H&M Coachella Activation Led By Collection Launch

To activate its fifth year as a lead sponsor of California music festival Coachella, H&M’s multi-channel campaign offered festivalgoers and fashionistas a comprehensive set of utilities, experiences and parties and once again used its sponsorship as a launch platform for a new collection and a new designer partnership.


H&M, one of the six lead sponsors for the 2014 event (alongside Red Bull, JBL, Fruttare, Playstation and Heineken), has activated by offering fans a slew of useful and usable festival services from free transport and fashion survival guides, to blogs and social/mobile support, plus essential festival product giveaways and music party experiences.


But more often than not the central pillar of its Coachella activation is to launch new collections.


This year saw H&M announce its latest star designer collaboration with Alexander Wang at the festival – generating news for both the brand and the event.


The New York based fashion designer will collaborate with H&M for a new apparel and accessories collection for women and men that will be available in 250 stores worldwide and online from 6 November 2014.


H&M is making a tradition out of using its Coachella rights as a platform for product releases and the retailer’s communications director Marybeth Schmitt says the festival is the ideal venue to launch new H&M lines.


‘It is extremely exciting for us to be able to reach a significant number of our target consumers,’ she says. ‘The music culture has always been a source of inspiration for our collections – music is the perfect complement to fashion.’


The high street retailer made the launch announcement at its Coachella party which was attended by festivalgoers, H&M consumers and stars such as actors Jared Leto, Robert Pattinson and Kate Bosworth and singers Katy Perry and Fergie.


After debuting a daytime party last year, festival sponsor H&M moved its flagship party to the showpiece Saturday-night slot in 2014.


The retailer took over a private, never-before-used event venue next to the festival grounds for a new late-night party called‘H&M Loves Music at Coachella’ – fronted by headliner Major Lazer and DJ sets by Jesse Marco.


The party was further promoted via H&M’s Facebook page.


The H&M party name links to the retailer’s ongoing ‘H&M Loves Music’ campaign, which sees it collaborate with many of the music industry’s hottest talents, and the brand typically spikes campaign activity around Coachella with festival-related content and new product promotions across all of its own platforms and channels from web video,



to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.


A new ‘H&M Loves Music’ campaign video, featuring superstar DJ Eclair Fifi, rolled out in the days leading up to Coachella as the brand launched its new summer sounds and clothes including the new H&M Divided collection.



H&M also used its festival rights to launch in 2014 Conscience Collection of eco-friendly clothing from its eco-friendly on-site Coachella tent.


The H&M Loves Music Tent at Coachella was also the venue for the retailer’s launch of its latest ‘Runway Remix’ initiative which sees the brand set out on a promotional college tour which gives participants a chance to star in an exclusive, brand-backed Kilo Kish music video





When it first began in 1999, Coachella was just a few music stages and a dance tent and tickets cost $65. It was all about the music.


Now, with tickets starting at $375 it has become a VIP and fashion early adopter hot spot with brands from Adidas and Lacoste, to fashion titles like Details and Harper’s Bazaar hosting offsite festival events for stylish celebrity guests.


Coachella has shifted from being solely about music, to become a blend of music and fashion – indeed the festival has become something of a season opening outdoor fashion week for its 100,000 attendees.


This shift is partly driven by and partly validates H&M’s lead sponsorship and exclusive Coachella fashion/clothing category rights.


Of course, H&M’s official status doesn’t stop some other fashion/clothing brands from hosting ambush parties and events near the official festival site as they hope that Coachella’s cool factor will rub off a little on their own brands.


Indeed, some of the brands taking this guerilla approach included Diesel, Guess, Lacoste and Armani.


The power of the platform for the fashion industry seems to grow ever stronger.


It’s not only a place for festivalgoers, fashionistas, celebrities and brands to show off their latest styles and Spring/Summer looks, but also for social media users to post, blog and tag those styles and looks – sharing them around the world.


The trend was further fuelled this year via the music and art festival placing on-site iBeacons around the Empire Polo Club grounds to enable sponsors and brands to push notifications and other information to festivalgoer mobiles as the pass certain points.


The 2014 Coachella mobile app uses Bluetooth-enabled, micro-location technology to deliver proximity-aware notifications, navigation and information to audiences across the festival site to enrich their experience (and help commercial partners engage).


Thus further expanding the use of Apple iBeacons after February’s decision by Major League Baseball to deploy beacons in 20 ballparks for this season’s Opening Day.



This trend further enhanced Coachella’s power and reach as a platform for publicity as well as the more usual music-led festival experiences.


Of course, there is a risk that this trend could take the spirit of the festival too far from its original musical roots.


It certainly looks likely that it will become increasingly common throughout the sponsorship space for partners to be able to disrupt fans experiences in this way.




H&M Loves Music Website



H&M Facebook



H&M Twitter



H&M Instagram



H&M Pinterest



Coachella Website




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