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April 2024’s Awesome Sponsorship Activations

by | May 7, 2024

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Welcome! If you’re reading this, it’s officially May, which means we’re nearly midway through the year already. The sponsorship activations are heating up, which leaves me with the itch to share some of the most inspiring examples that occurred throughout April.

After all, you’re probably gearing up for a busy summer of sponsorship opportunities yourself, so the more activations you can see that have successfully played out, the better.

Let’s take a look, then!

Ed Banger & Friends in the Desert: Presented by House of the Dragon at Coachella

With an increasing number of brands staking their claim at the massive Coachella festival, it takes a special kind of activation to generate a buzz. Streaming service provider Max achieved such a buzz by partnering with Ed Banger, a house music label, to promote House of the Dragon.

The activation, housed at the OCA Estate, featured photo op using a stunning prop chair from the show. There was also a Remix Challenge using Beatport, a music hub, to see who could create the hottest beats for House of the Dragon.

Many of the biggest DJs dueled, including Pedro Winter and BLOND:ISH, Irfane and Breakbot, and Tiffany Tyson and Ana Calderon. It’s no wonder the stars came out to play, including major names like Mia Moretti, The Dare, and CJ Perry. 

House of the Dragon, being a Game of Thrones spinoff, doesn’t maybe need much promoting, but this activation succeeded because it was about more about the show itself. It also seamlessly integrated house and hip-hop, which is perfect for an event like Coachella.

Guests had so much to do, so the activation checked multiple boxes at once.

LG’s Transparent Conversations at the NCAA Men’s Final Four

LG had a busy April, as it appeared at the NCAA 2024 Men’s Final Four and had a separate Earth Day activation I’ll talk about a little later. For now, let’s chat about what it coined Transparent Conversations, a podcast series LG takes on the road.

LG and the NCAA teamed up to bring the podcast to the major basketball game. Transparent Conversations is geared toward student athletes in college and discusses mental health. The two-day activation let guests check out a live recording of the podcast in a studio branded with LG from top to bottom. 

Additionally, the activation featured lawn games like corn-hole and a question-and-answer session with the audience. 

This activation may be a tad simple, but to be honest, that’s what I like about it. It allowed guests a variety of activities designed to facilitate a better experience and learn about mental health on top of it. 

The Kitchen Pickleball Tournament at Coachella

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but pickleball is kind of huge these days. Like, really huge. It’s huge enough that it came to Coachella courtesy of The Kitchen, a pickleball community. They teamed with ENTER by Zev Norotsky to open The Racquet Club, a spot on the Coachella grounds for playing the increasingly popular game. 

If you didn’t bring your pickleball outfit or didn’t necessarily want to get all sweaty by playing, there was plenty more to experience at The Racquet Club. The Pointer Brothers hosted, there was a poolside lounge, and bountiful snacks and drinks were available courtesy of an open bar.

Beyond that, guests could listen to music and do some shopping. For instance, Visto Visors sold its visors and hats, which are geared toward tennis, golf, and pickleball players. 

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In other words, there was a little something for everyone. An activation about pickleball is already going to attract a massive crowd. After all, The Kitchen was at Coachella last year, so it knew the lay of the land by now.

However, offering more than only pickleball allows anyone who wants a little something extra to enjoy this activation. 

American Eagle Café Pop-Up Event

You never know where you’ll see popular retailer American Eagle next. For example, the clothing brand rolled up into Austin for two days (between April 4th and 6th) with a pop-up café promoting its Back to Blues denim marketing campaign with CNC Agency. 

The American Eagle Café was a spacious 400 square feet and served pastries and Jo’s coffee for free. Also showcased were the latest AE denim looks as part of the new collection. To further promote the denim goodness, CNC and Revision Goods made 1,500 custom coffee sleeves entirely of denim reclaimed from American Eagle.

The denim coffee sleeves feature the American Eagle name on it and are certainly a collector’s item if you were lucky enough to snag one.

If you weren’t, you could always buy the AE denim wear that was on sale at the two-day pop-up. 

Limited-edition events always go over like gangbusters because they activate a person’s sense of FOMO, or fear of missing out. When you combine that with free stuff (in this case, food and drinks), I’m not surprised AE’s activation performed well.

Capitol Records and Interscope’s Coachella Party at Coachella

The much-celebrated Interscope and Capitol Record’s Coachella party in Palm Springs happened again this year. It’s been an annual event for some time, but it’s private, so only certain VIPs are allowed. 

There was tons to do. For example, Orbit Gum had a Wall of Enchant-Mint featuring faux shrubs. Real human hands would pop out and give Orbit fans and gum. Maybe a bit odd, but definitely unique.

Besides that, there was the Skechers Comfort Lounge, which featured plenty of custom Skechers Hands Free Slip-In shoes in collaboration with James Goldcrown, an artist. Snoop Dog, which has collaborated with Skechers, was also well-represented, with his shoes for sale as well. 

With so many activations and only a small audience allowed to experience it, it’s no wonder the Coachella Party continues to be a staple of the event!

LG’s Endangered Animals Overlook in New York City for Earth Day 

Getting back to LG, its Endangered Animals activation in Times Square, New York City is a permanent installation. The billboard houses a 3D effect using depth illusion. When you look at it from certain angles, you can see digital animals popping out of the screen.

Of course, this is for more than mere beauty and coolness. You’ll notice something in common among the animals featured, such as reindeer, Galapagos sea lions, and bald eagles. That’s right, they’re all endangered. 

LG continues to do its part to bring awareness to these species on Earth Day, using its remarkable technology to achieve it. 

TUMI at Coachella 

TUMI is known primarily for its luggage, but it recently unveiled a golf collection. What better place to promote its new products than at Coachella? Of course, TUMI wanted to make an impact, so it debuted a putting green. 

Just like the pickleball activation at Coachella, if you weren’t an avid golfer, there was still plenty of reason to check out this activation. For example, eos partnered with TUMI, creating an activation featuring its beauty essentials, hand massages, and desserts. All this was offered poolside!

Further, Golden Road brewing and Espolon Tequila had a Mango Cart with fresh adult refreshments, and Truth Barbeque provided lunch. 

What I also love about this activation is how green it is. No, not literally. TUMI worked with Analog, which created and produced the activation. Any product that wasn’t consumed by the end of Coachella went to the church program in Palm Springs. The activation’s scenery was recycled, its waste was composted in collaboration with Compostable LA, and the event used clean battery power. 

Pura’s Take Me There Fragrance Experience 

Pura, which produces smart home fragrance diffusers, knows a thing or two about relaxation. That much was evidenced by its Take Me There Fragrance Experience, an activation produced with AKJOHNSTON in Seaside and Jacksonville, Florida. 

The activation attracted nearly 1,000 attendees for both dates of the event. The first time the Take Me There Fragrance Experience popped up was in Jacksonville on the beach on April 6th, followed by Seaside near Bud & Alley’s on April 12th

So, what was the Take Me There Fragrance Experience? It was an opportunity to smell the Pura 4 smart fragrance diffuser, and other Pura products. Guests also received a special promo, prizes, drinks, and branded merch. 

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A pop-up on the beach (even though that was only the case for the Jacksonville activation) is going to grab attention no matter what, but Pura didn’t choose the Jacksonville beach just to do it. It’s a spot that perfectly achieves its goal of relaxation and memorable fragrances. 

Heineken House at Coachella

Heineken has served as a Coachella sponsor for more than two decades, so the continuation of the Heineken House is not altogether surprising but is still impressive. The activation rocked the house during the first weekend of Coachella, hosting Bob Sinclair, Lupe Fiasco, T-Pain, and more for live performances. 

Fat Joe led the second weekend, giving guests two weeks of performances. 

But c’mon, you had to expect more, and indeed, there was. Heineken had some interesting beer on tap, including Heineken 0.0 and Heineken Silver. 

This activation is always a winner, and the Coachella and Heineken partnership is rock solid. 

Kiehl’s High Line Public Art  

Another Earth Day activation came from Kiehl’s, a body care and skincare brand. They teamed up with Benjamin Von Wong, an artist from Canada, to produce an art piece on the High Line in New York City. 

The sculpture, which looked like a towering pile of garbage, weighed two tons, all made of single-use plastic. It featured messages such as #DontBuyJustRefill, “Refill>Single Use Plastic,” and “Progress Over Perfection.”

Kiehl’s realizes the part it played in perpetuating single-use plastics in decades past and is now trying to raise awareness of their dangers.  

818 Outpost Pop-Up at Coachella

818 Tequila, a brand spearheaded by Kendall Jenner, is no stranger to Coachella. However, in 2024, it shortened its time at the festival to only one day. 

The limited-edition 818 Outpost pop-up had a Western feel. The saloon, which was in operational order, served Chamberlain Coffee, Olipop soda, Sprinter Vodka Soda, and of course, cocktails made with 818 Tequila.

Besides that, partners like Liquid I.V., Vacation Inc., Lemme, and Zico were also on hand at the activation. Anastasia Beverly Hills had a makeup station for touching up one’s hot look, snacks were for sale at Gopuff, photo stations were available at Tezza, and there was a station for bedazzling a custom cowboy hat at Bumble.

818 Tequila has enjoyed a continued partnership with Coachella in part because of smart activations like these. Even if you didn’t drink, there were enough experiences awaiting you that you would want to spend some of your time here.

The limited-edition-ness of the 818 Outpost also drove up engagement.  

Red Bull Acrobatic Planes During the Solar Eclipse

You could count on Red Bull to celebrate the 2024 solar eclipse in style. Pete McLeod and Kevin Coleman, acrobatic pilots, flew over Sulphur Hills, Texas in conjunction with Red Bull as the eclipse was occurring. 

The wings of the planes had reflective wrapping so you could see their outlines even as the sky went dark. The planes were 1,500 feet up and flew very close to one another (I’m talking just four feet of space between them), following the same formation. 

Since solar eclipses are so infrequent, this was quite a special opportunity that Red Bull expertly capitalized on. It took the pilots and a team of photographers a lot of teamwork to achieve the activation, but I’d say it was more than worth it.  

Sonic Desert at Coachella

Topo Chico and Coca-Cola Spiced, in an arrangement with BPM Music, presented the Sonic Desert at this year’s Coachella. The event at the 21 Arrows Ranch had all sorts of things to behold.

One was the Desert Garden, which showcased how artistic Smartwater and Coke products could be when upcycled, especially when combined with Lauren Altman Studio up-cycled fashion pieces. 

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Austin Millz, a BMP Music star, performed live for the crowd, who stayed refreshed by drinking Topo Chico mineral water and Coca-Cola Spiced soda. 

Bio-Techne at the American Association for Cancer Research Show

At April’s American Association for Cancer Research Show, BlueHive Exhibits built an activation for Bio-Techne, a software company. Theirs was 30 by 50 feet and featured more than 500,000 products on display.

The goal for Bio-Techne was to showcase its brands while celebrating their individuality. Further, Bio-Techne wished to advertise its workflow solutions and their graphics and scalability. That’s why the sponsorship activation utilized a coil-like structure with an abstract design. It was meant to represent Bio-Techne’s continued commitment to innovation in science and tech. 

CELSIUS Energy Cosmic Desert at Coachella

The CELSIUS Energy Cosmic Desert event by energy drink brand CELSIUS hosted its Cosmic Desert event to promote its Space Vibe Trilogy, which includes Galaxy Vibe, Cosmic Vibe, and Astro Vibe flavors.

Besides the sweetly-flavored energy drinks, the CELSIUS Energy Cosmic Desert had space theming everywhere, including planets in the nearby lake bobbing and floating. DJ Xanadra, Two Friends, and T-Pain performed. 

Plus, it was a great activation for stargazing, with the likes of Megan Fox, Charli D’Amelio, Emma Roberts, and Barry Keoghan popping up. 

Adidas Futbol Society

With the 2024 Major League Soccer season getting underway in May, Adidas debuted its Futbol Society in Latinx communities across the country this April. The activation is about soccer’s culture and history.

This high-class activation was an excellent opportunity to learn about the South American men’s soccer tournament Copa America, which hadn’t had a presence in the US since 2016.

The Futbol Society also had retail elements. 

Some of the destinations on the Adidas Futbol Society tour were Los Angeles and Miami. The pop-up was only available for a day to three or four tops, which you already know brings out the crowds. 

Gallery Desert House Presented by Patron at Coachella

The Gallery House by Gallery Media, a lifestyle publisher, teamed up with Patron to present the Gallery Desert House at Coachella. Influencers were on hand, but they weren’t the only ones. 

The lucky attendees of the Gallery Desert House got to enjoy luxury shopping, pool parties with a retro-futuristic blend, astrology readings, a hot tub, bracelet welding, signature drinks and specialty refreshments, live music, lounge daybeds, and art, including oversized art installations.

Besides its idyllic spot along the Indio Mountains, the Gallery Desert House was so jam-packed with activities that boredom was never an option, even for a second. 

Phish at The Sphere

Phish, a jam band that needs no introduction, played at Las Vegas’s The Sphere for four nights in late April. The venue, which is 160,000 square feet, featured a 16K LED screen that Phish filled to the brim with well-timed colorful, spacey images. Talk about spacey! 

NYLON House at Coachella 

I couldn’t discuss a list of April activations without mentioning the NYLON House at Coachella on the Cavallo Ranch. This exclusive Palm Springs event by NYLON’s publisher, BDG, also brought the stars in droves, from Simu Liu to Megan Fox and Billie Eilish.

Artists like Tinx & Lucas, BLOND:ISH, and Sofi Tukker kept the beats going all night long, while Smirnoff ICE kept guests’ bellies filled. 

Kate Spade New York was one of several sponsors of the NYLON House. The brand put together an infinity room with mirrored walls and multicolored florals everywhere the eye could see. Got2B had a Remix Styling Hub where guests could try its Color Remix Line and get their hair festival-ready with bright colors and styles. 

Wrapping Up 

Whew! April certainly had more than its fair share of sponsorship activations, especially from Coachella. As the examples showcased, activations don’t have to go crazy to succeed. Rather, providing something the audience needs, such as fun, refreshments, and shopping, makes for a five-star activation people will talk about for a long time!