How the Glasto-Factor impacts Brands

Article first published

Written by Bob Sheard

Article first published on Campaign

Despite Glastonbury priding itself on being a non-commercial music festival, the reality is very different.

However, the commerciality of the festival is subtle, brands have avoided the more commonly used marketing channels and developed a more covert but effective way of promoting their products.

With more than 100,000 people expected to be at this year’s event, primetime TV coverage and A-list celebrity appearances, it’s safe to say major brands are going to be vying for attention.

Over the years however, major brands have become skilled at promoting their products subtly, thus in keeping with the traditional Glastonbury ethos, yet extremely effectively.

Glastonbury may not be overtly commercial but that does not mean to say it’s influence and impact on brands is negligible

The key to success

Success lies in avoiding the traditional marketing channels, knowing where the influencers are, and targeting them directly.

The key to branding at Glastonbury is not the TV exposure, it is not even the branding on in or around the main stages, or in any of the traditional ‘marquee corporate’ branding assets associated with other events.

The secret is the backstage access. Backstage at Glastonbury you have all the artists, journalists, acolytes and socialites – in effect the whole opinion leading community for the UK – and Andrew Marr.

Even though the communal spirit is alive and well at Glastonbury, there is a distinct fashion and cultural elite, a ‘Glaristocracy’ if you like.

These elite are the trend-setters, the fashionistas and the socialites who can make or break a brand with a single tweet.

If brands can establish a compelling presence here, among the ‘Glaristocracy’, then in theory, success should be in the bag.

One of the best examples of this was Hunter wellies. They successfully infiltrated the Kate Moss and co crowd and it made their brand internationally famous.

This tacit endorsement culminated in Kate Moss herself being photographed at the festival wearing a pair of Hunters as part of her ‘Glasto-chic’.

The Kate Moss effect

The Kate Moss effect saw Hunter’s sales go through the roof, and that’s when they called in our company, FreshBritain, to help them reform their brand focus.

We helped them reshape to cope with this immediate, almost overnight, international recognition.

The backstage enclosure is where the marketing power lies

What we were faced with was a brand that had a very traditional image associated with quality country living – a far cry from the muddy fields of a music festival. Don’t forget this is a brand that is by Royal appointment to the Queen.

The image we had to develop therefore, was one of quality mixed with versatility and heritage mixed with cutting edge fashion.

Working with them we developed the theme of Hunter being ‘outstanding in every field’, highlighting the brand’s excellence with other product lines whilst at the same time giving a nod to both Glastonbury and its traditional countryside heritage.

The Glasto-effect

The press coverage of Kate Moss in Hunters meant we could then leverage the Moss effect into all other areas of the brand platform and develop Hunter into the British powerhouse it is today.

As a result of this strategy and the Glasto-effect, Hunter was able to successfully launch a wider range of products as well as expanding their operations in the United States.

To conclude, Glastonbury may not be overtly commercial but that does not mean to say it’s influence and impact on brands is negligible.

The whole event is an example of conspicuous consumption that is driven by powerful elite of trendsetters.

The backstage enclosure is where the marketing power lies and this is where you will find brands falling over themselves trying to penetrate.

Just goes to show where there is mud there is money.

Article first published

Written by Bob Sheard