Three Ways Brands Can Stand Out At Festivals


Last month Beautycon returned to LA for the fourth year in a row, bringing “Planet Beautycon” to the west coast. For two days, LA Convention Center was transformed into a beauty mecca swarmed with a record breaking 23,300 attendees eager to trial new products, take Insta-worthy photos, and meet their favorite YouTubers IRL. 200+ brands were on site to attract and engage their consumers, and they came prepared to stand out among the crowds.

Tara Wilson Agency was on site to soak in the atmosphere and gather insights from this one of a kind festival. Below are the best strategies we observed to help your brand stand out in a crowded space:


Nearly every activation at Beautycon included a photo experience to encourage attendees to share the brand with their followers. Photo booths took shape in many forms, from decorative wall logos, to GIF booths, to immersive environments. Neon signage, foliage, florals, and unicorns were very popular as photo backdrops. Shirtless men could be found at multiple booths, holding lipstick power drills at M.A.C. and dressed in leaf skirts at 7th Heaven, all drawing long lines of attendees waiting for their photo op.

The best shareable moments include strong branding, a tie-in to the key product or messaging, and offer consumers something they haven’t seen before.

One of our favorite examples was seen at Olay. The brand kept the focus on their product, a whipped body wash, in an upside-down shower where attendees posed with a handful of the foam. Consumers were attracted by the unique photo environment, and every photo taken featured the product and included a trial experience.

Another strong example was seen at Aveda’s booth, where the brand celebrated the launch of their Cherry Almond shampoo and conditioner. Consumers posed on a swing hanging from a cherry tree, built entirely from recycled material to emphasize the company’s move to 100% post consumer recycled packaging. The set up made for fun Boomerangs, but also told a story about a new product and the brand’s commitment to sustainability. “Capturing and sharing their experience to Instagram is a huge priority to the Beautycon attendee. They want to show their friends how much fun they are having, and brands all want to be a part of that story,” says Kaetlin Andrews, Vice President of Brand Partnerships at Beautycon.


Most brands partnered with an influencer for the festival, featured in panels and meet and greets. There were many traditional stars present - Kim Kardashian, Drew Barrymore, and Snoop Dogg included - but Beautycon is best known for highlighting dozens of content creators. It’s a strategic move, since 60% of Millenials report making buying decisions based on the recommendation of their favorite YouTube star over the recommendation of a TV or movie star.

The best partnerships leverage influencers with a unique story to tell and an authentic connection to the brand.

Jonathan Van Ness, of Netflix’s Queer Eye, partnered with Target to talk male beauty and self care, a prevalent topic at Beautycon. He performed mini makeovers on boyfriends who’d been dragged along to the conference, showing them the importance of basic skincare and good hair products to polish their look. YouTuber Patrick Starrr started his beauty career working at a MAC location at a mall in Orlando. Today, he has nearly 4M subscribers on YouTube and has released several collaborations with MAC. He made an appearance at the brand’s Beautycon activation to promote the collection and interact with fans. His two Instagram posts from the MAC booth garnered 1.5M+ impressions.


The strongest brands understand that customization and personalization are vital for reaching a millennial audience. “The Beautycon attendee is looking to engage with brands in a new way. They come here to interact face to face and have an experience, and they expect a level of personalization,” says Andrews.

Brands at Beautycon stood out by offering attendees a variety of ways to express themselves and receive personal service.

At Converse, attendees who purchased an exclusive pair of high tops with a rhinestone Beautycon logo had that opportunity to customize a pair of socks with heatpressed designs of their choice. Target introduced a new technology that allows consumers to upload their image and test out any Target Beauty product online before purchase. Revlon pushed the envelope further by bringing in celebrity tattoo artist Jon Boy, who the brand has partnered with all year as part of its “Live Boldly” campaign, to give free tattoo sessions in their booth.

Executing these three tactics effectively can help your brand capture an audience’s attention and make a lasting impression. Contact us at to bring your festival vision to life.

Tara Wilson