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BEAUTY: Why Governors Ball is attracting beauty sponsorships

As festivals from Coachella to SXSW to even Create & Cultivate become popular influencer and brand awareness plays for beauty brands, Johnson & Johnson-owned hair-care brand OGX is doubling down on Governors Ball.

OGX will become the first official beauty sponsor of the New York City-based music festival, which runs from May 31 to June 2. As such, the hair-care brand has partnered with musical artist Njozma and video network Tastemade for multi-channel festival-related content to run during festival days, and will also unveil its OGXperts long-term ambassador program.

Comprised of five mega- and micro-influencers, like Kandee Johnson (1.8 million followers), Kahh Spence (75,000 followers), Jillian Halouska (11,000 followers), Franchelli Rodriguez (361,000 followers) and Julia Salvia (90,000 followers), the OGXperts will activate in a formal capacity for the first time at Governors Ball, creating social and digital content for the brand from the event, then throughout the rest of the year.

“Our millennial customer really identifies with music and goes to Governors Ball. Year-over-year, we have found ways to engage with her more, and this year, it was about expanding our content,” said Hanan Wajih, OGX North America senior marketing director. “We felt like this was an ownable moment.” Though OGX has participated in Governors Ball since 2017, Wajih said it doubled its investments this year to support earned media and influencers via the OGXpert program.

OGX continues to be a win for Johnson & Johnson. J&J’s consumer division is its smallest and saw a 2.4% decline in first-quarter results, but OGX drove beauty, thanks to its large geographic reach and channel expansion. According to market research firm IRI, as of April 21, OGX saw an over 6% sales boost to $416 million for the 52 weeks prior. Unit sales also increased by 7%. It is currently one of the most-searched-for hair-care brands, ranking 21, per Publicis Media and global search intelligence company Captify.

Alex Joffe, head of partnerships and media at Founders Entertainment, which is Governors Ball’s parent company, said that 60% of the event’s 150,000 attendees are female and fall between 21 to 34 years old — which is also OGX’s target audience. He said that festival hair looks continue to be a trend both at Governors Ball and on social, so appropriately, OGX’s styling activation, which includes free product, will be present throughout the festival. Product and styling bars will be available in the general admission area, VIP section and luxury cabanas, and also backstage for artists and their teams.

OGX saw over 20 million impressions from Governors Ball in 2018, and Wajih expects that to be higher this year with the implementation of the OGXperts. The timely ambassador program launch extends the hair-care brand’s learnings from last year’s event, when it saw lifestyle influencer Christine Bibbo Herr (nearly 30,000 Instagram followers) drive $5,500 of earned media value with six pieces of content for OGX between May and June, per Tribe Dynamics.

The ambassador program is intended to have larger implications for OGX, since it is expected to last at least for the year and more influencers could be added. For now, the OGXperts will be present at all brand events throughout the year, including Beautycon Los Angeles in August, and will be tasked to also co-collaborate on upcoming product.

“The OGXperts is a way to engage with our consumers on and offline,” said Wajih. “They are a way to talk to our audiences in a different way and also expand our network with their followers. It ensures that the consumer’s voice is heard in product development and marketing, and that we know what is at the forefront in beauty.”


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