FORTUNE — Coachella, the eclectic, three-day music festival, has drawn big name performers and the Millenials who love them to Indio, California. Going beyond passing out free swag with company logos, event sponsors are using the crows and social media traffic to experiment with new types of brand advertising.
Brands are trying to get the most out of their sponsorship dollars, says Scott Lucas, executive director of Interbrand Cincinnati. “They can go from just being seen at the event to having that same targeted and captive audience truly interact with their brand,” Lucas says. “That interaction gives people a more memorable experience and a means for trial.”
Heineken, one of the nine companies sponsoring the event, has garnered considerable buzz for its Cold Storage Room, which made its U.S. debut last weekend. Coachella attendees can store up to two cases of Heineken in a cooler that can only be accessed with the owner’s scanned thumbprint. Since Coachella attendees can’t bring outside drinks into the venue, Heineken insures that it is the beer of choice for the thousands camping and partying at the event, while providing an indelible service. “Heineken is always looking to improve the consumer’s overall experience at any event or program that the brand is associated with,” says Pattie Falch, director of sponsorships and activation, Heineken USA.
Other brands are offering Coachella guests a chance to interact with so-called targeted content. Car maker Hyundai is screening a documentary it made with the Re:Generation Music Project at a drive-through theater on the campgrounds. While the documentary, which profiles genre-bending collaborations between renowned DJs, producers and musicians, may seem like the star, Hyundai’s 2012 Veloster will be sharing the spotlight as well, says Hyundai’s Advertising Director David Matathia. “With the Veloster, we were trying to reach out to an audience that we haven’t gotten to in the past,” a younger, creative class, Matathia shares. “They’re content creators. We wanted to be part of that conversation and prove to them that the Veloster is the vehicle for them.”
Being a content creator is “a much more effective model that appeals to that audience than pushing ad messages at them,” he adds.
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