V-Fest: Fly on the island

These days, you can't go to a music festival without having to navigate through countless 'brand experience' stations and street teams. And September's Virgin Music Festival - a grade A brand experience itself - was no exception. Strategy sent a member of the target market - me, 24 - to join the 30,000 hipsters on Toronto Island and report back on other promo hits and misses.

These days, you can’t go to a music festival without having to navigate through countless ‘brand experience’ stations and street teams. And September’s Virgin Music Festival – a grade A brand experience itself – was no exception. Strategy sent a member of the target market – me, 24 – to join the 30,000 hipsters on Toronto Island and report back on other promo hits and misses.

Hit * Energizer

Definitely an underdog in this race for hipster brand experience supremacy, Energizer busted out its A-game for the fest, boasting perhaps the most consistently busy booth. The battery co kept it simple with a spin-the-wheel contest. Since every spinner was a winner, the line was always long to score the pragmatic prizes – disposable binoculars, batteries or, the grand prize, an MP3 player. Nicely done.

Miss * Pizza Pizza

‘God, I wish that stupid helicopter would just leave already,’ griped one of my friends. I looked up to see a helicopter circling the island, flashing the message, ‘Got the munchies? Pizza Pizza. 967-1111.’ While the technology is cool (when standing right below the helicopter, all you can see is bright lights blinking the message against the dark night sky), the noisy helicopter irritated many concertgoers.

Hit * Bacardi

The Bacardi B-Live tent had prime real estate near the main stage, enabling easy access to check out DJs and sip Bacardi cocktails during band set breaks. Set up like a club – complete with a dance floor, cushy couches and even decorative palm trees, the tent was a great break from the muddy grass. And, the lineup was impressive – Bacardi worked with talent agency Live Nation to land prime artists like Louie Vega, Kenny Glasgow and my own personal favourites, Amon Tobin and MSTRKRFT.

Miss * Harley-Davidson

Not even Richard Branson gallantly taking the main stage on a Harley could land this brand street cred at the fest. While there was nothing inherently wrong with the co’s festival efforts, which included a ‘get your picture taken on a Harley’ aspect, it was just wrong for the target. No self-respecting hipster would be caught dead posing giddily on a Harley – unless, of course, it was for an ironic ‘Hoff’-style pose.