How Coca-Cola and Univision Pulled Off an Interactive Live Experience That Doubled as an Award Show

The Backlot Music Experience brought together 150 in-person attendees for a day of experiential brand activations.

"Because the Coca-Cola experience was happening alongside performances and content being shot for the Premios Juventud awards, our team was tasked with finding creative ways to marry the two brands in the space while making sure that both were represented in impactful ways," explained Simon Miller of Brand Activation Services, who designed and produced the afternoon's on-site experiential activations. "One way we did this was by creating activations that transformed throughout the event, like the graffiti d

Summertime and Coca-Cola go together like audiovisual and lighting, like tablescapes and floral arrangements, like activations and Instagrammable moments... (You get the gist.) So, it makes sense that the brand would opt for the warm, sunny city of Miami for the Coca-Cola Backlot Music Experience, which took place in July in partnership with Univision Communications as part of the Spanish-language content and media company's annual youth award show, dubbed Premios Juventud.

Drawing inspiration from its host venue—MAPS Backlot, an outdoor production and event space in the heart of Miami’s Wynwood Walls art district—Univision tapped Simon Miller of Brand Activation Services (BAS) to bring to life the ultimate artistic playground—creatively branded with nods to both Coca-Cola and Premios Juventud. "We wanted to bring this urban, downtown, street-art theme to our event and really pay homage to the location," said Univision event marketing manager Danisha Beltre, adding that, "Coca-Cola’s overall campaign messaging was all about 'juntos sabe mejor,' or, 'together tastes better.' To keep that 'together' essence alive, our goal was to create a one-of-a-kind, in-person experience that welcomed guests to reunite, celebrate, cheer and enjoy a Coca-Cola together after a long period of being apart."

To accomplish both goals, a series of experiential activations designed and produced by BAS were placed throughout the outdoor space to get the day's 150, invite-only attendees interacting with each other as well as Coca-Cola products. From a graffiti art table where attendees were able to color in Coca-Cola imagery and write messages, to a branded Instagrammable art installation that had attendees drip different paint colors down a wall featuring the iconic Coca-Cola red logo, to a micro music-video booth, Miller said, "We wanted to make attendees feel like they were part of the show."

""With art being a central theme within our experience, we worked together with the Brand Activation Services team to create a graffiti art table where attendees were able to color in fun Coca-Cola imagery and write messages," said Beltre. Photo: Adriana Fernandez"
"With art being a central theme within our experience, we worked together with the Brand Activation Services team to create a graffiti art table where attendees were able to color in fun Coca-Cola imagery and write messages," said Beltre.

Photo: Adriana Fernandez

To tie it all together, the BAS team created a dual-branded, custom-fabricated Coca-Cola/Premios Juventud bleacher seating area with built-in charging stations that doubled as a dancing set for Coca-Cola’s partner artist, Tini, who leveraged the entire bleacher setting alongside her dancers for a live performance during Univision's Premios Juventud award show, which was being prerecorded on-site to air at a later date.

"Part of creating this event was making sure that we provided our attendees with memorable experiences they will remember years to come," explained Beltre. "In order to do that, we knew we had to step our game up and give our attendees something they were yearning to engage in after months of not interacting due to the pandemic."

""The end goal of these activations was to provide a VIP interactive experience for Coca-Cola’s attendees while also creating visually appealing shooting spaces for the award show performances and content being shot in the space," said Miller. "A great example of this is the custom bleacher area we designed as a seating area for event attendees with charging stations but also doubled as a multilevel dance stage for Tini’s performance that aired on the Premios Juventud awards." Photo: Adriana Fernandez"
"The end goal of these activations was to provide a VIP interactive experience for Coca-Cola’s attendees while also creating visually appealing shooting spaces for the award show performances and content being shot in the space," said Miller. "A great example of this is the custom bleacher area we designed as a seating area for event attendees with charging stations but also doubled as a multilevel dance stage for Tini’s performance that aired on the Premios Juventud awards."

Photo: Adriana Fernandez

Adding to the one-day event's overall interactive nature was some fun with food and beverage in the form of a clever Coca-Cola pairing (think a wine pairing-style experience, but with Coca-Cola instead) and a live cooking demonstration led by Univision's famed Chef Yisus, who walked guests through the proper steps for making a Venezuelan cachapa, a staple menu item in Latin culture. "The meals at the event played a special role that tied back to the overall campaign messaging of 'together tastes better.' Not only was it about coming together to enjoy a good time, but it was also about highlighting Latin foods (empanadas, esquites, ceviche, churros and flans) that taste delicious—and better together—with a Coca-Cola," said Jessica Reynoso Antonio, associate manager of experiential marketing at Univision.

"Coca-Cola’s campaign messaging for the experience was 'juntos sabe mejor,' or, 'together tastes better,' which was displayed at branded food stations, where clever Coca-Cola pairings took place (think a wine pairing-style experience, but with, obviously, Coca-Cola instead). Photo: Adriana Fernandez"
Coca-Cola’s campaign messaging for the experience was 'juntos sabe mejor,' or, 'together tastes better,' which was displayed at branded food stations, where clever Coca-Cola pairings took place (think a wine pairing-style experience, but with, obviously, Coca-Cola instead).

Photo: Adriana Fernandez

In this new era of live events, F&B is a key area where event producers are taking extra precautions to limit the spread of COVID-19 and keep their attendees as safe as possible. To ensure guest safety, the day's meals—catered by Creative Edge Parties and served at food stations spaced throughout the outdoor venue—were all individually packaged, and drinks were offered in the form of a bottle or can to avoid pouring or distributing drinks with cups or ice. Additionally, all servers wore masks and each server or chef was tested for COVID-19 prior to entering the event space. 

When it came to health safety protocols for guests, all attendees were required to provide proof of vaccination, and anyone not vaccinated received a color-coordinated wristband provided by Univision's COVID Compliance Team. Regardless of vaccination status, all attendees were required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test and scan their temperature upon entry; for convenience, Univision administered tests on-site as well as at an additional location a few days leading up to and on the day of the event. Masks were also encouraged. 

"Although we are still getting through this pandemic, there is hope for live events to continue and thrive," said Beltre. "They may look different nowadays with all of the safety protocols that need to be in place to keep everyone safe, but everyone expects it at this point, and it is becoming a routine part of a live event."

VENDORS

Catering: Creative Edge PartiesChef Yisus
Entertainment: TiniN’KlabeRakimPeter NietoDJ Vela
Event Production: Univision Communications
Experiential Activations: Brand Activation Services
Photography: Adriana Fernandez
Sponsor/Partner: Coca-Cola
Venue: MAPS Backlot

"Among the branded activations was a Coca-Cola Video Booth that offered a street art-inspired backdrop for attendees to use creatively for photos, videos and the like. Photo: Adriana Fernandez"
Among the branded activations was a Coca-Cola Video Booth that offered a street art-inspired backdrop for attendees to use creatively for photos, videos and the like.

Photo: Adriana Fernandez

""We wanted our attendees to have fun above all and walk away saying, 'wow, what a cool experience," said Beltre. Photo: Adriana Fernandez"
"We wanted our attendees to have fun above all and walk away saying, 'wow, what a cool experience," said Beltre.

Photo: Adriana Fernandez