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Desperados ‘Relentless Boardmasters’ experiential campaign

Desperados ‘Relentless Boardmasters’ experiential campaign

Best practice from Space

In August this year (2009)Desperados, the original tequila flavoured beer owned by Heineken France, sponsored the Relentless Boardmasters - Europe's largest surf, skate and music festival in association with Vans.

Desperados appointed integrated marketing agency, Space, to leverage and maximise their sponsorship investment of this event, which took place between August 5-9, 2009 in Newquay, Cornwall.


1) Drive trial of the product among 18-24 year old male and female beer drinkers.
2) Drive positive engagement with the product with this audience and encourage them to become advocates/brand ambassadors back home.
3) Drive sales.


Developing an event campaign that stimulated consumer engagement that was consistent with the current Desperados Taste of Liberty campaign was critical to drive sales and ultimately succeed in generating long-term brand recognition and loyalty.

To achieve this Space offered festival-goers an intimate brand experience that enhanced their overall enjoyment of the Boardmasters festival.


To prompt intrigue and excitement in the build up to the event, creatively impactful ads were created by Space and placed in the July/August issue of the UK’s leading surfing magazine – PitPilot, and an HTML e-mail was sent out to 20,000 consumers to drive awareness. 

Both had an edgy urban feel that encouraged engagement by driving readers to the Desperados website ( where they could win a pair of VIP tickets to the festival. 

At the event itself, Space communicated the courageous and spirited Desperados brand values by designing and activating a highly creative experiential campaign that added real value to the key audiences’ enjoyment of the festival.

At the heart of the Desperados activation was a two-floor branded bar that was decked out in Desperados colours inside and out, with a capacity of over 200 people on the ground floor and 80 in the VIP bar on the upper floor.

Unrivalled prime views of the main stage and an exciting atmosphere maximized the bar’s impact at the festival. In between headline acts on the main stage, the Desperados bar played host to cutting edge six piece drumming band -Bass Tone Slap and Ibiza renowned beatboxers – Duke.

As well as drawing large crowds to the bar, both acts perfectly complemented the Desperados’ brand values and doubled up as brand ambassadors for Desperados during the festival.

The brand experience was heightened by experiential teams who entertained crowds with theatrical sampling experiences, handed out the personalised Desperados passports, distributed branded merchandise and ran a series of competitions to win pairs of VIP festival tickets on Fistral Beach.

Key Results

• HTML e-mail results:

Total Audience Contacted 20,974 
Unique Users Opens  7,374 35%
Unique Users Clicks  723 3.5%

• Brand exposure to over 150,000 festival-goers.

• Over 20,000 pieces of Desperados merchandise were distributed in Newquay over the festival.

• Desperados’ experiential teams sampled the product to over 3780 people over the five days of Relentless Boardmasters.

• The bar attracted the attention of Channel 4 who chose to film a series of links for their TV coverage of Boardmasters, showcasing the Desperados bar to over 350,000 Channel 4 viewers.

• Mike Skinner of the Streets also made the Desperados VIP bar his bar of choice on the Friday as he soaked up the Desperados entertainment and panoramic views over the whole festival site.

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