Clear Channel Bows iHeartRadio Festival
Clear Channel Entertainment and Media is hosting its third annual iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas this weekend, and a dozen major advertisers are getting in on the action with high-profile, custom-created sponsorship activations, including experiential marketing events featuring novel ice cream combinations, silent discos, and plenty of Justin Timberlake.
First up is 20th Century Fox Regency’s promotion for Timberlake’s own movie, "Runner Runner," which premiered Wednesday night at Planet Hollywood. The studios held a sweepstakes (with on-air spots voiced by Timberlake) giving away a free VIP weekend at the festival, including a chance to walk the red carpet with Timberlake and costar Ben Affleck, followed by front row seats for Timberlake’s performance at the festival.
The multitalented Timberlake is also chief creative officer for the launch of Anheuser Busch’s Bud Light Platinum, which includes a branded VIP lounge behind the main stage, designed with creative input from pop star-turned-actor and Internet entrepreneur.
Unilever’s activation aims to build awareness for Fruttare, a European ice cream brand featuring an unusual pairing of fruit and milk, by recruiting two artists who would not usually work together to collaborate on a song. The (suitably unusual) duo of Cher Lloyd and Ne-Yo produced a song, “It’s All Good,” which they will perform at the festival; Fruttare is also hosting a “misting tent” with -- you guessed it -- free ice cream.
The iHeartRadio festival is also the culmination of the “Rising Star” band contest created by Macy’s. Earlier this year, the retailer hosted performances by 20 bands at Macy’s stores, then invited fans to vote for their favorite. The winner, Summer Set, garnered 5 million unique votes and the chance to be the festival’s opening act Friday night.
In what may be the festival’s weirdest experiential marketing event, Smirnoff Vodka is hosting a “silent disco” -- a dance party where all the participants wear Bluetooth headphones supplied with tunes by live DJs. Smirnoff will also be distributing cocktails made with its new flavors, Wild Honey and Cina-Sugar Twist.
The iHeartRadio Music Festival also features promotions by Pepsi, State Farm, MasterCard, the It Can Wait anti-texting campaign (co-sponsored by AT&T and Verizon) and the CW, among others.