How Wheat Thins Tied Digital to Bonnaroo Music Fest

Wheat Thins’ recent sponsor relationship with the Bonnaroo music festival included a Facebook campaign, video production on-site, and a new Twitter handle. All channels attempted to take advantage of the captive audience of 80,000 people that lived on-site in Manchester, Tenn. during the event’s four days.

Much of the sponsorship revolved around the “Crunch Den,” an air-conditioned tent in which festival attendees were able to sample Wheat Thins and talk about their experiences in video confessionals. Montages of fans interacting with the Crunch Confessional along with fan reactions to the experience are now on Wheat Thins’ Facebook fan page in a series of Bonnaroo highlight videos.

“You [could] come in, get out of the sun, get a Wheat Thins snack and see content from the stages,” said Chad Issaq, VP of partnerships at Superfly Productions, which produces the festival.

According to Leslie Waller, brand manager for Wheat Thins, the Crunch Den also included a digital kiosk in which participants could create their own artistic content and send video postcards to friends. Wheat Thins’ Facebook fan page has additional exclusive digital content as well.

What’s more, Wheat Thins sponsored several pop-up performances by artists like Diane Birch and Mayer Hawthorne and the County. Film crews followed the artists and that content was distributed on Facebook as well, Issaq said.

And several weeks ago, Wheat Thins offered fans a chance to win a trip to Bonnaroo as well as VIP access to the event. Waller said the prize package included airfare, VIP viewing for all acts, RV accommodations, a VIP meal package, and a $250 gift voucher for the winner and three friends. Wheat Thins’ Facebook fan page has over 88,000 fans.

Wheat Thins also asked festival-goers to follow @CrunchisCalling on Twitter to learn more about additional prizes onsite. However, the handle only managed to amass 276 followers.

Why go to all this trouble?

Waller said, “Last fall, we set out to reinvent Wheat Thins through several important product quality improvements, new advertising, and new packaging that celebrates the experience…of Wheat Thins.”

However, Issaq said it’s all about logistics.

Brands that advertise at Bonnaroo are “enhancing the experience of concert-goers,” but are also taking advantage of a captive audience, he said. 80,000 people come to Manchester for four days. That makes the festival one of Tennessee’s biggest cities for nearly a week.

Issaq noted Bonnaroo does not have corporate sponsorships for its stages, but rather allows brand partners to advertise in other venues.

Other Bonnaroo sponsors include Canon, Ford, and Garnier – which had an onsite salon and handed out samples of body wash, shampoo and conditioner at the showers.

Ford hosted some workshops in which different bands talked about their craft in a Q&A format in the Fiesta Garage. The automaker was also the exclusive sponsor of the live Bonnaroo webcast on YouTube, where fans were able to watch artists like Jay-Z, Dave Matthews Band, Regina Spektor and Norah Jones.

According to Google, Ford drove viewers to YouTube through a brand channel, search, a mobile site takeover, and the Google Content Network (Recently renamed the Google Display Network). In doing so, it aimed to connect with prospective Fiesta customers who are consuming this content on YouTube.

As part of the sponsorship, Ford also provided 25 vehicles to use for transportation of staff and artists.

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