Alcohol Sponsorship the Heineken & Coachella Way: From Event Organizers to Beer and Liquor Giants, Everyone Wins

Today's customers are immune to most traditional advertising methods, and brands are searching for new ways to get attention.

Products for adults, such as alcohol, face unique challenges in the advertising world due to marketing restrictions. 

Heineken Beer decided to make waves and sponsor the Coachella music festival – and their idea was a hit. Here, we'll take a look at why Heineken's idea worked, how companies today can replicate their success, and why it makes sense to work with brands for event sponsorship.

First, let’s think: when was the last time you actually watched an ad online when you had the option to skip it instead? 

More and more, people are becoming savvy about marketing tactics, and are apt to skip over ads without giving them a second look. Ad blindness is real, and it can be tough for marketers to figure out how to both get their ads in front of potential customers and to figure out how to get them to pay attention.

Alcohol companies have been hit hard with the struggle to find new ways to market their products. Some beer and liquor companies have turned to alcohol sponsorship of events to get their brand in front of the eyes that matter most.


Event Marketing and Sponsorship

In today's events world, many event organizers are wondering how to get a liquor sponsor, how to get a beer sponsor, and how to handle other sponsorship aspects of event management.

Excellent examples of beverage marketing aren't limited to alcohol companies – Red Bull and Monster Energy are both top-tier marketing phenoms in the event sponsorship world. 


Like Red Bull and Monster, Heineken's Coachella sponsorship made their brand visible to new clientele and helped the company join the high ranks of other event sponsorship giants.


Vendor Sponsorship: Everyone Wins

There's no doubt about it: event sponsorship works equally well for an in-person event, hybrid event, or virtual event. When companies use virtual event sponsorship, they're getting to engage with customers in a different way as their target market gets to live the brand experience. When beer and alcohol giants sponsor events, the event company gets support, the merchandiser gets great advertising, and attendees get to live the dream. 

Experiential marketing is key in reaching people who have become ad blind. Live music events, sporting events, and other in-person events are the perfect way for brands to reach consumers. At a large event, many attendees find themselves milling around to socialize, taking the time to browse attractions, refreshments, and giveaways at the event – perfect opportunities for a sponsor to interact with potential customers. 

Today's customers value authenticity and want to feel a connection to a brand before they decide to buy. If a customer has a good time at a festival or sporting event sponsored by a corporation, it makes sense that they'll think of that brand favorably in the future. 

Vendor sponsorship also gives brands the opportunity to get in front of even larger audiences than those present at the event through the power of social media. Hosting social media giveaways that involve asking attendees to use a hashtag can be a great way to spread the word about both the event and the brand.


Using Alcohol Sponsorship To Boost Your Event: What You Need To Know

When it comes to utilizing alcohol sponsorship to boost a brand, Heineken has done it right with Coachella. Here, we'll take a look at the vital steps the boozy conglomerate and the upscale music festival have taken to ensure a once-in-a-lifetime experience for attendees. 


Essential #1: Hype up the event far in advance.

While a music festival, sporting event, or concert may only take place over a few days (or a few hours), seasoned event sponsors know that advertising for the event (with proper branding) begins far in advance of the kickoff date. Creating a media kit that's on-brand with both the sponsor and the event creates a recognizable look that will get noticed across social media long before the event begins.


Many companies (including Heineken marketing for Coachella) begin the advertising process six months or more before the start of the festival. This allows plenty of time for potential attendees to begin associating the brand with the event. When the day of the event comes, attendees are expecting to be hit with heavily branded content, and often, they're excited about trying samples, checking out free swag, and getting the chance to purchase exclusive merchandise.

Building excitement around an event is key, and working with an alcohol sponsorship company is an excellent first step toward getting people pumped for your in-person, hybrid, or virtual event.


Essential #2: Be prepared.

For a mutually beneficial experience, it's key that both event organizers and sponsors work together to create a top-of-the-line experience for attendees. Working with an exclusive alcohol or food sponsor can help to simplify the process of meeting attendees' needs. 

Both event organizers and sponsors need to come together well in advance of an event to ensure that a plan is set in place for fast, speedy service. At large-scale events, some attendee needs (such as trash cans, bathrooms, and line organization) are overlooked, resulting in a poor customer experience. Working to manage attendee needs far in advance of an event can offer many additional branding opportunities for the sponsorship company, as well as the chance for annual events to show that attendee feedback from the previous year has been taken into consideration.


Essential #3: Make the sponsorship company an integral part of the event.

Serving beer, wine, liquor, or other products to event-goers is a fantastic way to drum up brand awareness, but creating a branded experience for attendees can help create a lasting positive memory of a brand. For example, at Coachella, the Heineken House offers a unique lineup. As attendees chat about the acts they're most excited to see, they wind up discussing the Heineken brand – over and over again. This creates a familiarity with the Heineken brand, enhancing attendees' preference for the beer. 


Naming a halftime show after a large sponsor, or naming a food item after a company that gave a major gift, can also go a long way in encouraging a sponsor to contribute again the following year. When companies see that event organizers are going the extra mile to ensure that their brand is highly visible during the event, it's clear that they're getting their money's worth by sponsoring the event. The more highly visible a brand is during an event, the more likely the company is to return to sponsor the event again the following year.


Essential #4: Create an exclusive product.

Creating a signature drink, experience, or product for an event can help attendees feel like they're getting something special – and can make them more likely to think positively of the brand in the future. Event organizers and sponsorship companies can work together to develop an offering that will be exclusive to the event. 


The sooner an exclusive product, service, or consumable is developed, the better. Including information about an exclusive offering in advertising materials for an event can boost interest, especially if attendees enjoyed the exclusive offerings that the event offered in the previous year. 

It can take time to develop the perfect exclusive product for an event. It can be fun to include board members and other large donors in the selection of the exclusive product. Reach out to set up a tasting or opinion panel with several options, allowing large donors to voice their opinions (and, in turn, hype up the new offering to potential attendees).


Essential #5: Remember – social media matters.

At Coachella, Heineken uses social media to draw attendees into exclusive offerings and to drop clues about artists that will soon be taking the stage. Utilizing social media before, during, and after events is a fantastic way to draw in your attendees. 

Social media use during an event also allows people who are attending a virtual event option to feel like they're a part of a crowd, even though they're unable to be there in person. This can also be a great option for a hybrid event, allowing attendees to feel in the loop even if they're not able to attend an entire in-person event.

In-Person Events Don't Need to be Complicated


At 6Connex, We're Here to Make Your Event a Success – Whether Your Event is In-Person, Virtual, or a Hybrid Combination of the Two

We know that figuring out your sponsorship options is just one part of your event planning process, whether you're creating an in-person music festival or you're hosting a hybrid or virtual academic conference. Our event tech professionals and management team are here to work with you to help you through all aspects of event planning with our online platform. 

Whether you're looking for an event app to enhance your attendee's experiences or you want to upgrade your current event tech, we're here for you. Reach out to us today to learn more about how our event management team can help make your event a success.

Now on-demand!

"Embracing AI in Events: Navigating Opportunities and Challenges"

Dive into the future of events with our insightful webinar, "Embracing AI in Events: Navigating Opportunities and Challenges,".  Join our esteemed speakers: Dahlia El Gazzar - Founder of DAHLIA+ Agency, Stephen Kaufman - Chief Product Officer at Inriver, and Henry Tran - CTO at 6Connex

Explore the transformative potential of AI in event planning, and engagement, and the challenges it may bring. Stay informed and inspired as we navigate the thrilling opportunities and challenges that AI brings to the dynamic world of events. 

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