It's July 2019. A young country music festival in the U.S. prepares for a make-or-break weekend. The stage is set, the artists have arrived, and the fans begin to fill the festival grounds.
A subset of this crowd comes through the gates as part of a newly-tested initiative. A media company is testing its festival trade program offering. The results will soon lead to the expansion of what will become the largest full-scale trade program for music festivals through the United States.
Festival Trade Program in Action
The results seen by this country music festival were far from unrealistic. HyperValue deployed a custom-built digital advertising campaign targeting college students in the region. The campaign was funded entirely by complimentary festival ticket passes and sponsor assets, resulting in no cash cost to the festival. The pitch was made early in 2019.
Producers of the festival agreed to test it out. With event costs fixed, there was minimal extra cost to providing complimentary tickets for the weekend. HyperValue provided those tickets to staff members who facilitated the trade, and deployed a multichannel advertising campaign on behalf of the festival.
Then the magic happened.
A custom-built digital campaign targeting local college students who were identified by Google data as frequent attendees of live events. A series of social media endorsements encouraging these young adults to attend the 'event of the summer'.
Staff members who received free tickets were encouraged to upgrade their general admission tickets and spread the word within their network. On festival weekend, some fell in love with artists they'd never heard of. Most hit the beer stands multiple times to refill their Coors Light buckets. Very few, if any, walked away on Sunday with no dollars spent at the event.
Some of these members will return to the festival next year. Many will spread the word and gradually influence long-term growth for the festival.
30 days later, when the festival would typically receive an invoice for the advertising service, something remarkable happens: They never do.
The cash value of the advertising remains with the festival. No invoice, no cash drained, and no pressure on the event producers to explain why they're using valuable cash supply to run an ad on TV, radio, or print.