How Brands Are Activating at the Sundance Film Festival


PARK CITY, Utah—The Sundance Film Festival’s 2024 brand partners are playing a big role on Main Street.

It’s tough to travel a single block without spotting an activation. Festival goers can visit DoorDash’s pop-up convenience store, or rest in one of several brand-sponsored lounges. Adobe, Acura, Audible, Canon, Chase, Shutterstock and United Talent Authority all have dedicated spaces to host guests and are running their own programming.

Media also have a presence at the festival this year, including publications The Cut, Variety and Vulture.

It goes without saying that brands view Sundance as a valuable advertising opportunity, but that’s not their only role at the festival. An uptick in cinema pre-show spot sales suggests that more brands aspire to the big screen.

In 2022, job search site Indeed bought out the entire 160-minute cinema pre-show slot during the opening weekend of Jordan Peele’s film Nope, and aired its own short film during that time. Some aspiring filmmakers attend the festival in hopes of forging brand partnerships that might fund their projects. Meanwhile, advertisers are congregating just off Main Street at the Lodges at Deer Valley to attend the Sundance-affiliated content track BrandStorytelling.

BrandStorytelling programming is packed with brand-sponsored content across various formats. On Thursday night, IPG client göt2b sponsored a private screening of the documentary it funded, Queen of New York, and an afterparty. Today, the Publicis bespoke agency Team One is screening two of its short films about brand longevity based on Team One chief strategy officer Mark Miller’s book, Legacy in the Making.

Check back throughout the week for more updates from the festival.

DoorDash and GroupM‘s pop-up convenience store

DoorDash partnered with GroupM to debut a pop-up convenience shop located on Park City’s Bear Walkway, just off Main Street. There, festival goers can grab a free hot chocolate and purchase essential items such as snacks, hand warmers, sanitizer, mouthwash, Advil, dry shampoo and condoms.

DoorDash brand partners Lumify, Trojan, Batiste and Yeti provided some of them. Audible and Adobe—other brands with a significant presence at the festival—are also offering some DoorDash customers free three-month memberships.

With its first Sundance activation, DoorDash wants to send a message: It does more than just restaurant delivery. The “Your Door to More” activation directly references the brand’s new campaign produced with new agency partner Wieden+Kennedy. The campaign debuted during the NFL Wildcard round on Jan. 13, and will appear in the Super Bowl.

“We are moving away from just restaurant delivery and into a space where we can bring you all the things that you need. Not just food, but your convenience items, your retail stuff. [There is] a lot more to come,”  said Lauren Schrimmer, a brand marketer overseeing DoorDash’s consumer products. “What we’re doing here at Sundance really ties into that, because we’re your personal assistant on the ground.”

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