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Beacons + music fests = no more beer lines?

By Amanda Parker, media planner

I think one of the universal tells of a media person is that we can’t turn “it” off. Maybe this is true for anyone who is passionate about their job, but when your job is figuring out how to effectively reach people, there are a lot more triggers that send you down the rabbit hole.

Case in point is this WashPo article about a Canadian band called City and Colour that is using a personalized app and beacons to engage with fans at their shows. Their app was made by a company called Volu.me, and the beacons were created by Estimote. The band deployed beacons at their concert, and used them to upgrade fans from the back of the balcony to front row. And Volu.me is looking in to additional possibilities for apps and beacons at concerts, including automated merchandise ordering or line monitoring for bathrooms and beer at music festivals.

All of that sounds great to me, but before I could get excited about cutting my wait time for a Shiner at ACL my brain was already thinking of applications for national clients. Some of the coolest media executions are experiential, however, measurement and reach can make them hard to justify with a national audience. Beacon technology could be the answer; especially if it’s sold at a manageable price point and can be reused from one event to the next.

Photo: Austin American-Statesman

Imagine being a sponsor at ACL. If this technology was integrated into the app everyone uses to keep tabs on the line-up, brands could send push notifications to thousands of concert-goers when they walk by sponsored stages encouraging them to tweet a picture of Lorde for a chance to gain access to the VIP tent. The result? Instant amplification, expanding the brand’s reach far beyond Austin, and an awesome experience for a lucky fan. And, with a similar beacon in-store, the ability to track who from the festival actually became a customer. What’s better than that?

Gap used similar beacon technology last year at Lollapalooza, but I love the idea that with Estimote you don’t have to be a Gap to get in on this cool tech. You can be just about anyone – a musician, a telecom company, a start-up. Oh, the brand touchpoints and measurability possibilities are endless. Who needs shorter beer lines when you’ve got media accountability!

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