SiriusXM + Pandora: HBCU Pop OutNov 1, 2023
HBCUs are an intrinsic part of the Black experience, woven into the fabric of Black culture. These institutions foster innovation and creativity, providing opportunities for current and future game changers and status quo challengers. Students at HBCUs form lifelong bonds built on a lasting service to the community.
HBCU homecoming events are intergenerational and integral to the overall experience, providing an exuberant space for both youthful expression and enduring legacy. To celebrate this important tradition, SiriusXM and Pandora partnered with Morehouse College to connect with students across the Atlanta University Center, including Morehouse College, Spelman College, and Clark Atlanta University. To get the students hyped, we promoted the event across campuses with internal communications, student organizations, and social media campaigns.
None of our live events would be complete without our sponsors, giving brands a powerful opportunity to build meaningful connections with attendees through messaging and unique experiences. This year, our sponsors were Accounting+, Cricket Wireless, Starbucks, State Farm, The Home Depot, and Volkswagen.
Homecoming Pop Out
To start off the week, we offered a pre-event client happy hour at a local Atlanta restaurant and bar, Rock Steady. Guests had the chance to enjoy a premium open bar, a variety of appetizers, signature cocktails, and more. Once they were ready to go, we offered a complimentary shuttle to take attendees to the event where spirits were high and the fun was just getting started.
These events were for the students, by the students. The day was packed full of performances from student organizations, including the student talent show, stroll teams, and other groups. Multiple student acts performed onstage to showcase the talent they bring to the table, promoting inclusion and community.
As the crowd enjoyed the show, there were giveaways, activations, and tons of opportunities to interact with sponsored booths to keep them excited and engaged. We had several personalized brand activations, including the SiriusXM and Pandora DE&I Activation + Merch Booth, allowing guests to learn about our Pathways Program.
Students also received free branded swag and a photo moment with our branded cassette tape, elevating the homecoming theme of Westview Drive: The Mixtape. Attendees also got to enjoy a Pandora Listening Experience, where we brought our audio expertise to life, allowing guests to listen to stations like Pandora’s HBCU Dream to Be, Top Shelf Rap and R&B, and Hip Hop Forever as a continued celebration of Hip Hop’s 50th anniversary.
Sponsored Performances Bring the Heat
Crowds gathered to watch three Stroll Team performances from Morehouse College—LLC Stroll, Hubert Hall, and DuBois—with a sponsorship from Starbucks. This was the energy that got the crowd pumped—students were dancing and celebrating as the Stroll Teams performed their unique styles of stroll, passed down through generations of Morehouse brotherhood.
Brands Fueling the Fun
With the music up and the party started, Accounting+ was there to fuel students with complimentary, delicious food and a refreshment station. They were given co-branded Accounting+ “money” to cash in at black-owned food truck favorites, Da Fry Guy ATL and Love At First Bite. Students were also provided with Accounting+ souvenir cups to use at the event’s water refreshment station and beyond.
As students filled their bellies and hydrated at the water station, State Farm geared up for their presentation. We’re proud to see our sponsors continue to support and impact communities in big ways. State Farm donated $15,000 to the Atlanta University Center Consortium, the oldest and largest contiguous consortium of African American higher education institutions in the U.S., supporting four member institutions—Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Morehouse School of Medicine, and Spelman College. State Farm also brought representatives from the student volunteer organization, Bonner Office of Student Engagement, to encourage their peers to get involved in the community.
Students continued to explore the sponsor booths, and Cricket Wireless had a lot to offer. Back for the second year in a row, Cricket Wireless partnered with design artist and Spelman alumna, Tyler Clark, to create unique complimentary cross body bags. Tyler was on-site to meet and greet with the students, share her inspiration, and even autograph bags.
As a part of Cricket Wireless’ artist integration, a special gallery installation was created to showcase Tyler’s artwork, created specifically for the HBCU pop out event.
Cricket Wireless was also the presenting sponsor of Pandora’s HBCU Dream To Be station, the ultimate HBCU homecoming listening experience.
Taking IRL Performances to Another Level
Students flocked to the stage for a special interview and performance by Ambré, an American singer-songwriter with hits like “I’m Baby,” “Drake and Drive,” and “The Catch Up.” Fans danced and sang along as they celebrated the first night of homecoming together.
Brand Impressions that Last
The Home Depot was back again this year with a fun, personalized twist. Students were invited to the airbrush art studio to design and personalize their very own bucket hats to commemorate the event. They chose from a variety of colors, fonts, and designs to make each hat their own.
In addition to personalized hats, The Home Depot activation footprint spotlighted their Retool Your School Program, a grant program that has helped fund more than 180 projects benefiting HBCUs from landscaping and renovating dorms, to repaving athletic courts, and more.
Volkswagen also made an appearance with their vehicle display, where students were invited to explore the electric ID.4 and take photos with the Volkswagen photo backdrop. Additionally, students were offered a free three month SiriusXM trial subscription.
Hop in on the Next Gig
We are so grateful to have the opportunity to host events that celebrate culture, bring together community, and strengthen relationships. The students at the HBCU Pop Out event had an amazing time—with a little help from our sponsors—leaving with lots of free swag, memories to last a lifetime, and heightened brand recall.
In addition to our SiriusXM and Pandora franchise events, we offer a wide variety of sponsorship opportunities like our SoundCloud Next Wav events that feature panels from notable industry figures, artist-centric workshops, and local live music showcases with the city’s hottest breakthrough talent.
And if podcasting is your thing, join us as we hit the road for IRL podcasting experiences with hit hosts like Kid Fury and Crissle West from The Read.. With how well consumers respond to podcasts, your brand is bound to get a boost.
If you want to get your band involved in the next SiriusXM and Pandora franchise event, hit us up.
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