As Taylor Swift kicks off the next leg of her 1989 Tour in Australia, it’s a good time to bring up one of the more brilliant marketing moves we’ve seen in years: the light-up wristbands given to every fan (including the 76,000 that filled her last sold-out show in Sydney). If you were one of the lucky fans who attended one of Swift’s shows, you know there was one part that everyone was talking about for weeks following: the PixMob light-up wristbands.
If you weren’t? Well, you missed out on an ingenious fan experience enacted with PixMob’s infrared technology.
The technology allowed thousands of wristbands to be controlled remotely through infrared transmitters. Upon entering the concert, every fan received a translucent silicone bracelet fitted with LED lights that lit up and changed color in time to the music in sometimes surreal ways. The result was a stadium filled light show that made fans feel like they weren’t just experiencing the music — they were part of it.
Swift is not the first artist to use PixMob’s technology (apart from wristbands, they also offer balls and pendants to distribute to fans, which have been used for major sporting events and festivals), and she won’t be the last. That’s because fan engagement continues to be a huge factor in the concert industry — fans want to feel like they’re paying for an experience, not just a concert. And Taylor Swift’s light-up wristbands gave fans just that: a one-of-a-kind experience that they couldn’t stop talking about, even after the stage was packed up and the next show started.
The brilliance behind it was more than just the light-up technology — it was the element of surprise. PixMob’s commercial director, Jean-Oliver Dalphond, described in a Slate article that that’s exactly the element that PixMob thrives on. “We want to make an object that feels like magic, so there’s no button, there’s nothing to activate — it will just turn on at some point. We want to surprise you.”
As we move forward into an age where technology flows seamlessly throughout our lives, it’s essential that we continue to find ways to surprise fans and give them that unique experience they’re looking for. Fans that were at Taylor Swift’s concerts got more than just a free gift — they got a memorable experience that will have them craving more and wondering what Swift will come up with for her next tour. The rest of us? We better come up with something just as good.