Burning Man kicks off at the end of August, and for a week, the most creatively inspired collaborative wonderland of the year takes form in the acidic sands of the Black Rock Desert in northern Nevada. The sun burns, the sand burns, the man burns – a ritual conflagration of a giant wooden effigy – and the social experiment of art, radical self-expression, and cooperative community-building burns brightest of all.
In the community of Burning Man, nothing is bought or sold, only given or traded. One of the 10 guiding principles is “decommodification” – “social environments that are unmediated by commercial sponsorships, transactions, or advertising.” But the 40,000 available Burning Man tickets don’t come cheap – they’re $380 + a $40 vehicle pass + fees. Clearly, this audience has buying power.
But who are they? What combination of characteristics makes a “Burner”? We took a closer look at the demographic that flocks to Burning Man.
Meet Burner Bryan.
He’s a 29-year-old single college grad who makes a decent living in Seattle, Washington as a software developer. But he has some unusual, and frankly pretty cool hobbies: Photography and fire juggling.
And, even though he only makes between $40K-$70K a year, he’s not afraid to plonk down $80 for a limited edition button-down shirt from Threyda.
How do we know so much about Burner Bryan? He is the Customer Profile, or Buyer Persona, we’ve created out of the Demographics and Top Interests of American Burning Man fans. Most are males between the ages of 25-34; most are college educated and single; and most make a moderate income. They are clustered around major cities like Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland, Boston and Miami.
The top interest of this group is Art with a 59.84% Reach, 156.95 Popularity, and a Relevance score of 151.65. But not just any art will do – this group appreciates visual arts and design, like photography. And, they have a very specific aesthetic preference, which we can see by looking at which artists and brands they follow:
- Android Jones is an artist known for large-scale, colorful, intricate and fantastical prints and art installations.
- Threyda, an apparel and art company, takes similar designs and creates prints and clothing out of them.
- Another popular brand among this group is Home of Poi – a company specializing in juggling accessories, especially fire juggling. (If you’re wondering what to get the Burner in your family for Christmas, a fire juggling set from Home of Poi would be a guaranteed hit with a Popularity index of 199.74.)
What can this data tell you as a marketer? If your demographic is among the Burning Man audience, you know this group is highly visual and will respond well to artistic advertisements. You also know this group values self-expression, which might form the inspiration for your next campaign.