Along with the airlines and the restaurant industry, no industry has taken a larger hit than experiential marketing and live events. Just take a look at Live Nation, that reported a whopping 98% drop in Q2 revenue comparing 2019 to 2020. In the early days of the pandemic and government shutdowns, most brands and producers postponed or cancelled their events for 2020, including SXSW, Coachella, E3, and the Olympics, while others opted to pivot to entirely virtual events, notably EDC, the NBA restart, and the Apple events.
As we've learned more about the virus, factors of transmission, and risk levels for certain activities, some brands and producers have concluded that the value of in-person experiences is too significant, and slowly, we are starting to see more and more live events and experiential campaigns take place. Here, we highlight a few of those that have pressed forward with live audiences:
1. One of the earliest notable events following the shutdowns was Dave Chappelle's 8:46 performance that was released on Netflix's YouTube channel in June, where Chappelle performed at a private event on an outdoor stage and touched upon upon the history of violence against African-Americans in front of a live audience of roughly 100 people, who were sitting socially distant from one another and wearing masks.
2. On September 22nd, Tesla held its annual shareholder meeting and Battery Day outside the Tesla factory with Elon Musk and Tesla executives speaking from an outdoor stage and the Tesla shareholders sitting in none other than their own Tesla vehicles in the factory parking lot. Due to the limited capacity of the event, shareholders were selected to join the event through a random drawing.
3. While many doubted the possibility of a safe open for the NFL due to its large player rosters and personnel staff necessary for each team, the NFL announced only 4 confirmed positive cases among players and 6 confirmed positives among other personnel out of a total 8,739 players and personnel combined before opening weekend on September 1st. While the league has taken safety precautions and rescheduled a few of the games, the vast majority of games have taken place on time and on schedule. Of the 32 teams in the NFL, 12 teams have fans in limited capacity in attendance (usually under 25%) at their large outdoor stadiums that permit fans to sit in socially distant groups: Miami, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Tennessee, Denver, Kansas City, Dallas, Carolina, and Tampa Bay. More cities are working towards allowing a limited number of spectators in the stands.
4. Just in time for Halloween, Netflix is taking its hit show Stranger Things from your home to the Drive-Into. Fans can purchase tickets to drive through the world of Hawkins and the ǝpᴉsdn uʍop in the comfort their cars in downtown Los Angeles.
5. It's being rumored that drive-in concerts are in the works by producers and performing artists, but rock band The Flaming Lips are taking things a step further. Already known for its frontman Wayne Coyne crowd surfing in his own bubble, The Flaming Lips recently held a concert in their hometown of Oklahoma City this October with every fan attending in his or her own bubble.