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Brands cater to millennials at Outside Lands 2015

Brands cater to millennials at Outside Lands 2015
Attendees at the Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival wander into the StubHub #NoMoFoMo tent. (Saba Hamedy / Los Angeles Times)

Libby Zupkow got to the second day of the Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival early to have more time to explore the venue.

Though she attended the festival last year, the 23-year-old said that this year one thing in particular caught her eye: the StubHub #NoMoFoMo tent.

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"We were walking by and they offered us free drinks and we said, 'Yes, absolutely,' especially since drinks here are too expensive," said Zupkow, who is from Novato, Calif. "I use StubHub to buy tickets all the time and today we were just wandering around and walked in."

That's exactly what StubHub, a sponsor of the festival, was hoping festival attendees would do when they saw the tent, decked out with a stage, benches to sit on and a booth for alcohol. The company said it is hoping millennials will avoid "FOMO," or fear of missing out, by checking out what was inside.

"We are really trying to activate millennials and bring them to our brand," said Justin Finn, head of event marketing for StubHub. "We look at the experience as a festival within the festival. It helps elevate us from a ticketing company to an entertainment brand."

Stubhub was among the handful of brands present in full force at the San Francisco festival, which is now in its eighth year. The companies were there to hand out free swag or offer festival-themed experiences to attendees.

Google, which is based in the Bay Area, boasted a huge booth at the festival filled with everything from a GIF booth to a "Braid Bar." Long lines of people waited to charge their phones or get temporary tattoos at the various Chromecast kiosks.

A person working at the on-site experience said it was Google's first time coming to OutsideLands, and that they hope to attract younger attendees as well as the tech-savvy.

"Visitors to Castland by Chromecast can take a break from the festival to cast music, videos, games and more to our Chromecast kiosks," a Google spokesperson said in an email statement. "They can also check out our style bar that treats festival-goers with temporary tattoos, braids, flowers and hair chalk. Our GIF photo booth gives them a chance to show off their new looks and be famous, since select GIFs will be featured on the big screens at Lands End and Twin Peaks stages in between sets."

Even attendees looking for water were exposed to brands. Camel Back sold water bottles for $15. Attendees could then refill them for free at stations over the course of the festival's three days.

In recent years, reaching the desired younger demographic has become more difficult for advertisers as millennials turn to online channels instead of TV and its commercials.

But festivals have become an ideal place for brands to attract high concentrations of young people willing to spend money -- or at least gather free swag. About 46% of music festival-goers are in the 18-34 age range, according to Nielsen data.

Similarly, this year's Coachella festival, with headliners AC/DC, Drake and Jack White, amassed a lineup of sponsors across all industries, including H&M, Sephora, Heineken and Spotify.

Nielsen Vice President Tatiana Simonian told The Times this year that weekend-long gatherings are attractive for sponsors because those traveling hundreds of miles and spending money for tickets to the show probably are spending more in other areas too.

For more news on the entertainment industry, follow me @saba_h

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