At some point in our lives, we all decide we need to take a trip to a music festival. Maybe you’ve road tripped to Montreal for Osheaga, or maybe you’ve undertaken that most basic of all pilgrimages and flown to watch Lana sway under a starry California sky. Regardless of the destination, however, one rite of passage is the same for every festival. You wait patiently six to eight weeks for your wristband to arrive, and, when it finally does arrive, you guard it with your life because you know it unlocks a world where Tupac still exists and where US Weekly can legally hire 47-year-old bearded men with DSLRs to stalk the Kardashian kids.
What you’ve probably never realized is that the company creating those wristbands is, much like Aubrey himself, firmly rooted in the 416. And in the same way Drizzy has taken over the rap game, that company, Intellitix, has been able to sign up nearly every major festival across the world. If you’ve visited Coachella, Bonnaroo, TomorrowLand, Digital Dreams, Mysteryland or Electric Daisy Carnival this summer, you’ve worn a piece of Toronto on your wrist.
According to Intellitix’s chief revenue officer, Eric Janssen, it was a mixture of quickness, persistence and connections that helped the company reach the top of the festival game. “Well, we were first to market. Secondly, we told people that we could deliver, and when we did deliver we had customers coming back year after year,” he says. “Thirdly, our owner, Serge, is a really well connected guy.”
Intellitix doesn’t just help festival-goers gain entrance to festivals and splurge on $7 bottles of Dasani water, however. One of the more important reasons the company has grown so quickly is that they’ve always managed to impress big brands. Using their technology, big brands are able to better engage with festival-goers. Once someone receives their wristband, they’re asked to create an online profile. Creating that profile generates a treasure trove of information that brands are quick to take advantage of.
With the information that Intellitix gathers, big brands are able to customize the messages they send to festival participants to increase the chance that they will be receptive to it. Janssen explains it in the following way: “When I see that Coachella is coming out next year, maybe I don’t care that Avicii is the headliner; instead, maybe I care about Dallas Green because I’m a Toronto guy. [Brands] would know that I like Dallas Green because Coachella knows that I was at their event last year and that I checked into stage A to watch the entire Dallas Green act, and that I listen to Dallas Green on Spotify.”
Janssen brings up another reason brands love the company. Festival-goers can register online using their social media profile. When they do this their activity around a festival’s grounds is automatically posted and shared. One activity that was a major hit at Bonnaroo were the live click stations where fans could check in to an artist’s performance. When they checked in, a camera would snap a quick picture and the photo would be shared across their social profiles. Ford was smart enough to jump into the mix and have every picture watermarked with a picture of the brand new Ford Escape. Every time someone shared a picture from Bonnaroo, their Facebook friends were also exposed to the Ford brand.
The result was undeniable.
Intellitix’s efforts generated 250,000 live clicks, 20,000 posted photos, 1.9 million Likes, 1.4 million comments and captured the attention of 200 million people.
Then there are the cashless payment. This year the company was asked to integrate cashless payments into the Digital Dreams wristband. While the numbers from the festival aren’t in yet, Intellitix says the system has proven to increase spending anywhere from 15% to 30% per attendee. Considering the 2014 version of Coachella attracted 579,000 people who spent $78.3 million, a 15% – 30% bump in revenue per person could bring in anywhere from $11.7-million to $23-million in additional revenue annually.
So the next time Jimmy Kimmel’s producers stop you at Coachella and ask you to appear in their staged video, raise your wrist to the camera and say “See buddy, we’re about more than obese crack smoking mayors, we make cool shit in Toronto!”
Christian Borys is a contributor to Toronto Standard. Follow him on Twitter.