Five Reasons For A SXSW Brand Activation In 2023

Event Marketing

South by Southwest, or SXSW, is an annual conglomeration of parallel film, interactive media, music festivals and conferences in Austin, Texas. Over ten days, thousands of people gather from all over the world and enjoy the exciting events that the city has to offer, from listening to keynote speakers to hanging out in experiential lounges.

Even if your company isn’t making a formal appearance at South By Southwest, the event offers a prime marketing opportunity; in fact, there are five main reasons your company should put on a SXSW brand activation in 2023. Find out what they are below.

SXSW logo

1. Large Audience At Your Brand's Fingertips

South By Southwest attracts a total of 40,000 in-person attendees, which is a massive plus side of leveraging the event. When that many people are at your fingertips, an interactive brand activation goes an extremely long way. 

For instance, the photos below are from Peacock’s mobile pop-up shop at SXSW 2022. In order to promote the TV series Rutherford Falls, the company partnered with Food Truck Promotions to hand out Cathy’s Fry Bread from the show to passerbyers and event attendees. This simple yet creative way of bringing a feature from the series to life inspired thousands of new viewers to check out the TV show. This is exactly what can be accomplished when you interact directly with thousands of people. 

2. The Opportunity To Piggyback Off Of The Festival Hype

It’s not just the sheer size of SXSW that makes the event a perfect marketing avenue; it’s also the hype that already exists around the series of events. Having the ability to “piggyback” off of excitement is part of the reason that festival marketing comes in handy in general, especially when it comes to SXSW. 

SXSW appeals to so many different people, and because it’s an annual event, the anticipation builds over 365 days, providing the ultimate hype for your company to capitalize on for its own SXSW brand activation. 

3. Gaining Natural Media Coverage

One of the greatest marketing advantages of events like SXSW is the natural media coverage they receive. Attendees don’t just enjoy events in-person; they share their experiences online and on social media. This means that if you are able to provide a brand experience that resonates with people, you have the potential to also connect with thousands- if not millions- of people through organic digital exposure. 

Not to mention, there are over 2,000 journalists and photographers from legitimate media outlets that cover the event, and even ones that specifically highlight the best brand activations that took place! 

4. Reaching A Diverse Demographic

SXSW attracts a demographic as diverse at is large, with over 50 countries represented at the different expos and meet ups. Not to mention, SXSW attendees represent a whole range of age groups, so no matter the industry you’re in, you will likely have the opportunity to engage with your target audience. 

It should come as no surprise that being able to connect with such an expansive audience has massive benefits. 

5. More Meaningful Connection With Consumers

Last but not least, SXSW brand activations are so beneficial because they are higher quality ways of engaging with consumers. As opposed to digital or content marketing, experiential marketing and in-person brand activations are able to create more meaningful connections with consumers because they are more sensory, interpersonal, and emotional experiences. 

So, as you brainstorm your marketing strategy and think about ways that you can gain longterm consumer loyalty, remember the power of brand activations. 

Your SXSW Brand Activation

SXSW events make the perfect marketing opportunities. This year, when the entire city of Austin, Texas is filled with consumers from all over the country (and even the world), make sure that your brand is benefitting as much as possible with an in-person marketing stunt or brand activation that communicates your company’s message to thousands of people, face-to-face.

Enlist in the help of the professionals here at FTP – we’ll make sure your SXSW brand activation is a hit! Contact us to get started!

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More Than Just Music: Why Your Brand Can’t Miss Coachella

Event Marketing

At its core, Coachella offers nothing more than an experience: every year, a quarter of a million people buy tickets to see their favorite musical artists, enjoy innovative art installations, and bond with a like-minded community in the middle of the Indio desert. Very few music festivals encapsulate so much, which is why over the years, Coachella has become a huge cultural phenomenon and a fashionable hive for trendy people and celebs. 

However, for brands, Coachella represents much more than just pool parties, celebrity sightings, and late-night shows; above all else, the annual music festival is a massive marketing opportunity. Recognizing its marketing potential, every year, companies across all industries leverage Coachella weekend by producing creative brand activations and pop-ups (both on-site and around festival grounds) that immerse consumers as much as the festival itself.

So in light of the recent Coachella lineup release, let’s talk about why music festival marketing is so valuable and, more specifically, why your brand can’t afford to miss out on Coachella 2023. 

More On Music Festival Marketing And Why A Coachella Pop-Up Is A Must

Across two weekends, a Coachella pop-up puts an astounding 250,000 people at your brand’s fingertips. But beyond just sheer size, it’s important to note that the festival is one of the most coveted and iconic experiences in all of music for fans and artists alike.

The high-regard that people have for Coachella is the less-tangible, yet equally valuable part of marketing your brand at the festival: the way people feel about Coachella translates into how they feel about your brand, resulting in a positive brand association.

And this isn’t just true for Coachella: music festival marketing at large is seen as so valuable because when a festival-goer reminisces on shows from their favorite pop stars like Billie Eilish or DJs like Diplo and Peggy Gou, they’ll also remember other aspects of the festival, like the pop-up from your brand that blew them away.

Among all of the live performances is a true opportunity for your brand to stand out and connect by make your brand a part of something bigger and more meaningful. After all, where better to put sensory marketing to the test than in the multi-sensory mecca that is Coachella?

A Brand Activation To Cause Internet "FOMO"

Plus, here’s even more good news: Coachella isn’t just an in-person event. With the rise of social media, the festival has evolved into a backdrop for an online fashion show and prime Instagram opportunities, while Tik Tok is flooded with influencers’ “Coachella highlights” and “GRWMs” flaunting the trendiest “OOTDs.” 

Why is this relevant for your brand? Well, not only does a Coachella pop-up connect with music festival-goers in real time, but it also gives your brand the potential to reach millions of people through organic online exposure.

Because there’s so much natural coverage of the weekend on social media, offering an experience festival-goers enjoy will inevitably put you on the map online. Forget paid ads or pricey influencer deals: producing a brand activation that is worth experiencing and, more, worth sharing, puts your brand in an optimal position for success. In 2023, creating a pop-up that people want to enjoy in-person and brag about online should be your top priority. 

Coachella Pop-Ups We Still Think About

Now that we’ve run through the benefits that music festival marketing has to offer, 

Here’s a list of Coachella pop-ups that were so creative and memorable that they still live rent-free in our heads— these branded experiences are not only some of the best examples of pop-ups at Coachella, but also of music festival marketing at large. 

1. American Express Lounge

American Express used music festival marketing by producing The American Express Lounge at Coachella. This lounge gave card members a space to recharge with various wellness activities— including a crystal bar, astrology readings from Smudge Wellness, and acupressure ear seeding. Guests were also treated to hydration stations, snacks, charging stations, and a cash bar.

American Express Lounge

2. Aston Martin Astoria Activation

Aston Martin and Waldorf Astoria teamed up for a flower-filled brand activation at the La Quinta Resort & Club. The luxury brands also hosted daily DJ performances, specialty cocktails, and a station for complimentary flower crowns and floral arm bands.


To celebrate the brand’s spring 2019 line, Calvin Klein’s Coachella brand activation was a multi-sensory experience inspired by a 1970s-style house. Attendees could go through various rooms, including a branded bathroom, a walk-in closet with Calvin Klein clothing, and a bedroom with a mirrored ceiling for a unique photo op. Of course, pictures of people enjoying the experience made its way to social media. 

#MYCALVINS brand activation at Coachella

4. DirectTV

DIRECTV drew attention during the festival with five unique activations. VIP guests could start their evening by visiting DIRECTV’s Neon Oasis, a jungle-themed and branded lounge, before traveling to the carnival ground through DIRECTV’s futuristic Portal. Other experiences included a branded zipper ride and an additional VIP lounge. And throughout the night, the brand’s Geodome illuminated the sky with immersive projection mapping.

Cool Coachella Pop-Up Ideas For Your Brand

There are so many different ways your brand can give festival attendees a break from the dance floor with a different but equally memorable Coachella experience. Here are a few ideas you can implement into a Coachella pop-up or brand activation. 

Product Display Wall

Take Rose Inc’s pop-up in New York City all the way to the desert in California. Whether on a street corner or on festival grounds, product display walls can help consumers fall in love with your skin or beauty product at just a glance.

Rose Inc product display wall


Create a mobile showroom that flaunts your clothing line and gives festival-goers a break from the dance floor with some retail therapy. You can even offer free drinks for a pick-me-up! 

Prize Wheel

Seam an interactive prize wheel into your brand activation to offer the public free merch that they can take as a memento of your Coachella pop-up. There are few better ways to ensure your brand experience carries into a consumers’ every day life than with a free prize they can enjoy beyond the weekend.

Leverage the Coachella Hype with a Pop-Up

Coachella Arts & Music Festival attracts a wide and diverse audience, but among all of the live performances and stand-out art installations, there is tremendous room for your company to create a branded experience that accomplishes the impossible: standing out from competitors in some of the most competitive markets. 

Whether you’re in retail, beauty, finance, or tech, you can successfully leverage the hype around Coachella weekend with a face-to-face experience that compliments the interactive and multi-sensory nature of the festival itself. 

Ready for Coachella? Reach out to our team to learn about the kinds of branded experiences.

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Why Event Marketing Will Be the Trend in 2023

Event Marketing

In the face of economic downturn, companies across all industries have been forced to rethink their expenses, marketing budgets included. 

With less money to go around, companies are pushing to allocate what’s left of their marketing budgets to initiatives that are actually worthwhile. In turn, marketers are being more hard-pressed to justify their investments and project ROIs, which begs the question to CMOs: ‘with so many moving parts, how can you know which marketing strategy will work?’

The answer is more straight-forward than you think: turn to event marketing. When you look carefully at our changing cultural landscape, as well as the overall economic state of our country, there’s no doubt that event marketing will be the tactic to uplift a lot of companies in this challenging market next year. 

Let’s dive deeper into why event marketing will be the trend in 2023— at least for the companies who are ahead of the curve.

3 Reasons to Turn to Event Marketing in 2023

1. Social Media Uncertainty

Anyone who spends time on social media, either professionally or personally, knows that most platforms seem to be on a decline. For years, it felt like Instagram was going to be a part of our lives forever, but in 2022, we’ve seen that anything— even the most addictive apps of all time— can simply go out of style or be beaten out by the next best thing.

In 2022, the winner of the contest for eyeballs is without a doubt Tik Tok. And yet, the solution is not to simply shift your marketing spend to this newer, trendier app because unfortunately, Tik Tok poses its own problems. 

In a few short months, no one knows if Tik Tok will still be a worthwhile place to allocate time or ad spend. Why? Well, the first to raise concerns that Tik Tok was a national security threat was President Trump, and since then, there have been more calls to action to ban the app. So much controversy surrounding the safety of this app makes it an unreliable and potentially wasteful marketing channel. 

Twitter? Facebook? Right now, neither show any promise that they’ll be the platform that brings your company returns. 

2. More In-Person Events After Pandemic

It feels like yesterday when obligatory masks, 6-feet social distancing, and staying home were the norm. With this isolating experience still fresh in our minds, we tend to value in-person events more than we used to, even if subconsciously. 

Only a couple of years out from the worst moments of the pandemic, you can expect people to be catching up on the in-person events and activities they missed: music festivals, conferences, parades, and so much more. 

This gives your brand the opportunity to meet your target audience in popular destinations and create face-to-face connections with event marketing.

3. The Vacuum of Real-Life Connection

Aside from the pandemic, our fast-moving technological advancements have meant less face-to-face connection in general. From remote work and telehealth to online dating and social media, there’s a void in face-to-face connection that needs to be filled— so why not be the brand that fills it? 

When so much of life can be experienced behind a screen, a company that focuses on creating meaningful, interpersonal relationships in-person immediately stands out. 

Successful Event Marketing Examples


Zara used event marketing to make a statement at Pride 2019. With the help of Food Truck Promotions, they branded a glass truck and designed the interior with rainbow JUST Water to convey their support to the LGBTQ+ community, a valuable part of their customer base. 

Making an appearance at an event as action-packed as the yearly WorldPride Parade proved to be an extremely effective event marketing strategy, resulting in over a million impressions.


After stopping in Los Angeles, Charlotte, and New York, Fever-Tree finished its mobile tour in Miami during one of the busiest weekends in the city: Art Basel.

The Mixer Truck sampled three of their flavors— Sparkling Pink Grapefruit, Lime & Yuzu, and Cucumber Tonic Water— in the form of delicious mocktails and like in the cities prior, guests were able to take home a tote-bag with a refreshing four-pack to enjoy, but this time, in the amazing Miami sunshine. 

This experiential marketing tactic opened up the opportunity for consumers to directly interact with and sample Fever-Tree, which goes a long way for a product. 

Shaka Tea

The Shaka Tea truck toured the United States for months, sampling their beverage in cities like Seattle, Denver, Charlotte, and Miami. 

Thanks to event marketing, the Hawaiian tea’s mission to bring brand awareness to the US mainland was realized. Shaka Tea accomplished this by hitting trivia night at popular breweries and making appearance at pride parades, sporting events, and concerts in a way that allowed consumers to fall in love with beverage on-site. 

Wrap Up

For years, digital marketing was considered king; and while content marketing, SEO, social media, and email marketing are all still relevant channels that deserve some attention, event marketing shows to be the most reliable and effective marketing strategy as we head into 2023. 

Event marketing allows you to avoid social media uncertainty and capitalize on the fact that so many people are longing for more meaningful, personalized, and face-to-face connections with companies.

So as you and your company head into the new year, it’s time to brainstorm creative, in-person brand activations that can push your business goals forward. 

If you want to discuss a certain project you have in mind, or event marketing at large, feel free to contact our team

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