Through New Year's Day, we are counting down the year's best brand ideas and campaigns.
No. 13: Just as agencies, marketers and various organizations were in the midst of canceling or trying to rethink events and experiences during the pandemic, rapper Travis Scott went on a blockbuster tour—in Fortnite. Over five days in April, his “Astronomical” event saw more than 27 million unique players attend and set a benchmark for experiential marketing at a moment when it seemed experiential was out of the question.
As brands have been scrambling to figure out how to rethink their experiential marketing during the pandemic, it seems rapper Travis Scott has already figured it out with his “Astronomical” music tour.
The event featured a massive hologram of Scott that saw him using a whole island as a stage while "performing" a 15-minute set and taking different forms, from a cyborg to a spaceman, against. dazzling backdrops. The experience amassed 12.3 million simultaneous views the first day of the event, with a total of more than 27 million unique players attending during the five-day experience. (A political advisor even cited it as a possible example to follow for the Democratic National Convention this year.)
The effort helped propel a newly-released single for The Scotts (Scott’s collaboration with Kid Cudi) to No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. It was also tied to a massive merchandise drop, which included everything from action figures to Nerf guns. While this wasn't the first in-game concerts in Fortnite—Marshmello pioneered the space in 2019 with his much-buzzed about event— Scott's tour set a new benchmark with its reach and showed marketers and advertisers how impactful a presence in gaming or virtual worlds can be, especially at a moment when they're likely the only option they have right now for experiential campaigns.