Mixing Brands and Experiences; ACL Festival

This originally appeared on the Dachis Group blog.

Anyone who can survive difficult parking, shuttle buses, lots of walking, scorching sun, and rain must value the experience of a large music festival. With over 70,000 people out to experience the Austin City Limits Festival, it’s a fantastic opportunity for brands to be associated with memorable experiences. The opportunity goes far beyond just getting your company’s name in the program and at the top of the stage. At this year’s festival I was able to get a behind-the-scenes look at some interesting things that Dell had created.

The Dell Lounge is an air conditioned space right in the middle of the festival, and was open to the public. They created a fun and relaxing atmosphere with computers and tablets lined up against the wall for internet browsing, and couches centered around mobile phone power stations. All the while a DJ was spinning some songs, and managing drawings for prizes. There was a line to get in throughout most of the festival, if that tells you how popular this little oasis was.

There is a lot of technology behind running a festival of this kind. If you get backstage, and in the artist and VIP areas you will see cables running up high through the trees. That would be the festival’s high speed fiber backbone. Each stage has producers and directors that are calling the show, and making the cuts between cameras. That feed goes through the fiber to the media trailer. In a small temporary trailer on the back lot, live video feeds from all the stages get sucked into Dell Precision workstations. Working with Adobe (Premiere video editing software) and Arts+Labor, Dell refined the turnaround time required to feed video to the media, the festival YouTube channel, and the live festival feed. It’s pretty neat to see technology really shine, as this new streamlined process takes seconds rather than hours. For the first time at the festival, there isn’t a single video tape deck to be seen.

The tagline for this campaign is “Speed of Thought,” meaning I guess that as fast as you can think of it, a Dell Precision workstation can make it happen. Which is clever, but the way they solidified the message was well thought out. People in the VIP and Media areas had access to Dell’s photo booth where they had a 1,000 frame-per-second high speed camera. At that rate four seconds turn into a minute of video. With the right props, it’s a super interesting minute too. In the movie below you can see the results, with @thattechchick and myself. You can see Robert Scoble’s here.

There were several elements of this that I found pretty astute. You might notice the Dell logo on every fan blade, which of course can’t be seen realtime but I discovered when I watched one of these super slow motion videos. The videos also went up on one of Dell’s YouTube channels, as well as tweets with links to the video and the twitter handles of the people in the videos. Since this was in the media area only, they created high speed videos of some of the bands at the festival, which have significant social followers. For you music fans, highlights can be found on the YouTube ACL channel.

What about your brand? Are you finding ways to reach out and engage with your constituents in fun, social, and in-person ways?

Mixing Brands and Experiences; ACL Festival