Branding Benicassim

Last weekend’s FIB festival in Spain was a great party. If you’ve never been, the idea is simple. Stay at the beach all day, chilling in the sun – and as soon as you’re hangover has disappeared, it’s about time to go and catch some bands and retox. Repeat for four days.

The festival crowd seemed to be a 50/50 mix of Spanish and English, and mostly young University students. Brands were pretty desperate to be involved, especially in the V.I.P section. But the festival space wasn’t huge, so you couldn’t really do much.

Strangely, there was no marketing activity down on the beach, or in the town itself. (Perhaps for a reason) but there could have easily been some successful pop-up bars, eateries and experiences in the town or on the beach-front.

Here’s a quick rundown on the brands that had a presence at the festival.

Heineken.

The marquee sponsor of the festival. These guys had branding everywhere from the busses to the beer tickets. However, the pricing left a bad taste in my mouth – at €7.50 for a large beer, that’s pretty uncool at a festival. This was far above Spain’s usual €3.50 for a  large beer vibe.

Saying that, they had a really dope beach bar in the V.I.P.

Eastpak

Eastpak sponsored the more niche stage, featuring the likes of Four Tet and JJ. They also gave all the V.I.P entrants a cute little festival bag, which was perfect for smuggling in cans of Lidl’s finest lager. Which, at 20cents a pop, offered better value that the H.

In the V.I.P section they had artists on hand to doodle on your bag as well as these rather funny giant back-pack bean bag things. These were absolute photo fodder, and I even saw a few sneaky people steal them.

Fred Perry

Fred Perry also had an area in the V.I.P. Instead of going near they’re recent re-emergence as a brand dabbling in music they opted for placing some table tennis gear in the corner and giving out some pin badges.

DM’S

In the festival arena, DM’s had a giant, lit-up boot and were giving away little cushions (Air-wear, yeah?) so that you could sit down on the concrete floor. On the whole a pretty quiet brand-experience, but unlike a festival like say, Glastonbury (where DM’s would be a pretty sensible footwear option) most people here were in Haivanas.

Red Bull

Red Bull sponsored the (rubbish) silent disco, but also had a pretty cool lawn area which was the best place to sit in the whole festival, which included a little branded swimming pool.

H&M

H&M teamed up with an Aids charity for their little tent.


DJ Hero

Obligatory DJ Hero booth. Wasn’t very overstated, but probably due to the size of the festival.

Jack Daniel’s

The only other booze brand were Jack Daniel’s, who had their own little tent – and Jack Daniel’s cocktails that came in awesome cups.


What was missing

Most of the branded stuff seemed a bit phoned in. Outside of the VIP, perhaps the Red Bull and Jack Daniel’s stuff fared best, but you couldn’t help but feel that the Jack Daniel’s area would have fared better if it were matched with a different brand, such as Smirnoff or Bacardi. Something a bit more upbeat and dancey… and who wants a Jack Daniel’s cocktail?!

Interestingly with this festival, there were large groups of girls, I was camped next to a bunch that got up at the crack of dawn every day to talk about putting their hair extensions in. Rock’n’roll.

Because of this demographic out in force, I think a UK high street fashion company, perhaps one with a bit of an image problem such as Oasis could have done a good job here. They could have owned part of the beach and turned it into a high class resort, with a brand partnership with a booze brand offering awesome cocktails and then amazing places to sit on the beach, complete with stylists, showers, massages, and all that kind of thing that I don’t want to hear about at 7am coming from the tent next to me.

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