Artist Khalid as a JBL brand ambassador.
Courtesy of JBL
Brand activations dominate many music festivals. Unless it’s done right, these experiences can sometimes feel forced and unnecessary. Typically festival goers are left with free products many will never use again, while others simply free load off food samples or air-conditioning. To avoid in-genuine connections with their target audience, JBL went all in and created their very own musical experience.
This year marked JBL Fest’s third time in action with veteran and ambassador Priyanka Chopra Jonas. The series of events lasted for three days at the heart of the Las Vegas strip. Shaquille O’Neal kicked things off with a throwback set alongside legendary hip hop group Run-D.M.C. Jonas kept the energy going on the second night by hosting a series of musical performances featuring a number of chart-topping artists. Fans were treated with appearances from Tigerlily, Bebe Rexha, and a special DJ set by Armin Van Buuren. Then, Khalid, who was recently named JBL’s newest ambassador, and Mabel were the cherry on top as they closed out the festival live from the Brooklyn Bowl. To say 2019’s JBL Fest was eventful would be a major understatement.
Once the festival wrapped up, Forbes reflected on what went down with JBL CMO Ralph Santana in an interview below. He elaborated on how the festival initially came to be and as we continued to chat, he also couldn’t help drop hints on what his team is already planning for next year. One thing’s for sure, attendees can expect more celebrity talent to come. Read the full interview below and see what’s in store for JBL Fest.
Isis Briones: What inspired JBL to create a festival of their own?
Ralph Santana: “The inspiration for JBL Fest was creating a truly unique event that brings together our biggest fans from across the globe to live the brand and experience the energy that makes JBL so unique. In addition to putting on a one-of-a-kind, immersive experience for thousands of consumers, JBL Fest gives us an opportunity to connect with some of our most important brand loyalists — our customers, retailers and partners.”
IB: How does JBL go about choosing the brand ambassadors, what’s the process like?
RS: “All JBL brand ambassadors reflect our continued emphasis on forging unique and integrated partnerships that reach deeply into culture via music, sports and entertainment. We are proud to work with such a diverse range of international artists, acclaimed athletes, and iconic entertainers as these partnerships help us redefine how superior and robust sound quality elevates the experience no matter where people are — at a concert, at a game, in the car or at home.
We chose Khalid as our newest brand ambassador and headliner for JBL Fest 2019 because he truly captures the energy of JBL. He’s an absolute original and knows how to connect with his fans through outstanding lyricism and his unmistakable delivery. We couldn’t wait for him to electrify the crowd at JBL Fest, and we’re were excited to unveil the uniquely elevated experiences we’ve created for his fans.
Priyanka Chopra Jonas has also been a JBL brand ambassador for the past two years, attending JBL Fest last year and hosting this year. She is a great representation of our brand — the epitome of a barrier-breaking performer, bringing her iconic style and grace to everything that she does, from her award-winning entertainment career to her philanthropic work, and reaching fans all over the world. She is a force to be reckoned with and it’s always an inspiring process to collaborate together on innovative and engaging events.
IB: Can you let us in on Khalid’s favorite JBL product?
RS: “Khalid’s current favorite is the JBL LIVE Series Bluetooth headphones, but who knows for how long? As the number one portable speaker company in the world, our headphones business is growing exponentially year over year.”
IB: Why did JBL choose Las Vegas for the festival?
RS: “Since JBL Fest takes place over three days and incorporates a mix of epic performances, VIP events, and appearances by today’s hottest entertainers in music and pop culture, it only made sense for us to host it in the party capital of the world.”
IB: Can you describe how you see JBL Fest in the future and has your team already started planning for next year?
RS: “We’re always thinking about the evolution of our brand and what we can do differently. Mostly, we’re so thrilled at JBL Fest’s success over the past two years, and couldn’t be happier with this year’s turnout.
Thinking back, we’ve had some of our best ambassadors attend and perform at JBL Fest, including Quincy Jones, Demi Lovato, and DNCE. And let’s not forget about appearances — from Kate Upton and Kendra Wilkinson to Olivia Culpo, the cast of Vanderpump Rules and our very own ambassador Priyanka Chopra Jonas. It’s fair to say JBL Fest knows talent, and talent knows JBL.
Looking ahead, we intend to grow JBL Fest’s impact even further, expanding our talent pool and elevating music experiences to become even more immersive. It’s been incredible seeing JBL’s 70 years of industry-leading innovation come to life in such a fresh and creative way through JBL Fest. At the heart of it all is our dedication to the culture of music and entertainment across the globe, which will continue to drive JBL for many years to come.”