Live Nation has never had an external agency of record and its in-house team appears to operate more like those found inside tech giants like Google or Facebook.
Wallach said that over the past eight years, his division has grown from a team of 125 working primarily in sales and media. Today, the team houses brand strategy, creative, a design team that Wallach said has created products for brands and helped bring them to retail, public relations, measurement and insights, and an innovation studio that works in AR, VR and other emerging technologies.
“Every year, we keep adding skill sets and capabilities to our team so we can continue to be the most-valuable partner to brands,” he said. “We have brand strategists and creatives who we’ve hired out of agencies and brands.”
Wallach said Live Nation uses its pool of consumer data and insights to help guide brands, not only on activating at its events but even in how to show up on social media. A Live Nation global study last year, for example, found that fans don’t like when brands “just parachute in.”
“I think 10 years ago, brands just wanted to show up with their inflatables and balloons,” Wallach said. “They wanted blimps. It was just throwing their brands in the middle of something.”
He said he’s seeing an increasing number of brands “looking for ways to enhance the experience for fans.”
“That’s a great way we work closely with brands,” he said, “in thinking about bringing the experience to life in an authentic way.”
Live Nation also has an online soundboard of music fans by whom brands are able run ideas and gain feedback on the advertising they plan to do at a particular event or venue, according to Wallach.
What may work for a camping festival won’t necessarily work for a 1,000-person concert hall.
At the recent Governors Ball Musical Festival (May 31 - June 2), attendees could go to footwear maker Asics’s booth to get a pair of customized sneakers and take a stop at the “neon-laced” photo booth set up there as well. At the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival (June 13 - 16) the brand will promote the annual “Roo Run” and have trainers in the campsite to host fitness and yoga classes.