How do you expand upon a millennial-driven narrative surrounding a festival sponsorship and create an authentic dialogue that stays true to BMW i and Coachella cultures, while transforming a local sponsorship into international buzz?


Coachella has long been one of the largest music festivals in the world and a hotbed of fresh, sustainable, and progressive ideas. As an official partner of Coachella for the second consecutive year, BMW i continued to explore new experiential platforms in presenting the Road to Coachella, a campaign that seamlessly blends music, inspired design, technology, sustainable mobility, and the journey that fans and artists take on their own road to Coachella. Last year, our campaign introduced BMW i into the fabric of Coachella while this year, BMW i returned to the desert with a larger and more expansive social media, digital influencer, and live event experience to further drive the BMW i conversation.



The campaign focused on the following:

  • Create an organic relationship with a Coachella headliner
  • Create an authentic conversation between BMW i and the Coachella audience
  • Seamlessly integrate the BMW i vehicle fleet into the campaign
  • Create shareable original content that Coachella, the artists, and Coachella fans will share
  • Partner with influencers to expand the reach from a localized event to an international campaign
  • Create live experiences that drive online conversation
  • Integrated campaign that generates earned impressions and media buzz
  • Editorial content featured on and official BMW social media accounts



Influencer marketing has become an essential part of any digital media campaign these days. However, our focus was to create a strategy that integrated a wide variety of influencers in a mutually symbiotic way, giving them opportunities to create engaging content through an organic narrative. Our goal was to reach millions of fans around the world by generating multiple social posts leading back to our campaign from an array influencers and different types of content.  

Building off last year’s inaugural Road to Coachella campaign, we focused the 2018 campaign on a robust online and offline creative strategy targeting Coachella-goers and millennials. This first-of-its-kind campaign for Coachella forged an authentic partnership between a presenting festival partner, the festival itself, a headlining performer, over two-dozen traditional influencers and influencer celebrities, a nightlife partner, and several leading musical act influencers to create a wide-reaching influencer campaign using an array of mediums, including social media posts, original content, sponsorship, and live event organic content.

The cohesive strategy seamlessly tied each of the campaign elements together to create a holistic marketing strategy to reach over a billion earned media impressions. We engaged with the target demographic through multiple touch points turning a local sponsorship into an international trending story.


The goal of our strategy was for millennials around the world to see the campaign on the top of their Instagram feeds from multiple sources. Coachella is truly a unique festival due to its location. Whether you’re a headlining performer, a celebrity, influencer, or you’ve saved every last dollar to pitch a tent in the desert, everyone takes the same road into Coachella. We focused on creating a campaign that highlights how people prepare for their journey to Coachella by teaming up with influential musicians, traditional social influencers, celebrities, and festival performers to share their Road to Coachella stories and create an immersive event at the end of their journey.

This year’s Road to Coachella focused on a creative influencer partnership with John Gourley of the Grammy-winning multi-platinum group Portugal. The Man; one of the most anticipated performers at the iconic festival. As our lead influencer, he was the catalyst for the entire campaign. Gourley, an accomplished graphic artist in addition to his role as the band’s lead singer, drew inspiration from Coachella and BMW i to create a custom one-of-a-kind design that was printed and wrapped on a fleet of BMW i’s for the Road to Coachella.

Coachella announced BMW i’s return to the desert through a 30-second video that documented Gourley’s creative process and gave fans a tease of his finished design. A follow-up video debuted the design to the Coachella audience and featured Gourley’s reaction as the wrapped i8 and i3 were revealed. The piece also included footage of the wrapped cars on the road to Coachella. We created a narrative for our partnerships with Coachella, Portugal. The Man, and our collection of influencers to generate a whirlwind of buzz before, during, and after the campaign. Each of their respective official social media accounts posted about the campaign at the outset, which amplified exposure exponentially.

The partnership was unique in that we gave Gourley an outlet for him to tell his story beyond his music. With focus on his art, his artistic inspiration, how art and music intertwine, his relationship with the festival, and with BMW i, we provided fans with a deeper understanding of who Gourley really is. The BMW i8 became a canvas for him, allowing us to seamlessly integrate it into the narrative of the video.

In addition to Gourley and Portugal. The Man sharing the teasers and video on social media, we were able to use Coachella itself, with its millions of followers, as its own influencer as well. They organically shared content that reached millions of followers in an authentic and impactful way. Gourley’s content opened up the conversation with fans, encouraging them to share their own unique road to Coachella that resulted tens of thousands of original user-generated content pieces. The social campaign allowed for a localized event to reach hundreds of millions of people internationally.



The road to Coachella is different for everybody, whether playing or attending, and this unique campaign was the ultimate celebration of people coming together around a common love for music and art. In addition to John Gourley, the campaign enlisted 17 social media influencers from around the world who each embarked on their own Road to Coachella. We also partnered with BMW Centers from around the world to invite local influencers from different countries to California for the opportunity to take their own BMW i Road to Coachella. We highlighted the fact that such a diverse group of people from around the world come to Coachella to celebrate art and music together. With the help of BMW influencers, we ensured that a wide variety of countries from around the globe were represented. Each influencer and celebrity drove one of the Gourley-wrapped i8s or i3s on their journey and created compelling original content from the road, at the festival, and at our series of sponsored events.  

We created a picturesque Road to Coachella route for influencers to follow consisting of a scavenger hunt of Instagrammable landmarks. Each of them drove one of the wrapped BMWs during their journey while sharing dozens of photos and videos at each landmark. One influencer even did a handstand on top of the car at a gorgeous desert location!

Once in the Coachella Valley, influencers were able to keep their BMW i’s for the joyride of a lifetime throughout the weekend. They were provided with VIP parking to the festival as well as an on-demand BMW shuttle that would transport them between their hotel, the festival grounds, and the sponsored events.  Some of our creators included:

– Paris Hilton
– Taylor Hill
– Jamie Chung
– Bryan Greenberg
– Kerby Jean-Raymond
– Nick Bateman
– Jenn Im
– Dorothy Wang
– Hans Zimmer
– Kellan Lutz
– Jack Baran
– Christopher Mason
– Olivia Karina
– Julie Sarinana
– Danielle Bernstein
– Farina Opoku
– Valentina Ferragni
– Luca Vezil
– Rommel Pacheco
– Eduardo Avila
– Christian Rijanto
– Liane Valenzuela




To create a physical touch point and an additional opportunity for influencer engagement and organic social posts, the campaign hosted two large events for influencers, celebrities, festival-goers, fans, and BMW owners. BMW i partnered with influential nightlife leaders the h.wood Group to present two of the weekend’s largest and most buzzworthy events: Poppy’s BMW i Powered Paradise on Friday night, and Poppy’s BMW i Recharge Oasis on Sunday afternoon. More than 6000 guests attended the exclusive parties, which took place at a sprawling estate just blocks away from Coachella.

Within the events, we partnered with the ultimate influencer, Kylie Jenner, to host the branded experiences.

We continued the influencer campaign by hosting our Road to Coachella influencers at the events as well as engaging with over two dozen additional creators who joined and shared BMW-centric original content on-location. This helped guarantee significant buzz and social reach.

The star-studded events featured performances by Diplo, Travis Scott, Lil Wayne, and Post Malone, and featured a wide array of A-list attendees and BMW influencers, including:

  • Kylie and Kendall Jenner
  • Kourtney Kardashian
  • Rihanna
  • Gigi and Bella Hadid
  • The Weeknd
  • Demi Lovato
  • Paris Hilton
  • Kellan Lutz

At both events, we integrated several unique elements to create shareable moments for our influencers to share while further amplifying the guest experience, beginning with being hosted in a custom-curated BMW i lounge. We wanted to create multiple ways for creators to talk about and share BMW i’s core values. BMW i, like Coachella, is passionate about sustainability, inspired design, and technology. We created several interactive and shareable moments that gave our influencers and event attendees a chance to create shareable content that was authentic to the influencers’ channels and BMW i’s core values.

    • Wrapped Display Vehicles – Upon entering the property, guests were greeted with a fleet of Gourley-wrapped BMW i display vehicles they could climb into for the perfect shareable photo.


    • BMW i3 Neon Flex Installation – The BMW i3 neon flex car was a unique integration of 3D art mixed with light technology. This BMW i3 frame was made completely of neon flex lighting, matching the vibe and aesthetic of Coachella for which the festival is known. The bright frame lit up the night and put a new spin on a traditional car display, giving attendees a unique shareable photo opportunity.   


  • Neon Video Booth – Adjacent to the main stage, a large interactive neon video booth experience with the brand new BMW i8 Roadster gave guests a chance to create their own instantly shareable content. With the help of OM Digital technology, the BMW video booth allowed attendees to create their own unique and shareable music video in a custom branded enclosure. The 16’x20′ space housed a wrapped BMW i8 Roadster that acted as the focal point for each video. The lustrous black space was adorned with neon flex lighting all along its interior, coupled with beautiful LED lit foliage, presenting a sleek and stunning setting for the video content. The video booth took a mundane, run-of-the-mill event photo booth and turned it into an exciting experience that had VIP guests and celebrities alike lining up to share, from Paris Hilton to Taylor Hill. The high-end technology allowed people to create and instantly share a special moment where they were the stars of the show.
  • Branded Holograms – Floating atop the video booth structure were two BMW and BMW i branded 3D spinning holograms that added another unique photo-worthy element to the activation.

  • Claw Machine with Branded Swag – A BMW-branded claw machine housed custom bandanas designed by John Gourley, which were seen on guests on both weekends throughout Coachella. This original merchandise, created solely for distribution at the sponsored event, was based on Gourley’s vehicle wrap design and grew to be a highly-coveted piece of swag for celebs, influencers, and guests alike. Four lucky winners clawed their way to a hidden BMW i8 key in a bandana, giving them an extended weekend test drive of the all-new BMW i8 Roadster.




The campaign crossed over multiple genres, including automotive, music, art, and entertainment, garnering hundreds-of-millions of impressions.

BMW i exceeded expectations by gaining over 882 million earned media impressions over the two-week campaign, with 1.1 billion impressions stemming from the BMW i parties, all without a single dollar spent on paid media.

Overall Performance Summary:
– 35M: Total organic reach via influencer channels
– 2.3M: Total engagement on influencer channels
– 8.3M: Total organic reach via BMW i channels
– 517K: Total engagement on BMW & BMW i channels
– 200% above average growth on BMW i Instagram channel
– The BMW neon video booth generated over 100,000 impressions from celebs, influencers, and attendees sharing the content
– Instagram was by far the most effective channel for brand posts, with around 5x more impressions and 3-6x more engagements
– Campaign was exceptionally well-received, with 100% of comments being positive

Ultimately, the Road to Coachella was able to reach hundreds of millions of people in BMW’s target demographic and make a lasting, authentic, and meaningful impression on Coachella fans.