Looking to engage young customers this summer? Try hosting Music Festivals

Key takeaways:

  • Mizone Sports Water created a series of innovative interactive experiences at music festivals.
  • Grounded Mixue Ice Cream & Tea strengthened its brand image through exclusive music events.
  • Music festivals organised by Douyin (China’s TikTok) and Xiaohongshu (RED) achieved synchronised interaction both online and offline.

In recent years, music festivals have continued to rise in popularity and have even become an important economic source for urban cultural tourism. According to the 2020-2024 China Music Festival Market Development Research Report, 560 festivals took place in 2023, with both May Day and National Day Golden Week being prime times for intensive music festival activity. The top three festival cities of the year were Qingdao, Hangzhou, and Chengdu. Music further permeates local scenic spots, small towns, and cultural tourism towns.

More and more brands are discovering the significant traffic that music festivals can generate and are using them as a means to engage with young people. Through sponsorship or by becoming organisers, brands can achieve substantial exposure in a short period, which is conducive in increasing brand awareness among young consumers. Additionally, by leveraging the fans of singers and stars, brands can enhance their popularity and goodwill among these fanbases, which in turn can lead to sales conversions.

Innovative interactive experiences

At the recently concluded Strawberry Music Festival in Changsha in June, Mizone created a series of innovative interactive experiences. A group of over 185cm tall individuals with striking appearances, dressed in uniforms, scouted the crowd for audience members in “poor condition,” offering them Mizone Sports Water to “revitalise”. These audience members were also invited to enjoy the coolness under the waterfall to help them recover and return to the festival in high spirits. This interactive game ignited the enthusiasm of the fans on the spot and reinforced the brand message that “Mizone means ending all boredom and sleepiness.”

“Mizone means ending all boredom and sleepiness.”

Fans could also receive various refreshing items such as hand fans by playing games on-site. Additionally, Mizone utilised Xiaohongshu as the main platform for communication, inviting influencers to participate in on-site activities and encouraging fans to share their real experiences. This strategy helped stimulate active sharing among fans, creating a seamless offline-to-online communication path and increased the event’s social media presence and discussion.

This year, Mizone partnered with the Strawberry Music Festival in Beijing, Hangzhou, and Changsha, with interactive experiences at each location continuously upgraded.

Enhance brand personality

For the brand, the festival site is a multi-dimensional promotional space. The event logo, stage venue, banners, and other promotional materials such as roll-up banners, umbrellas, and peripheral products can all serve as promotional mediums between the brand and consumers. At Mixue Ice Cream & Tea Music Festival, the main stage featured the largest Snow King model, nearly 20 metres tall, alongside an 8-metre-high inflatable Snow King and bouncing Snow King dolls. These eye-catching displays frequently triggered cheers from the audience.

In April 2023, Mixue Ice Cream & Tea, known for songs such as “Mixue Ice Cream & Tea Sweet Honey” (蜜雪冰城甜蜜蜜), held an exclusive music festival. The brand invited popular singers among young people to perform. The most notable aspect of this festival was its ticket pricing. Known for its cost-effective products, Mixue Ice Cream & Tea set the festival ticket price at 199 RMB (approx. 27.38 USD), cheaper than early bird tickets for many other festivals. This pricing strategy led netizens to joke about the brand “rectifying the sky-high price of festivals”, aligning with Mixue Ice Cream & Tea’s image as a friendly and accessible brand.

Mixue Ice Cream & Tea sold the festival ticket at a pretty low price.

In addition, Mixue Ice Cream & Tea introduced new products through trial activities at the festival. Consumers could follow a map around the event site, collecting stamps to receive limited edition merchandise. On Weibo, the topic #Mixue Ice Cream & Tea Music Festival# reached 79.41 million views, highlighting the high level of market interest.

Platform’s own advantages

As for the music app Douyin and social media platform Xiaohongshu, organising a music festival allowed them to leverage their unique advantages, linking online and offline simultaneous promotion, and deeply integrating content resources.

Online and offline simultaneous promotion and deeply integrating content resources.

In June this year, Douyin created a music festival IP for the first time: the Nice Planet Music Festival. It capitalised on the unique advantages of the Douyin platform, adopting a format of simultaneous online and offline livestreaming. The festival showcased a variety of styles including pop, rock, folk, and rap across different stages over two days, and featured a diverse gathering of creators from various fields. The site also collaborated with ByteDance’s (Douyin’s parent company) other products, such as Ulikecam, CapCut, to create an offline exhibition area, offering various fun interactive games to create a relaxed and engaging experience for fans.

Xiaohongshu also held the Slow People Music Festival in June, inviting several well-known slow music artists to perform together for the “slowest” music festival in history. To allow more users who couldn’t attend in person to experience the festival atmosphere, Xiaohongshu also hosted a livestream. Users could search for “Xiaohongshu Slow People Festival” on the platform and enter the “Slow People Tribe” app to become certified slow people. Through this IP, Xiaohongshu aims to help people rediscover the power of feeling in real life and provide users with the inspiration to “allow me to return to myself”.