Battle of the Brands: Austin City Limits Music Festival 2016

This month, Austin City Limits (ACL) music festival took over the city of Austin for two entire weeks, bringing with it a great variety of talented artists, a runway-like display of festival fashion and most of all, a vast array of brands looking to gain further consumer buy-in by being present and accounted for during the festival.

Its not every day that Willie Nelson graces the stage just hours after Kendrick Lamar and Radiohead delivered their performances all on the Samsung stage, and it’s this last part, (the fact that it all happened on the Samsung stage) that highlights the branding competition at play during the festival.

From the seven sponsored stages donning such names as Honda, Cirrus Logic, Tito’s and Homeway among others, to the latest transportation, payment and dating apps, brands battled it out the past two weekends to leave lasting impressions on consumers.

Here are our top picks for the coolest brands on display this weekend:

  • RYDE and Venmo’s Pony up campaign – Who doesn’t like a free ride? Even more, if that free ride happens to come in the shape of a car that is wrapped in brown faux fur and has a Mohawk? RYDE, an Austin-based startup transportation service that uses branded electric carts to transport patrons around downtown Austin, teamed up with Venmo these past two weeks to shuttle ACL Festival attendees to and from the festival, in a pony-like car that read “Pony Up on Venmo.” This eye-catching whip was seen all across town and spread the message to consumers that Venmo and RYDE are the way to go.
  • Fasten’s and Bumble’s airplane banner displays – It’s a bird, it’s a plane! Ok, so maybe it was a plane circling the festival grounds, yet a great way for Bumble and Fasten to send the message out to consumers that their apps are out there to help schedule a ride home and perhaps meet that special person at ACL. If you’ve ever been to ACL, you know the big concerts get crowded really quick, so much so, that sometimes you have to turn your head to the sky to either find your friends’ flag or better yet find an advertisement that stands out above the rest.
  • ACL’s own Golden Porta Potty – An oldie but a goodie, ACL’s Golden Porta Potty has been making the rounds for two years now and is the topic of conversation before and during the festival. This is just what it sounds like, a Golden Porta Potty with air conditioning and a golden throne. Before the festival, this porta potty is placed around the Austin area for lucky consumers to stumble upon and find their “Golden” ticket to attend ACL. During the show, attendees are encouraged to look around the festival grounds to find the lucky porta potty wristbands for their chance to win access to the Golden Porta Potty for the rest of the festival.

ACL may be classified as a music festival but deep down the festival also provides the perfect stage for a battle of the brands, where one by one, brands play up their presence to get the consumer to pay attention to them.