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The Hottest Activations from May 2024

by | June 11, 2024

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Well, boys and girls, festival season is officially upon us, meaning that the sponsorship activations are coming hot and fast. We’re also getting into summer movie season, so there are lots of fun examples of how brands used sponsorship to promote themselves. 

Here are my favorites from May 2024.


VELD Music Festival is based in my native Canada and celebrates electronic music. It’s the biggest festival of its kind and is hosted in Toronto. 

Fashion brand SHEIN had an activation at VELD worth discussing. Theirs was a pop-up that provided all the comfort busy, tired festival goers need. For instance, there was a space to sit and chill for a bit, cooling down from the heat (Toronto can get pretty toasty this time of year).

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Beyond the rest station, a classic activation for festivals, SHEIN offered an area dedicated to the hottest trends in fashion courtesy of the retailer, including clothing, beauty products, and accessories. Visitors could buy SHEIN fashion to get festival-ready right then and there or enter giveaways to win SHEIN goods.

I always tell my clients that you don’t need to reinvent the wheel for a successful activation, and SHEIN proves that. The refreshment/relaxation station for festival attendees is one of the oldest trick in the book, but it works because people always need a place to take a break.

SHEIN’s activation was also successful because it had exterior appeal to lure people in. The wood-structured walk-through featured bright colors and SHEIN’s name atop the relaxation zone. 

IHEARTCOMIX and Universal Pictures

As summer movie season begins, Universal Pictures is slated to release a horror movie called Abigail. To get people jazzed, it had an activation with IHEARTCOMIX, a content studio, called Girl Dinner. You know, like the TikTok trend. 

Except this one was anything but quaint and cutesy. The interactive, walk-through activation at Pasadena’s Batman Estate was exclusive in that only 150 creators were allowed to attend. 

The activation featured a large, antique dining room with a resplendent hanging chandelier and plush seating (although an overall creepy atmosphere, of course) and photo ops aplenty, including one where you could be photographed in a cage. 

The few lucky attendees were tasked with watching after Abigail, a vampire. To stay fresh during their babysitting duties, guests could sample the catered drinks and food and see movie branding. The activation featured several floors, with the grand finale on the rooftop.

There, guests were treated to Abigail dancing with a headless corpse. Gruesome, yes, but that was the point.

Nevertheless, this activation got people talking, as its social reach exceeded 430 million. That’s not bad for inviting fewer than 20 people. 

Exclusive activations like this always perform well because it triggers a person’s sense of FOMO. Think VIP areas that require a special credit card or wristband to get in. 

In this case, access was by invite-only, but still, that kind of thing drives curiosity. This was an excellent activation overall because it was more than just movie props and branding but a social experience designed to get people talking. 

M&M’s Sweet Tour at Various Locations

The candy that melts in your mouth, not your hands is always a welcome treat, which is why I love the traveling M&M’s Sweet Tour. It’s popping up at all sorts of premier summer events in 2024. 

For instance, in May, it was at the Gulf Shores, Alabama Hangout Fest between the 17th and 19th. Oh, and before that, it hit up the iHeart Country Festival in Austin on May 4th. 

In June, the M&M’s Sweet Tour will roll through New York’s Governor’s Ball Music Festival on the 7th through the 9th, then Bonnaroo on the 13th through the 19th and Summerfest in Milwaukee from the 20th to July 6th. 

Okay, so what is the M&M’s Sweet Tour, you ask? It’s a touring vehicle with plenty of chocolate-coated candy (which I’m sure you would have expected), but that’s only scratching the surface.

The M&M’s Sweet Suite offers guests interactive activities to engage in and the M&M’s Mixtape zone lets guests make sweet music (see what I did there?). There’s also live music courtesy of the tour in case you haven’t heard enough at your festival of choice.

The M&M’s Sweet Tour is coming to Six Flags theme parks, so it may become a more permanent installation. We shall see!

Shondaland and Netflix Bridgerton Promenade

Bridgerton is everyone’s obsession right now because Season 3 is out between May and June. Although the show didn’t need a lot of buildup, it got it anyway courtesy of television production company Shondaland and Netflix.

Their event, which took place in New York at the Gansevoort Plaza’s Regency marketplace, was a single-day shindig on May 11th. It featured plenty of flowers, unsurprisingly, in vibrant colors like oranges, pinks, purples, blues, and yellows. A green garden wall and branded arch completed the photo op.

Of course, that was far from all. The promenade was the place to be because guests could cop limited show merch, enjoy light refreshments, and listen to music performed by a string quartet while performers in authentic garb danced. There were also giveaways.

Besides capitalizing on what is already a very hyped-up return to the small screen, Netflix and Shondaland did this Bridgerton event right by making it only a single day and putting up exclusive merch for sale. That’s how you drive up attention and interest. 

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SailGP Preview Event 

Watersports racing hardly gets more thrilling than SailGP, as teams race foiling catamarans in grand prix races on seas the world over. The event is in its fourth season for 2024 and decided to promote the Mubadala New York Sail Grand Prix in major fashion on May 13th. 

SailGP hosted a preview event at the Hall des Lumieres with Little Cinema taking care of the projections the activation had. 

These custom projections on the building’s tall ceilings (which are 40 feet), floors, skylights, walls, and columns showed the history of the event (which started in 2019), the countries featured, and the teams.

It was a smashing way for SailGP to make its presence known and drive excitement for the event. 

Porsche Electric Garden Experience

The Met Gala, which is the first Monday in May, is one of the most esteemed and anticipated events of the entire year for its fun theming and star-studded festivities. However, it’s not solely about the celebrities. Brands also converge on New York around the Met Gala, such as automotive manufacturer Porsche.

They were on hand to showcase the Macan, its latest vehicular debut and an all-electric vehicle. The Meta Gala had given Porsche the prestige of being its official electric vehicle for the event.

The Macan’s color at launch, a hue called Provence, is a tie-in to this year’s Met Gala theme, is which is “Garden of Time.” 

The car was showcased at an Electric Garden, with Porsche Cars North America and Public School, an experiential agency, converging to put together the unique activation. The Electric Garden featured a dazzling, futuristic combination of fashion and florals, with the latter provided by The Floratorium. Models by State Model Management wore styles by Christian Siriano. 

Overall, the Electric Garden was a dazzling little slice of the Met Gala that was in-line with what the event was supposed to be without taking too much attention away from the stars. 

Glow Recipe at Disney Springs

Skincare brand Glow Recipe started summer early with its pop-up activation to drive up excitement for its Watermelon Glow Dew Balm. Its first appearance on its short tour was in Orlando’s Disney Springs for two days (the 10th and 11th) before moving on to Austin. 

The Glow Recipe pop-up had a touch-up station where guests were welcome to try the new SPF-infused balm. There were also photo ops, many giveaways, and ring toss to win Glow Recipe goods.

The pop-up could only accommodate 2,000 people at once, which already got people interested. Using smart VIP tactics, Glow Recipe allowed those who had recently bought their branded products at Sephora stores in the area to get in a special express line.

Wrapping Up 

And that about does it for May’s most stunning activations. The continuing innovation in sponsorship activations proves that it doesn’t always take a multi-million-dollar budget and over-the-top ideas to connect with audiences and drive results. 

Instead, it’s all about providing what an audience needs, whether that’s satiating their sense of FOMO, giving them exclusives, or even providing a place to rest and take photos. 

I hope these ideas have inspired you as much as they have me!