Interview: Broadwick Live lines up

In the 2015 Summer issue of  FMBE magazine, we tuned into Broadwick Live and its high voltage brand appeal, by interviewing the key players at the agency. Here’s a recap.

Entertainment agency and festival organiser Broadwick Live has created award winning travel and music events. The business, which has recently secured investment from Global Entertainment has accolades for its festivals including a best line up Festival Award for its critically acclaimed Festival No.6, a beautifully curated event in the iconic private village of Portmeirion, Wales that was headlined by Beck, London Grammar and The Pet Shop Boys in 2014.

With this expertise and with excellent brand experiences at its ski and music festival Snowbombing it was a go to agency when Bacardi wanted to pull off an extraordinary brand experience hosting 1800 VIPS in the Caribbean.

Bacardi Triangle

What was the most challenging part of the event to co-ordinate?

Bradley Thompson, Director, Broadwick Live:

We were briefed to come up with a big idea to deliver global impact for Bacardi, forcing massive reappraisal of the brand internationally. That is a huge challenge in itself. We knew a traditional campaign would not deliver the level of engagement and cut-through that the brief demanded. The Bacardi Triangle was designed to go all out and engage a global audience through their shared passion for music and adventure. We pushed the boundaries of the traditional festival brand experience and transformed it into a music travel adventure.

As for individual challenges, probably the toughest was the logistical and technical requirements of creating a music festival on a deserted paradise island in the Caribbean. There was no electricity, so we had to ship in all the necessary power, not to mention the staging, lighting, water and sound equipment. Plus the design was tailor-made for The Bacardi Triangle, consisting of a huge LED triangle towering over the stage along with an awesome full pyrotechnic show.

Transporting over 1,800 guests to the island from the Puerto Rican hotel where they were staying was also a major challenge, involving the careful coordination of the launch and arrival of a flotilla of boats.

Plus timings were very tight. This project had an incredibly short turnaround from concept sign off through to activation, and delivery was a matter of months. A less ambitious team would have walked away from the project on that basis alone, but we love a challenge and worked day and night to make it happen.

How exciting was it to work with such a music-centred brand as Bacardi?

Bradley Thompson, Director, Broadwick Live:

It was amazing! Throughout the 1920s prohibition era, Bacardi hosted some of the most legendary weekend-long music parties in history with people travelling from all over the US to Cuba. Almost a century on, we wanted to use this heritage to reignite that passion in the brand by rooting the activity firmly within Bacardi’s ‘Untameable since 1862’ positioning.

We knew we couldn’t just say we were untameable and be convincing. We chose a remote and stunning island seven miles out to sea from mainland Puerto Rico, right in the heart of the infamous Bermuda Triangle, tapping into one of nature’s most untameable forces, on the most untameable weekend of the year, Halloween.

Not many brands would have the courage to take something on as ambitious and bold as this, but Bacardi was right behind the idea from the start as it really brought to life the brand’s untameable positioning in such an authentic and real way.

Of course, it certainly paid off, with the experience becoming the brand’s most successful earned media campaign ever, reaching 6.7 billion people globally, achieved with less than 10% of our reach being delivered by paid-for media. The momentum was driven by user-generated amplification, broadcast and PR off the back of the experience. We delivered genuine brand engagement.

How was the event integrated with other marketing channels?

Bradley Thompson, Director, Broadwick Live:

An extension of the rum brand’s ‘Bacardi – Untamable since 1862’ campaign, the Bacardi Triangle multi-channel branded entertainment concept kicked off with strategic talent and media partnerships and a competition for consumers to win tickets to the experience, delivered through the personal fan networks of the three superstar artists (Calvin Harris, Ellie Goulding and Kendrick Lamar), who were set to perform at the event over three action-packed nights. Each performer also hosted the specially chartered flights from London, LA and New York, transporting the audience to paradise, pushing the boundaries of talent rights acquisition and celebrity endorsement. Overall there were 1,862 guests made up of artists, influencers, VIPs, press and competition winners.

We also negotiated and managed a global syndicated broadcast partnership with Viacom that saw us produce the content for an hour-long dedicated TV show, which was aired through the MTV and VH1 networks into over 195 million homes globally.

The Bacardi Triangle audience was immersed in the experience from the outset, with airport takeovers and branded planes.

Snowbombing

Broadwick Live’s Snowbombing festival in Austria has generally enjoyed good brand support. The festival is known for its creative initiatives and this year made a statement by going cashless for the first time using pre-pay RFID bracelets lined to cash accounts for party-goers.

What were the key brand promotions this year?

Alexander Bennett, Director, Broadwick Live:

The main one was for mobile operator Three, promoting its Feel At Home campaign. We are always keen to ensure are brand partnerships are well integrated into our shows for their benefit and to support the festival-goer experience. Three added to the fun of Snowbombing, delivering a series of fun backdrops across the festival for Snowbombers to create the ultimate selfie or group shot, and encouraging them to share their photos through social media. The result was an explosion of Feel At Home-themed Snowbombing photo-sharing across social channels, raising awareness of the campaign.

What did the key sponsor say?

Pippa Whybourne, lead comms manager at Three:

“Three’s Feel at Home campaign is about making Brits ‘Feel at Home’ when they are abroad to highlight the fact that they can use their mobile as if they were at home. Snowbombing is a great alignment for our brand as it’s a cool, exciting event.”

How did the cashless initiative work out?

Alexander Bennett, Director, Broadwick Live:

It went very well. Snowbomber’s RFID wristbands were linked to their own personalised online account, which could be charged up with cash before arriving. During the festival, festival-goers simply tapped their wristbands on scanners to buy drinks, food and merchandise. The wristbands also acted as the official entrance ticket to the festival.

This speeded up access to our venues and events, as well as purchasing, reducing queues. It also meant festival-goers didn’t have to worry about losing cash, so created a safer and more secure environment, helping make Snowbombing an even more memorable experience.

We were extremely happy with the technology and support our cashless partner Intellitix delivered.

What do Snowbombing fans say about this year’s event?

Alexander Bennett, Director, Broadwick Live:

We usually get some great comments, but they were amazing this year, which was special because we’d worked harder than ever to create an even better experience for festival goers.

Praise ranged from: “Honestly the best festival experience I’ve ever had,” and incredibly: “It was literally the best week of my life,” to emphasising the relationship building nature of the event and the togetherness it creates: “I love how Snowbombing makes people come together. Everyone just wants to ski/board and party, so you make friends for life.”

It was also great that people noticed the extra effort we had put in, with comments like: “The organisation was amazing, customer services on top form.”

 

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