Brands are back, in a big way – literally
It was great to see so many brands on the grid after a Covid-induced hiatus. Clear ambition – and a desire for impact – saw imposing statement stands pop up from a multitude of brands, with some big boxes on display. Cars were given lots of space and surrounding areas were pared back to give the vehicles the spotlight, resulting in a bit of a motorshow vibe in many cases.
We saw the likes of Jaguar Land Rover, Tesla, Lotus and Polestar taking this route, with some premium finishes and lots of breathing room around the cars.
On a similar theme, but slightly smaller in scale, we liked the INEOS Grenadier stand. They used a natural material palette and container-based backdrop, creating something which looked sustainable in style and build, in order to showcase the new Quartermaster. Simple but nicely done.
From a design perspective, there were LEDs as far as the eye could see, on a grand scale! Screens can be an effective tool for visibility in such a busy environment, though we would have liked to see a bit more creative content that really popped. We saw a great example on a smaller stand of consumers being able to interact with the screen, playing a simple racing game, similar to some of the interactive OOH brand installations you see in big cities. 30 people interacting with each other, plus many more watching and supporting, showed its impact!
You’ve got to pump it up!
Every stand that had a DJ brought people in and had them smiling. The distinction between the more experiential spaces and the display-led, motorshow-style stands made the more interactive offerings naturally stand out, adding extra atmosphere and really putting the ‘festival’ in GFOS.
On this note, Hyundai made a lot of noise this year – not only crashing their concept car on the first day in dramatic fashion, but by bringing a 3 storey beast of a stand, including giveaways and lots of interactive ‘mini games’ to show off the new Ioniq 5 N. It was possibly the biggest stand at the festival, alongside BMW & Porsche, and with a massive terrace on the third floor, a central bar and a good viewing spot for the track and estate, there really was something for everyone.
Outside of the auto brands, eBay brought a vibrant, themed garage space that drew the crowds. The stand and its activations played on DIYers who use the site to repair and upcycle the cars they love. A traversable climbing wall stretched across one side of the stand, and, combined with playful bright colour scheme, it definitely caught our attention. A nice move from eBay, showing up at GFOS, and we thought it was well done.
Sustainability can take many different forms – materials, re-usability, logistics and much more – so it can be difficult to assess the sustainability credentials of the various activations in too much detail, but there were a couple of areas that stood out to us:
- Structures. With the festival infrastructure being essentially built from scratch, structures have a huge impact on sustainability here, as at other large festivals. The Heineken bar on the cricket pitch set a great example, being a completely recycled and reclaimed stand. The structure ballast was made from soil and plants and the timber was all saved from skips – all in all a very conscious stand that is re-used elsewhere too. Bravo.
- Giveaways. We saw contrasting approaches here. There was the utility play: blue ponchos were everywhere on the Friday, given away at one of the big manufacturer stands, sheltering people from the rain and providing great brand visibility across the site. We just hope they were recyclable… MINI went down an alternative route, giving away packets of wildflower seeds, which we’ve certainly taken away to plant! A very nice touch.
Overall, it was really positive to see so many great brands turning up, be it simply displaying their latest offering or creating something more experiential. For us, it was the brands that managed to add more life to their spaces – even in the simplest of ways – that stood out and created the strongest memories, and we’re looking forward to seeing how things evolve in 2024.
Looking for more inspiration? See how our award-winning, film-set style activation brought 60 years of MINI to life at Goodwood in 2019, encouraging dwell time and driving significant pre-orders for the new MINI Electric.