing activities in 2014. Personalised messaging, SMS, MMS & Email will allow for specific tailored delivery of information to be sent to any location. For companies who are savvy with their social listening and mobile advertising, this personalisation will enrich experiences for the individual and enhance marketing for brands.