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BuzzFeed Plans ‘Kamp Kona’ Concert Tour to Drive Fans to Hyundai

BuzzFeed wants its readers to get away from the screen and to go outside.

The popular news-and-video site, controlled in part by NBCUniversal, is getting into the professional concert business – and it’s towing Hyundai along for the ride. A three-city music tour, “Kamp Kona,” will make stops in Santa Fe, Los Angeles and Marfa, Texas, headlined by electronica artist Dan Deacon. Attendees will get to look at some of Hyundai’s Kona vehicles, aimed as an offering to younger consumers looking to purchase their first SUV. Kamp Kona starts in Santa Fe on June 9, hits L.A. on June 16 and wraps up in Texas on June 23.

Many digital-media sites have made a big deal out of pivoting to video. But a host of big entertainment companies are making a different sort of twist. They are trying to extend their video-centric media brands into experiences that spur customers in their 20’s and 30’s to share views of and reactions to them on social media, which can also help any accompanying sponsors.

“We just can’y try to find them on TV. We have to find new approaches,” says Dean Evans, chief marketing officer for Hyundai Motor America, in an interview, speaking about younger consumers. In a digital world, many people understand marketers will study their media usage and seek out data that corresponds to the IP address of their smartphone or giant connected TV. That can only go so far, he says. “To really make an impact on your brand and really develop a brand with great strength you’ve got to at some point meet the people.”

Others are also testing new experiential concepts.  Viacom’s Comedy Central cable outlet is readying its second annual “Clusterfest,” a three-day festival that this year is supposed to include appearance by Jon Stewart, Amy Schumer, Trevor Noah and Tiffany Haddish, among others. Nickelodeon has a “Slimefest” planned for June in Chicago that boasts visits by Zedd, Flo Rida and JoJo Siwa. Refinery29 has offered its “29 Rooms” event, which gives participants access to a series of curated rooms designed by various artists. In May,the company told advertisers it intended to expand its live-events business.

Younger consumers are eager to untether themselves from digital behavior, says Ben Kaufman, head of BuzzFeed Commerce. “We are all so buried in our phones and our digital lives, and can get any meal delivered on demand,” he explains. “And we are not necessarily a species that is meant to be just at home. We like to explore. We like to find new things.”

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Of course, digital plays a role in linking advertisers to the Great Outdoors. During the Kona concerts, which kick off June 9 in Santa Fe, Hyundai and BuzzFeed will work to get visitors showing off their experiences – and some obvious attempts at marketing – to friends both far and near. Three Hyundai cars will be on site at each show, notes Jen Klawin, BuzzFeed’s senior vice president of brand strategy, and the media company will stream custom videos related to concertgoing in advance of the shows across its various sites. One talks about how to put together the right look for a music festival.

And of course, some ideas are simply aimed at generating viral pass-along. One on-site attraction, a “Ve-Lasso-Raptor,” presents a life-size dinosaur fans can try to lasso with a rope.

Hyundai did deep research into what a Kona buyer might look like, and determined its target loved music and Instagram, as well as discovering new things. The automaker wanted to harness those characteristics to generate more buzz for its car. A music festival seemed like an interesting concept, notes Jason Croddy, a group director of strategy at Canvas, a media-planning agency that is a joint venture of Hyundai and Horizon Media. “We are more interested in what we can get out of this in the form of content that we can share with a wider audience in our target, versus having a party that a few people can go to,” he says.  “We generally just wanted to create something new and cool and different that could be cashiered in content,” he says.

Hyundai believes in traditional advertising as well, but Croddy suggests reaching younger people requires a different mix of old-school marketing and new-tech outreach. Traditional media helps get the word out about a big event, but “it’s not the focal point like it used to be, especially with this target,” he says. “This is a target that is born and bred on mobile and social and thrives on experiences.”

People who listen to the tunes played during Kamp Kona could hear a lot more than music.

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