Nancy Trent is a writer and speaker, a lifelong health advocate, a globe-trotting trend watcher and the founder and president of Trent & Company, a New York-based public relations and marketing communications firm. Trent & Company has a client roster of text book case studies of products, venues, books, films and experts in healthy lifestyles spanning traditional and alternative disciplines for wellness, beauty, fitness, nutrition and the environment.
Sundance has become a prosumer event; it is attended by both professionals and consumers. It started an entertainment industry event (and meetings still go on around the clock), but now consumers are coming in droves because it's the place to be seen. It’s a mecca for film aficionados, and for the many celebrities and industry executives who want to push their recent projects.
Sundance is also a magnet for marketers who want to get their brands in front of both the entertainment industry (including celebrities and their handlers) and consumers. Everyone agrees that agents and influencers of all kinds are here in multitudes, as well as people who spend for what they believe in. Clearly these diverse groups have the demographics that marketers are after, because there were a lot of brands. Some marketers opted for highly selective sampling experiences, and some felt anyone who was there is their audience.
“We are thrilled to be at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival as the official drinkware and sustainability partner,” said Krista Ulatowski, Senior Marketing and PR Manager of Stanley Brand at PMI Worldwide, which has been making products like water bottles and thermoses "to keep your warms warm and your colds cold" out of sustainable materials for 110 years. The brand's Stanley Creator’s Lounge at The Cabin had live performances around the clock, food and snacks, and even an aura reader surrounded by trendy people.
The Stanley Brand gifted several of their IceFlow Tumblers and AeroLight Transit Bottles, all co-branded with Sundance, and they were very sought after. Consumers can buy Stanley merchandise in retailers near them, including Whole Foods Market, Dick’s Sporting Goods, REI, and Target.
Downstairs, Erika Nicole Malone Entertainment invited “selected filmmakers, true entertainment professionals and tastemakers” to a day of stories and conversations with Indie filmmakers and musicians, along with a night of sexy performances by award-winning R&B artists. They were gifted Tabitha Brown Organic Popcorn and Sunshine Seasoning, Obali Cool Coffee Clique, and Ra.D8 Collagen Sparkling Tea, as well as luxe wellness and beauty products.
Marketers can even use a variety of venues at Sundance, each having a unique character.
EcoLuxe Lounge, produced by veteran producer Debbie Durkin, known to be a “purposeful producer” whose goal is to get America healthy in cooperation with ABC 4, had marketers that introduced a variety of products. This includes appliances like Brava (which is described as AI meets an Easy Bake Oven) to Hydro Infused Sodas (which has a patented formulation including cannabis to be a true alternative to social drinking) to celebrities’ favorite pet supplements by Healthy Paws Herbal to apparel like JW Bennett custom cowboy hats (with amazing beaded bands made to last a lifetime) and Voice of the Vanishing eco-streetwear (whose mission is to save endangered animals at the risk of extinction). Guests were by invitation only and included celebrities and other entertainment industry influencers as well as media. When you walked in, you were taken around by one of their lovely guides. While this wasn’t crowded with people, the brands were all very happy with the people they met.
“Building awareness and relationships were our primary goals,” said Travis Rea, VP of Sales and Marketing of Brava. “And we are thrilled with the outcome. It’s an opportunity to be where the celebrities are rather than asking them to come to you.”
Another option was The Retreat to Benefit Project Green produced by Kim Kreiss, a talent agent, and Patrycja Siewert-Towns, who produces Alive Expo. Celebrities, media, and filmmakers are invited to relax between screenings and see what’s new in a range of luxury and eco-friendly products calmly mingling and enjoying custom cocktails with Tito’s Vodka, Trust Me Organic Vodka, Tequila Herradura, and Suja Juice. While the vibe was orchestrated to be “chill,” the conversation always went back to the charity Project Green. The sponsors also included jewelry brands like Aspen based Katherine LeGrand and Rebecca Walls Jewelry known for customization, her EVERMORE permanent gold bracelets, and travel insurance and finance companies. LeGrand noted, “The flow through has been constant."
Another opportunity for marketers to get in front of celebrities was created by Roth Ivy, a marketing company that had an area around a stage set up by The Wrap with ongoing interviews of celebrities, filmmakers, musicians, etc. Unless you were on the list, you weren’t getting in. The services they provided included a HigherDOSE pop-up spa filled with their non-invasive equipment like red light masks, infrared sauna blankets, and infrared PEMF Mats, as well as some of their other products like copper water bottles and electrolyte powders. Twenty-five celebrities got sauna blankets or mats that had to be drop shipped, but most preferred taking home red light masks.
“We were thrilled to be a part of Sundance for the first time,” said Fiona Hillery, Head of Brand Experience at HigherDOSE. "Make-up artists were very willing to post about our award-winning technology. We have a passionate fan base in the community who use infrared and red light for red carpet. We helped the people that needed it most to be sustained throughout the Sundance Sprint.”
Brandon Wright of Roth Ivy gave this advice to brands on how they should assess their opportunities at Sundance: “What would you rave about? Everything if presented the right way has that potential.”
NOTE: WholeFoods Magazine is a business-to-business publication. Information on this site should not be considered medical advice or a way to diagnose or treat any disease or illness. Always seek the advice of a medical professional before making lifestyle changes, including taking a dietary supplement. The opinions expressed by contributors and experts quoted in articles are not necessarily those of the publisher or editors of WholeFoods.